Best Practices

Partnership to Connect Entrepreneurs to Local Resources in Tampa Bay

Published Feb 09, 2016 by Sarah Mote

In a partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Tampa Bay WaVE, U.S.SourceLink is helping map available entrepreneurial resources in the Tampa Bay area that are so vital to building new businesses. 

The Tampa Bay SourceFinder, a printed matrix, is now available. It sorts on-the-ground resources by business stage and need (funding, legal, mentoring and more). The SourceFinder was unveiled during Tampa Bay Startup Week and will be available online and distributed at #ChaseBasecamp on District 13 this week. 

With the Resource Navigator®, powered by SourceLink, Tampa Bay is making the list of resources dynamic and interactive. Hosted on the Tampa Bay WaVE website, Resource Navigator® is a user‐ friendly, online search engine that maps a community’s resources, allowing entrepreneurs and small business owners to search the entire network for resources that fit their location, industry, business stage and challenge.

JPMorgan Chase’s overall support of Tampa Bay small businesses community is part of the firm’s Small Business Forward initiative, a five-year, $30 million commitment that supports small businesses by connecting them to critical resources to help them grow faster, create jobs and strengthen local economies.

“We know Tampa Bay is a great place to start a business,” said Rob Williams, director of SourceLink. “With SourceLink, we can help make it easier for Tampa Bay’s entrepreneurs to find the most relevant resources for their business challenges, right now.”

JPMorgan Chase and SourceLink have published similar matrices in Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; and Seattle, Washington. Plans are under way to launch SourceFinders and Resource Navigators as part of upcoming Startup Week celebrations in Dallas and Phoenix.

Mapping Tampa Bay’s Unique Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Tampa Bay boasts a mix of industries and a population base that supports local businesses. But while local shoppers support their homegrown companies, often entrepreneurs have difficulty finding the right on-the-ground resources to help nurture their businesses.

“Tampa Bay has a wealth of resources that support all levels of entrepreneurial development, but there’s a perception among entrepreneurs, and even entrepreneurial service organizations, that those vital resources are fragmented,” said Maria Meyers, founder of SourceLink.

As part of its first step to helping the city map and connect its entrepreneurial resources through SourceFinder and Resource Navigator, SourceLink hosted a discovery workshop in Tampa Bay with several entrepreneurs and service organizations.

Those champions of entrepreneurship listed Tampa Bay’s diversity, people, economic climate and strong commitment to locally owned businesses as its entrepreneurial strengths.

Among its opportunities, they cited:

  • improving access to capital, including increasing the number of angels and microloans
  • educating entrepreneurs on the types of resources and funding available for their industry and business stage
  • increasing the value and visibility of entrepreneurial resources
  • matching mentors with businesses
  • advancing the discovery and commercialization of new technologies
  • fostering more communication, collaboration and connectivity among entrepreneurs and resources
“By creating a collaborative network out of its entrepreneurial resources, Tampa Bay could begin to leverage new opportunities to advance ideas, increase access to capital and create a clear vision for Tampa Bay’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” added Meyers.