Tampa Bay on List of Best Cities to Start a Business

March 17, 2014

Tampa Bay recently ranks #32 out of 150 cities across the nation on the list of Best Cities to Start a Business. WalletHub used 14 unique metrics to gauge the entrepreneurial opportunities in the 150 largest U.S. cities, based on population. These metrics judge a City's overall business friendliness from financing and cost of office space to depth of talent pool and cost of living. Map of Tampa Bay Recognizing the growing entrepreneurial community in Tampa Bay, the Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. established an unconventional, collaborative entrepreneurship program called the Pasco Enterprise Network (PEN), which led to the creation of a microloan fund for entrepreneurs and the launch of a new SMARTstart business incubator. By engaging community partners to make start-up and small business resources available through a “No Wrong Door” strategy, the Pasco Enterprise Network had a huge impact on the generation of entrepreneurial leads and economic development growth in the community of Pasco County. “A large percentage of Pasco County’s economy is supported by small businesses,” said John Hagen, President/CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council. “For small business owners and entrepreneurs who need help, and don’t know where to turn, the PEN web site connects business owners to free services that can improve their chances of success.” The SMARTstart Dade City Incubator is an innovative facility-based program to engage entrepreneurs, grow new businesses and create job opportunities in Pasco County. Start-up companies can obtain inexpensive space and technical assistance to ramp up their business. The incubator provides direct opportunities for local business professionals, students and higher education faculty to work with and support entrepreneurs, as well as co-working space for collaboration.

“We know that a successful economy depends on small businesses and the support of entrepreneurship,” noted Hagen.  “Working together as a support network, entrepreneurs will be more likely to succeed. Add to that the financial resource of the microloan fund, networking events, a business incubator to house startups, and a program for companies in their second stage of growth, and the entrepreneur in Pasco County has a solid foundation of resources at his or her fingertips.”

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Jennifer Lachtara
Jennifer Lachtara
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