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Tampa Bay Begins To Focus On Nurturing Startups

Tampa Bay is quietly establishing itself as a major player in the life sciences industry. 

M2Gen, Draper Laboratory, CAMLS and the recent collaborative effort involving the American College of Cardiology and Pepin Heart Institute is but the tip of the iceberg.

This effort to reset our local economy will drive job creation and help increase the wages of our residents. The strategic shift in focus from a service economy to one tethered to healthcare innovation will get an important kickstart from our burgeoning startup community right here in Tampa Bay. 

Our region, long recognized as long on talent but short on high wage job opportunities is making a game changing shift away from corporate relocations, which remain a part of our economic development toolbox, to fostering and growing our homegrown startup community. The driver behind this effort is an emerging tech community eager to engage our established stakeholders to make our community a vibrant and exciting place to start a new business and live.

Economic Development Squared
To kickstart this effort the Hillsborough County economic development department is gearing up EDI2, otherwise known as The Economic Development Innovation Initiative that will help drive the growth of technology and innovative startups and scale worthy small businesses in our community. 

New job creation in America is fueled by startups and Tampa Bay is prepared to help feed this effort to grow wages, create innovative jobs, so that our best and brightest will stay in our region. The Board of County Commissioners approved a tentative $2 million plan for the creation of EDI2 -- which will be brought back on 20 March for final approval.
Tampa Bay has tremendous tech talent. Now we need to connect our talent with a steady dose of events that helps attract new talent, strengthens our innovative ecosystem and leverages private sector resources and support. EDI2 will help facilitate the incubation, acceleration, collaboration and tailored assistance that a thriving startup community needs to flourish.
For more information contact my office or join the discussion at Buddy Brew Coffee on Kennedy Boulevard at Albany Avenue just west of downtown Tampa every Friday from 9 to 10:30 am.  Or watch the discussion live at this link.

Mark Sharpe is a Hillsborough County Commissioner helping to lead the effort to nurture startups in Tampa Bay. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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