USFSP and LocalShops1 to present St. Petersburg mayoral forum

USF St. Petersburg will partner with LocalShops1 to present a general election forum for St. Petersburg mayoral candidates focused on economic development and the concerns of small businesses.

The forum, free and open to the public, will be at 6 p.m., Sept. 10 at the USFSP University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S. A public reception preceding the forum begins at 5 p.m. Complimentary parking will be available at the USFSP garage, 250 5th Ave. S. View campus map and get directions.

William Jackson, Ph.D.

William Jackson, Ph.D.

The forum will feature incumbent Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman, the two candidates who emerged from the Aug. 27 city primary. William Jackson, Ph.D., USFSP professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Director of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program, will be among the panelists asking the candidates questions.

The forum will be moderated by USFSP political science professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Ph.D., associate director of the USFSP Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Ph.D.

Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Ph.D.

The forum is presented by LocalShops1 and USF St. Petersburg and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, the USFSP Student Government Association and the USFSP Bishop Center.

“We are pleased to have two of our top academic experts from business and political science participate in this important event,’’ said Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This is another great example of the kind of community partnerships and civic engagement USF St. Petersburg values.”

The panelists will ask questions of the candidates, including those submitted by the audience. The other panelists include Mark Lombardi-Nelson, USFSP Student Government President and member of the USF System Board of Trustees; Linda Hersey, freelance journalist; Jack King, Three Birds Tavern co-owner; and Mo Venouziou, LocalShops1 vice president.

“Small, locally owned businesses are the foundation of our local economy, and we are excited to hear the candidates’ plans to help existing businesses prosper and new ones get off the ground,” said Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1, founded in 2008 to connect shoppers with business owners and to offer advocacy, support and education to locally owned businesses.

Seating is limited, so reserve your seat today.

Daniel James Scott

USFSP Entrepreneurship Program leader named Florida’s small business advocate of the year

Daniel James Scott, associate director of the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Program at the College of Business, has been named the Florida 2013 Small Business Advocate of the Year.

The award honors the work Scott has done through the Entrepreneurship Program, recently named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States.  It is awarded annually by the Small Business Administration’s South Florida District to the person who has demonstrated accomplishments over the past three years supporting the growth and expansion of small businesses.

Last month Scott was named the advocate of the year for the Small Business Administration South Florida District. This latest honor extends that honor to the entire state.

“This honor really highlights the dedicated efforts of our Entrepreneurship Program team at USF St. Petersburg, including the administration, faculty, advisers, volunteers and students,” Scott said. “Our combined efforts in building a stronger ecosystem have truly created a positive impact for entrepreneurs around the state of Florida.”

“This award acknowledges your personal achievement and dedication in advocating for and advancing small business ownership and expansion opportunities,” wrote Francisco “Pancho” A. Marrero, South Florida District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Through your work you inspire other entrepreneurs to start and build businesses that will benefit our community. Job creating has a lasting impact on Florida’s economy and you are there inspiring others through our work.”

The Entrepreneurship Program was founded three years ago by William Jackson, Ph.D., Professor for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Scott, a successful entrepreneur himself with five businesses, three of which he sold, joined the program in July 2010.

Last year, students in the Entrepreneurship Club won the prestigious 2012 CEO Startup Simulation Challenge. More recently, USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship students took both first and third place during the 2013 South Eastern Entrepreneurship Conference’s pitch competition.

“This award underscores the Entrepreneurship Program’s commitment to helping the community, particularly small startup businesses,” said Norine Noonan, Ph.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs. “It is yet another example of the kind of community engagement the College of Business is known for.”

The program will celebrate with Entrepreneurship Day at 1:30 p.m. April 10 along Harborwalk at USF St. Petersburg. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature food, music and presentations by Entrepreneurship students and faculty members.

Read more about the Entrepreneurship Program at the USF St. Petersburg College of Business.

Winning Entrepreneurship Club members Chris Carpentier, Mark Lombardi-Nelson, Lazar Anderson, Brown Charite and Kevin Mircovich are congratulated by Entrepreneurship Director Bill Jackson during Entrepreneurship Day.

USFSP Entrepreneurship Club members win second national championship in a row

Members of the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Club at have won a prestigious national competition for the second year in a row.

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Startup Simulation Challenge requires a team of students to take a new business and make the right decisions to out-perform nine other teams from across the country. The computer simulation took two months.

The winners were announced Wednesday during Entrepreneurship Day at USFSP, held three months after the Entrepreneurship Program at the USFSP College of Business was named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The USF St. Petersburg team was led by Kevin Mircovich and included Lazar Anderson, sophomore Chris Carpentier, senior Brown Charite and Mark Lombardi-Nelson. The winning team is awarded $1,000 and will be honored at the 2013 National CEO Conference in Chicago. Everyone but Mircovich were members of the 2012 championship team.

