Innovation in Tampa Bay

On the heels of Tampa’s second and very successful Startup Weekend, there have been several new discussions on how Tampa Bay can become known for innovation. Personally, I think the word Innovation much like the word Entrepreneur get thrown around too loosely especially among the ranks of government, academia and economic development, but last week the Tampa Chamber convened a focus group to discuss innovation, what is it and how do we (they) foster more. The impact of this discussion is yet to be seen, but hopefully the Chamber will take a selfless look at what early-stage founders need and find a way to leverage their public policy and business leadership muscle to create a more startup friendly ecosystem.

On a related note, I sat down with Hillsborough Commissioner Mark Sharpe and Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione for the weekly Buddy Brew podcast to discuss Innovate Tampa Bay.

Part 2 of this podcast  is available here.

Tampa Bay is definitely gaining momentum and building the critical mass needed to be a tech-friendly ecosystem. Are we there yet, hell no. These things take time and are built one company / product at a time, but having these discussions and highlighting what is important in a tech-based economy helps the community avoid the distractions and scams of over-hyped economic development and instead focuses on what builds sustainable value.