TAMPA — How do cities and governments leverage their resources to build successful entrepreneurial environments? And how can Tampa develop a culture and environment that promotes and rewards entrepreneurship?
These are questions The University of Tampa will answer thanks to a recently announced $150,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Rebecca White, professor of entrepreneurship and director of UT’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, said a main goal of the grant is to provide compelling evidence of how individuals and institutions interact with the Tampa Bay environment to facilitate start-ups.
“This opportunity to showcase the Tampa Bay region as a model entrepreneurship ecosystem and work with the Kauffman Foundation and other accomplished scholars to develop an algorithm to measure these kinds of systems is very exciting for the faculty and staff of the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center,” White said.
The grant will provide a foundation to present the entrepreneurial ecosystems factors that are driving entrepreneurship in the Tampa Bay region. And secondly, the grant will provide for the production of research that scholars interested in entrepreneurial ecosystems research can use to help guide their own studies.
Research shows that knowledge spillovers from universities can lead to radical innovation, which accounts for a significant share of U.S. productivity growth. And cities need to target knowledge and develop a culture that promotes and rewards entrepreneurship.
Yasuyuki Motoyama, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation, said that while the term “entrepreneurship ecosystem” has been widely used in recent years, both by academics and practitioners, there is still little understanding about how the overall system evolves and functions, and how its development can be measured.
“The grant to The University of Tampa will help to deepen understanding in this subject by employing various kinds of quantitative and qualitative data, as well as examining history and policy decisions, which will provide much more nuanced implications for other cities,” Motoyama said.
White added that understanding what factors serve as either a barrier or trigger to entrepreneurship is important in order to enact appropriate policy initiatives to promote venturing activity.
“The findings of our study will be of immediate use to Tampa Bay region policy makers who can act to reduce barriers to the creation and development of transformative new oriented companies,” White said. “For example, Tampa Bay may need to act to reduce bureaucratic costs and red tape associated with starting new businesses, and to build infrastructure of venture finance and angel investor networks.”
White is the grant’s principal investigator. Other key team members of the grant are:
- Zoltan J. Acs, professorial research fellow in the Department of Management at London School of Economics and a professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University;
- David B. Audretsch, distinguished professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington.
- Diana Hechavarria, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, University of South Florida;
- Siri Terjesen, assistant professor in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and Lund University (Sweden).
Toward the end of the grant period, UT will host a launch event in September 2016 to include a panel of individuals who can comment on the report and the Tampa Bay entrepreneurial ecosystem.
For more information, contact White at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 257-1760.
The Kauffman Foundation provides educational resources for U.S. entrepreneurs, works to accelerate metro-area entrepreneurship hubs and helps supporting organizations that assist entrepreneurs. The Foundation also works to advance entrepreneurship by providing research-based knowledge to entrepreneurs, policymakers and others.
The University of Tampa is a private, residential university located on 105 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves 8,037 students from 50 states and 140 countries. Approximately 60 percent of full-time students live on campus, and more than half of UT students are from Florida.