Award Celebrates Innovation Economy



As creativity and design take a more prominent space in today’s economy, the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County has joined efforts with Ringling College of Art and Design to launch a new award honoring innovation. Nominations will be accepted through Aug. 10 for the first Innovation Through Creative Design Award. “Sarasota has always been a center for creativity and this award is intended to recognize and elevate current day innovators that embody this enduring spirit,” said EDC Chairman Larry Fineberg. “This award is the perfect avenue to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurial innovators driving our community forward.”

Chris Purnell, Corporate Relations director for the EDC, said the award creates an opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurs. “That’s what we are all looking for,” Purnell said. “Especially as technology grows, we want a reputation for being a region filled with innovators and entrepreneurs.” The college seemed a perfect partner, Purnell said, because of the role design has in the innovation economy. 

Larry Thompson, Ringling College president, has made a the elimination of the “starving artist” concept a theme of his tenure, and expressed enthusiasm for this joint effort with an economic organization. “Ringling College understands the energy and vision required to create something special,” he said.

To qualify for the award, a nominee must have a product or service available in the marketplace that has achieved demonstrable financial success, must have a majority of revenue generated coming from outside of Sarasota County and must have been developed within the last five years. Those interested can nominate themselves or others. A winner will be announced at the EDC’s annual meeting on Sept. 11.

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