Up to 30 start-up businesses in science and other fields will be nurtured at TEC Garage, a new incubator opening in August on the campus of St. Petersburg College
The venture is under the tutelage of the Largo-based Tampa Bay Innovation Center
, an innovation and entrepreneurship center for technology businesses.
TEC Garage, which stands for Technology and Entrepreneurship Center, will occupy about 6,000 square feet on the ground floor of the college's Downtown Center at 244 2nd Ave. N. in St. Petersburg. The new incubator will offer space for new businesses in science, technology, engineering, arts and digital media. Three clients have been signed: Toonari Media
, which uses social media and online resources to conduct investigations, Dock-n-Lock
, which offers methods to reduce texting and other distractions while driving, and My OnCall Doc
, which is an on-demand video provider for physician services.
The location is only the beginning of a broader vision for encouraging startups amid an explosion of business and residential growth in downtown St. Petersburg.
"It seems to be ... an entire renaissance, something bringing new growth to St. Petersburg and something very exciting," says Tonya Elmore, president of Tampa Bay Innovation Center.
The anticipation is for 15 to 30 new businesses to settle into the TEC Garage. About 40 to 80 people can work there depending on how the space is designed.
“We want to give our local entrepreneurs every resource and tool they need to thrive, and believe this program will help create and keep jobs right here in our community," Elmore says.
There will be reserved office space for rent and coworking space. And Elmore says TEC Garage will offer something not every incubator provides -- coaching for individual clients.
The incubator will operate at the college for at least three to five years. The long-range goal is to move into a permanent downtown location in a much larger building of about 40,000 square feet. There could be opportunities for the college location to continue as a satellite office.
"This is a natural complement to the college's values of leadership, innovation and partnership," says Bill Law, president of St. Petersburg College.
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Tonya Elmore, Tampa Bay Innovation Center; Bill Law, St. Petersburg College