Daniel James Scott, associate director of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) Entrepreneurship Program, and Reuben Pressman, the first graduate of the program, recently received honors at Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s 10th Annual Industry Achievement Awards Gala.
Scott was recognized as Technology Leader of the Year, an award that acknowledged the accumulation of work he has done in the entrepreneurship community for the past 10-12 years. His work includes co-founding the Entrepreneurship Program
at USFSP, Gazelle Lab
, a seed stage investment fund, and the Tampa Bay 6/20
Initiative, a group of entrepreneurs working on a 20-year plan for the region. Scott also had a part in the development of the St. Petersburg Greenhouse
and bringing the headquarters of the Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
to Tampa Bay. He recently founded Alorum
, which uses technology to simplify lead generation.
"We’re trying to kick the ball further down the field in terms of what we can do with technology, entrepreneurship and the marriage of the two in our community," says Scott, USF Tampa graduate.
Scott’s priorities for the future of entrepreneurship in Tampa Bay are focused on two areas: giving students a voice in the discussion and identifying more seed funding for start-ups.
"The community’s students, (including middle school, high school and college), should be given much more of a seat at the table when we talk about how we’re building our community," says Scott, noting that today's young people will be successful entrepreneurs 20 years from now, and therefore they need to be a part of the conversation now.
As for identifying seed capital, Scott says one thing other successful cities have in common is one or more visionaries who have grown a company in the area and are willing to put forth substantial financial support to help other companies succeed.
received the Rising Star Award, which recognizes someone under 30 who is involved in the technology community.
A recent graduate from USFSP’s Entrepreneurship Program, Pressman runs monthly meet-ups for entrepreneurs and provides assistance for Tampa Bay WaVE
, Startup Weekend Tampa Bay
and Startup Bus Southeast
. Initiatives he co-founded include Awesome St. Petersburg
, which provides microgrants for projects that further the livability of the Tampa Bay region, Swings Tampa Bay
, which builds communities through public swings, and Reuben & Hunter
, a brand identity and web development firm.
His latest endeavor, Check I’m Here
, allows universities to track and increase campus engagement through card readers on mobile phones.
"We’re at a continuous growth stage for technology here in Tampa Bay," says Pressman. "I plan on staying here and helping create a better ecosystem for everybody. I’m excited to be able to start and grow companies in Tampa Bay."
His vision is to see the technical community get more involved with non-tech communities, such as investment and the arts, creating what he refers to as "cross-community collaboration."
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Sources: Reuben Pressman and Daniel James Scott, USFSP