FSU entrepreneur center coming to Tampa, partners with HCC, Hillsborough County

A string of three tattoo shops, five bakeries or two car dealerships should by all means be viewed as “successful” in the business world: The owner has gotten over the initial first year, figured out the how-to’s and created a customer base.

But what about the companies who want to go from $1 million a year to $5 million? Enter the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. “We don’t see that much focus on existing businesses,” Randy Blass, executive director of the Jim Moran Institute said. “We see a lot activity in startup and around tech, but that’s where jobs are created — getting [already established] small businesses to grow.”

The institute, based at Florida State University in Tallahassee, has spent the last two years expanding across the state and will complete its final physical expansion in Hillsborough County within the next few months. It is now in the process of hiring a director and will be open for interested businesses to join the program at a tentative time in February or March.

It aims to help mid-level entrepreneurs and has teamed up with Hillsborough County and Hillsborough County Community College to bring expertise to both non-profit and for-profit businesses alike.

“It allows us to provide small businesses access to really robust training and subject matter educators who are affiliated with the institute,” Andrew Gold, a business administration professor at Hillsborough Community College said. “If you had a small business you want go from $1 million to $10 million, but you don’t know how to do that to scale to the next level.”

The space itself will be hosted in the county’s Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor City. Lindsey Kimball, director of economic development for Hillsborough County, was integral in ensuring the institute was located in the Tampa Bay area.

“We have more than 80 different non-profits there offering services to small business owners [in the ECC],” Kimball said. “We were just delighted they chose us. We’ve heard a lot of folks say the Ybor City location is central — we have a whole full city block that serves as parking and it’s easy for everybody around the whole region to access.”

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