EC encourages Sarasota to enable startup businesses


From Herald-Tribune

Southwest Florida has great resources for digital-age entrepreneurs, but area leaders need to do more to provide a clear entry point for startups, something a national expert calls “a front door.”

Michael Burcham, founder of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in Tennessee, noted that this region already has some excellent drivers.

“Not only do you have a great cost of living and a beautiful place to live and all this knowledge sitting around, you've got a lot of people who are creative here,” Burcham said during a keynote speech Thursday for the Great Sarasota Chamber of Commerce's 94th annual kickoff breakfast.

“You have a bigger arts community than we do,” Burcham said. “I'm jealous.”

Burcham, 53, founded his center five years ago in Tennessee, and has since turned it into a national model for how to nurture startup businesses.

His speech, which centered on what has worked well in Nashville and how it could be done here, resonated with business leaders.

“The 30 community leaders that visited Nashville to learn about that area's economic success last fall were greatly impressed by the entrepreneur center there and Michael's 10 critical steps in building an entrepreneur ecosystem,” Chamber President Steve Queior said.