New small business center opens in Tampa Bay

As we discussed on this blog, Florida was recently named one of the most small business-friendly states in America. Affirming the Sunshine State's commitment to promoting small businesses, the Mark Sharpe Entrepreneur Collaborative Center (ECC) unveiled its new location last month. 

Designed as a hub for innovators and entrepreneurs, the 8,000 square-foot space provides training, services and opportunities for collaboration. Named for former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, budding professionals can participate in a community of mentors and peers. According to the Tampa Tribune, some of the center's partners include the Small Business Administration, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp., GulfCoast Business Finance and Tampa Economic Development Corp.

"Our goal is that the ECC will be a place where entrepreneurs can access an abundance of resources in a welcoming and creative environment," said county Economic Development Director Lindsey Kimball. "It will be a location where our partners will offer diverse services, including one-on-one consulting, workshops and events."

By fostering communication between entrepreneurs in disparate industries, business leaders can help find common ground to fortify Tampa Bay's position as a business leader. Located at 2101 E. Palm Ave., the center stands to come to life with panels, events, open houses and other community activities. 

Over the last year, business leaders in Tampa have brainstormed ways to revitalize the city's commercial climate. From courting large corporations to find office space in Tampa, to redeveloping parts of downtown, the shared goal of enhancing Tampa's national profile has driven innovation and lateral thinking. As plans are set into motion, it's impossible to understate the importance of public spaces for innovation, helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach for the next level of success in their respective industries. 

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