It Takes a Whole County to Create and Sustain a Company

July 16, 2019

Tampa’s rise as a technology hub is no accident. It has been years in the making with many behind the scenes supporters, one such leader is Hillsborough County government and County Commissioners, who created the EDi2 program in 2013.

The purpose of the Hillsborough County Economic Development Innovation Initiative (EDi2) program is to grow technology and innovation startups, jobs and private investment in Hillsborough County through the strengthening of services and resources that directly support entrepreneurs.

Program Objectives

  1. Increase connections to high-quality mentors and support
  2. Enhance access to capital for technology and innovation startup entrepreneurs
  3. Facilitate collaboration among existing resources and be a clearinghouse for entrepreneurs
  4. Support the commercialization of institutional research
  5. Align County resources to be an “advocate-in-chief”, participating in ecosystem organizations, and supporting research, educational, and business development efforts

A sample of community organizations and events you love that are supported by EDi2 include:

  • Tampa Bay Wave
  • USF CONNECT Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI)
  • Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA)
  • Operation Startup (OPSU)
  • TiECON
  • HCC Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Symposium (VETS)
  • Tampa Bay Startup Week
  • Startup Bus
  • Startup Weekend
  • Synapse
  • World IA Day
  • Moffitt Business of Biotech

In addition to these efforts, the County has engaged in the ecosystem through the facilitation and creation of new events and engagement opportunities such as:

  • Entrepreneurial Collaborative Center (ECC) in Ybor, a hub to build capacity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and leverage resources between the County and community partners who offer entrepreneur assistance.
  • Homebrew Hillsborough Local Area Networking (LAN), a free monthly event held at different tech companies and entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) around the County.
  • EDi2 Monthly Email Update to facilitate collaboration and to share community resources, support, connections, and business development opportunities. To subscribe, email whelihanj@hillsboroughcounty.org.

Role of the County

No community’s ecosystem has been transformed by government alone. However, consistent with the program’s objective to align County resources to be an “advocate-in-chief” for startups, the County is a connector, convener and collaborator. With committed leadership from the County, most actions will be carried out by contractual partners and other collaborative partners. These partners have the existing infrastructure, talent and relationships to meet the needs of startups. Relationships between the County and its partners are not transactional, they are meaningful and outcome-based. The County will engage with private and non-profit partners when the action supports the EDi2 program objectives.

Written by: Jennifer Whelihan, Economic Development Department