The Florida Business Incubation Association met on September 16th and 17th in Bradenton, FL. It convened entrepreneurs, incubators, and university liaisons, and more.
This engaging, community-driven event was kicked off Thursday afternoon at Station 2 Innovation and was sponsored by Spark Growth.
The group then moved to Pier 22 for an “Access to Capital – Funding Florida’s Growth Panel” discussion. The panel discussion featured investment and innovation leaders, including Tim Cartwright, Chairman of Tamiami Angel Fund I, II, and III, and CEO of Fifth Avenue Family Office Advisors.
On Friday, the event concluded with a lively presentation and discussion at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Panelists included the following:
- Charles Ross, InBIA: State of the Business Incubation Industry
- Greg Smogard, USF: Critical and Creative Design Thinking, and Bias in decision-making for start-ups and early-stage companies
- Shannon Pastizzo, USF Connect: Networking for ourselves as leaders and how to support clients develop networks that will grow their businesses, find funding, and develop lifelong relationships
- Ken Evans, Tampa Bay Innovation Center: Lessons from entrepreneurship and mentorship
The Top 5 Takeaways include…
- InBIA President and CEO Charles Ross joined us for a session and shared about what keeps the 1,000 members from over 30 countries up at night. He said, in a recent member survey, the two main challenges were to find funding for clients and how best to assist clients and graduates.
- Just like the old-fashioned one room school house’s focus on the 3R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic, incubators need to focus on the 3R’s – relevance, results, and reputation.
- Relevance: the need for upskilling, networking, and community building
- Results: learning about uncommon metrics to address persistent societal challenging, measuring impact and communicating performance metrics
- Reputation: Storytelling, unification of message, recognition for the clients
- Great tips on lessons learned from Ken Evans, he shared that we all should remind ourselves when coaching and mentoring clients:
- The best investor a start-up can have is a customer who writes you a check.
- Focus on building something people need. Don’t overcomplicate it!
- Be intentional about focusing clients on outcome-driven metrics not vanity-driven metrics. Emphasize products shipped or industry engagement over patents and press releases.
- We should focus clients on serving HPRC’s (Happy, Paying, Referenceable Customers!)
- One of our speakers predicted that there is going to be an entrepreneurial explosion of transitional entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will level the playing field and ensure entrepreneurship is for everyone causing social disruption and a new age of entrepreneurship.
- Don’t look at networking as transactional but as relational. You have to double down on relationships. Shannon shared she knows who she wants to connect with before she arrives at an event, and she focuses on who that person is, as an individual, versus a job title. Personal touchpoints become the future conversations and the basis for reconnecting.
Congratulations to all for a successful event!