Tampa Bay wins rare chance to assess health of its emerging start-up scene

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Is Tampa Bay doing a good job of supporting entrepreneurship and innovative business start-ups? A new effort may shed some critical light on how the regional “entrepreneurial ecosystem” works and whether there are some key gaps that need attention.

A well-regarded Kansas City think tank for entrepreneurship, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is providing a $150,000 grant to the University of Tampa and a group of academic experts in entrepreneurship to assess Tampa Bay’s start-up environment and better identify what’s driving entrepreneurship here rather than in more established regions.

“For many years the gold standard was Silicon Valley and communities tried to emulate what they saw there and on Boston’s Route 128,” says Rebecca White, the University of Tampa’s entrepreneurship expert who will head the research effort. “More recently there has been a shift and a greater interest in understanding communities of entrepreneurs outside of these traditional areas and a focus on what is making more mainstream cities interesting from an entrepreneur’s perspective.”