TAMPA - Starting today, Tampa Bay is collectively taking the necessary first steps toward building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. In support of this vision, the community’s entrepreneurs have offered their Tampa Bay 6/20 Plan, outlining the existing ecosystem and mandatory first steps. Endorsed by local entrepreneurship programs and support organizations, the plan aims to give a shared voice to the entrepreneurial leaders who are looking to develop Tampa Bay into one of the best regions in the country to start and grow their businesses.
Florida’s virtually non-existent seed and early stage equity capital pipeline, combined with the latest economic downturn, have caused too much local talent to leave in pursuit of greener pastures. Hoping to reverse the trend, the Tampa Bay 6/20 Plan was researched and composed by six of the region’s entrepreneurs, each of whom has strong university and community ties.
The group – Rebecca White, Daniel James Scott, Marvin Scaff, John Morrow , Bill Jackson, and Brent Britton – studied the critical elements that catalyzed the turnaround within dozens of entrepreneurial communities and interviewed countless participants in these transformations. Their work has identified two specific ingredients that must be built upon to allow an entrepreneurial ecosystem to prosper. The first is talent, measured by net new job creation; and the second is capital, measured by net new equity investment.
Brad Feld, one of the outspoken leaders in the successful transformation of Boulder, Colorado into one of the nation’s premier entrepreneurial ecosystems, has advised that “building entrepreneurial community takes at least a half dozen entrepreneurs that are committed to provide leadership over twenty years.” This guidance, in addition to the plan’s public release date of June 20th, provided the name for the plan. It also flavored the “by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs” focus of the plan.
“We simply cannot continue to ignore our privilege and responsibility of hand-crafting a world class community,” notes John Morrow, named in the plan as Tampa Bay’s Entrepreneur-In-Residence and charged with ensuring the success of the plan. “As entrepreneurs, we need to be the change that we seek. Phase one of this plan should allow us to focus our energy effectively.”
The ultimate goal of the plan is provide a fluid, evolving framework for taking an ever-changing set of next steps as the community progresses. This framework, in addition to resources provided to the ecosystem, will be tracked at http://tampabay620.com.