How has Tampa not leaped at all?

entrepreneurs please applyArticles from St. Pete Times Robert Trigaux   How has Raleigh leaped out in front? and Tampa Tribune Michael Sasso  “Bay area rises slightly on regional scorecard” are more about what Tampa is doing wrong than what other cities are doing right.

According to a recent Regional Economic Scorecard by the Tampa Bay Partnership, the region is 6th out of 6 Southern cities when it comes to job creation: gains on unemployment; income; venture capital and productivity.

Perhaps most disturbing is the 6th of 6 ranking in terms of the availability of venture capital. This is the seed-money investment needed in start-up companies being brought to life by the brightest and best entrepreneurial minds in the region.

As Hillsborough County struggles to hit a home run with a big high-tech company coming to town (Jackson Labs  wanted only $300 million for the privilege of opening shop here) there seems to be little or no effort to “grow our own.”

ideas for new businessHillsborough County Commissioner Murman is working on a number of small business tax initiatives as step in the right direction. A more regional approach is also needed to expand business incubators throughout the county, most especially in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and those furthest from downtown Tampa.

Business incubators assist start-up businesses get going and get growing.

We get a two-fold economic development advantage for each new small business: an entrepreneur becomes self-employed and it opens opportunities for  the unemployed to gain employment.

Funding could come from a number of sources. Physical facilities could be provided in underutilized spaces by the cities and the county. Business incubator expertise could be provided by USF and the Small Business Information Center.

Lastly, investment capital could come from the private sector and from the local governments each of which could benefit from the increase in value of those investments in start-ups as they grow and become successful. The local governments could also grant tax exemptions to existing local business equal to the amount they provide venture capital through these business incubators.

The Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce might want to take a lead in this.

We’ve relied too long on the belief that “trickle-down” will turn around the economy.
We need to reexamine “trickle-up”.

There is nothing this region couldn’t accomplished if we grew the revenue tax base through full employment.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


2 Responses to “How has Tampa not leaped at all?”

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