Kauffman Foundation Invests In Bradenton, Sarasota

Suncoast Community Capital recently announced major investments from two major financial institutions to support its collaboration with an urban entrepreneurship program. 

SCC, which is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, has formed a partnership with the Kauffman Foundation's Urban Entrepreneur Partnership program to further develop small and emerging businesses reach their goals and create jobs. Wells Fargo recently invested $50,000 in the program and the Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency invested $40,000.

Mike Kennedy, SCC president and CEO, shares three ways the investments in the partnership will stimulate economic development in the area.

"First, UEP-coached entrepreneurs are going to create badly needed, good-paying jobs," says Kennedy. "Next, it’s going to create a relationship with our region and the world’s most-renowned and largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship. Finally, Kauffman UEP has a track record of delivering results in the communities it serves. The UEP has identified $204 million in opportunities for its clients, helped secure $87 million in contracts for them, increased their business revenue by 44 percent since 2005 and increased their profits by 24 percent."

Kennedy explains that businesses will be admitted to the program based on their willingness and ability to grow their businesses to scale and creating jobs. But points out that certain industries present ideal opportunities. 

"We bet on the jockey and not the horse," says Kennedy. "Therefore, the entrepreneur’s commitment and make-up are important. However, Kauffman does like our region’s mix of businesses related to manufacturing, agriculture, aquaculture and Port Manatee, just to name a few.Therefore, we’ll look for opportunities in those sectors as we evaluate applicants."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Mike Kennedy, Suncoast Community Capital
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