Business & Economy

UWF Center for Entrepreneurship launches resource website to help Northwest Florida entrepreneurs

The University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with Gulf Power Company and FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance, has developed the Northwest Florida Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Assets Portal to assist entrepreneurs in Northwest Florida.

“Developing this portal falls perfectly in line with the Center for Entrepreneurship’s mission to serve as a comprehensive resource for economic innovation and support the complete life cycle of the entrepreneur,” said Dr. Tim O’Keefe, dean of the UWF College of Business. “We are thankful for Gulf Power and FloridaWest EDA, our dedicated partners in enhancing the workforce landscape for entrepreneurs in Northwest Florida.”

The Northwest Florida Entrepreneurial Support Coalition is designed to build a more cohesive, intentional and resourceful entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northwest Florida. The online portal acts as a one-stop shop for starting a business in the region, providing links to all of the organizations from Pensacola to Panama City that may be helpful to entrepreneurs. Resources are categorized into areas such as funding, advice, workspace, training, events and research.

“Gulf Power is a proud partner with the Northwest Florida Entrepreneurial Support Coalition in our efforts to support job growth and capital investment in the region,” explained Jennifer Grove, community development manager at Gulf Power. “We greatly appreciate the University of West Florida taking the lead to develop the web portal which makes it easy for entrepreneurs to connect to resources available in the region to support them in growing their business.”

The idea for the portal originated with FloridaWest EDA, which initially maintained a spreadsheet of entrepreneurial support organizations in the Greater Pensacola Area. Gulf Power, which serves a broader footprint in the region, expanded upon the initial list of entities connecting similar organizations as far as Panama City.

“We want to thank the Center for Entrepreneurship at UWF for offering to develop such a great resource for our entrepreneurs and existing business in the region,” said Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest EDA. “It is collaborative efforts such as these that make Northwest Florida such a perfect place to grow new businesses and jobs.“

With shared objectives of diversifying and growing the region’s economy, FloridaWest EDA and Gulf Power sought the assistance of the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship to create a more visible database. The online portal went live in late 2016.

Entrepreneurial support organizations – from chambers of commerce to venture capitalists – can now leverage resources, coordinate events and determine shared objectives to enhance support and navigation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem within Northwest Florida communities. Participating organizations will help to raise awareness of the portal by communicating its availability to entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.

For more information about the Northwest Florida Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Assets Portal, visit the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship website.