Building Up Positive Buzz

Entrepreneurs

BY SUZETTE JONES SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY OCT 31, 2015

Twenty years ago, I moved to Sarasota from Washington, D.C. to start a business in the golf tournament industry. I didn’t want to move to Florida. I didn’t even play golf. But there was an opportunity and I needed to go where the business was strong.

A lot has changed in the area since 1995. I’m now on my seventh startup since arriving. Technology has broken geographic boundaries. The region is attracting a demographic that is not limited to ‘just retiring.’ Innovation, new ideas and creativity seem to be exploding on the Gulf Coast.

While Southwest Florida has always attracted wealth, I’m seeing a growing  category of what I call “Renegade Investors.” These are the individuals who were the innovators of their time—and they’re not done! They have the experience, the network and the resources to invest in ideas they believe in. These aren’t the typical Angel or Venture Capitol groups. I see passion and gut instinct based on years of experience attracting their attention.

There are a great number of organizations trying to capture these assets. Each one helps to strengthen our economic ecosystem. From government bodies to incubators, educational institutions to makers-spaces, the Gulf Coast is booming with people who see the importance of supporting the entrepreneur and innovative business. Most of these groups have a ‘focus’ in order to make an impact: technology, innovative health, sports performance. Some groups have emerged to link the resources. Some have emerged to link the people. This ‘linking and collaborating’ is where my passion exists. 

Maybe it’s my big Western family’s influence, but I see strength and unlimited possibilities in cheerleading the whole shebang: students, entrepreneurs, institutions, small business, big industry, investors and policy makers. It’s all about playing well in the sandbox, collaborating with and supporting the efforts at home. We are bigger and better together. We all have an important part in the economic engine of our region.

To uncover and learn about some of the area has to offer, everyone is invited to attend BuzzPrizeExpo, a free one-day event that brings entrepreneurs, customers and business owners together with investors, industry experts and elected officials to showcase opportunities and resources that can grow the region’s economic footprint and power.

You can register for free Expo tickets and learn more here.

Suzette Jones is founder and CEO of The Economic Buzz

Buy tickets here

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