The top three schools finished just several points apart. This was the third annual simulation challenge hosted by CEO, the premier entrepreneurship network with 240 chapters at universities in 43 states.

Quinnipiac University placed second and the University of Northern Iowa was third.

In February, USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Club students dominated a pitch competition in Tampa that drew 200 students from across the Southeast, with four of the seven finalists and a first and third place showing.

In November, a team that included three USF St. Petersburg students won first place in the People’s Choice Award, and third place overall at Startup Weekend Tampa in November.

“We are proud that USF St. Petersburg students are once again the national champions in entrepreneurship,” said Entrepreneurship Program Director Bill Jackson, Ph.D. “These students worked hard for this achievement and showing the way for others.”

Norine Noonan, Ph.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the recent string of victories by the students shows the value of USFSP’s growing Entrepreneurship Program.

“Our goal is to build the best undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country and Bill Jackson and his team deserve our hearty congratulations,” Noonan said. “This is a great example of the importance of this program to the economic vitality of Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area.”


USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Program wins national honor

The Entrepreneurship Program at the USF St. Petersburg College of Business has been named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States.

The award was presented Saturday to Program Director William Jackson, Ph.D., by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship at its annual conference in San Francisco.

The award comes less than three years after the program was founded and nearly a year after students in the Entrepreneurship Club won the prestigious 2012 CEO Startup Simulation Challenge.

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship is the world’s largest independent organization dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship. The award honors an emerging program that “reflects innovation, quality, potential viability, comprehensiveness, depth of support, sustainability and impact.”

The breadth and scope of the Entrepreneurship Program seemed to impress the judges, Jackson said. The program includes innovative curriculum that crosses all disciplines and colleges at USFSP, a small-business development center, a business accelerator called Gazelle Lab, the Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, an advisory board of experienced entrepreneurs and extensive community outreach that brought dozens of Tampa Bay business leaders into classrooms to interact with students.

The program also published “Tampa Bay’s 6/20 Plan” that called for the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage collaboration among Tampa Bay entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them.

“This provides needed validation for us and the community that we have accomplished a lot here in a short period of time,” said Jackson. “The success can be attributed to the hard work of everyone involved in the program.”

Besides Dr. Jackson, that team includes Daniel James Scott, Associate Director of the Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation Alliance and Instructor of Entrepreneurship; Nathan Schwagler, the  Entrepreneurship Program’s creative-in-residence; John Morrow, Entrepreneur-in-Residence; Elizabeth Markie, pitch coach; and Wayne Brass, a consultant with USFSP’s Small Business Development Center.

“The program is an example of how the College of Business is working with the Tampa Bay business community in ways that directly benefit students,” said College of Business Dean Maling Ebrahimpour, Ph.D. “I am very proud of the faculty, staff and students for the hard work that led to this honor.”

Startup Weekend Tampa

College of Business students make strong showing at Startup Weekend Tampa

A team that included three USF St. Petersburg students made a strong showing at the recent Startup Weekend Tampa event with their idea for a mobile app to buy distinctively local products.

USFSP College of Business students Lazar Anderson and Chris Carpentier pitched the initial idea, called, and were soon joined by three others, including USFSP freshman entrepreneurship major Amanda DiCicco. The team spent the weekend researching and refining the concept before pitching again before judges and the 13 competing teams.

The result: First place in the People’s Choice Award, and third place overall.

Startup Weekend Tampa was is part of a global grassroots movement in more than 200 cities around the world. It was held the Nov. 16-18 at Keiser University in Tampa. The idea is to teach would-be entrepreneurs the rigors of starting a business over a 54-hour period.

“It’s a very intense environment,’’ says Anderson, who with Carpentier was part of the team of USFSP Entrepreneurship Club members who last year placed first in the national Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Startup Simulation Challenge. “You try to do all these things and you’re not sure you can do them. It builds people as much as ideas. You realize you’re capable of a lot more.”

William Jackson, Ph.D., director of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program, praised the students for their strong showing. “Start-up Weekend is a great opportunity for students, a chance to share and develop ideas under the same type of pressure most start-ups face,” he said. “Who knows—maybe the next Google was born! Something we are working on is to move these students to the next step of customer development — is there a market for their ideas?”

The idea for grew out of a trip to Chicago in early November. Carpentier, a sophomore entrepreneurship major, Anderson and other members of the Entrepreneurship Club made to accept the Startup Simulation Challenge award. As they prepared to fly home, Anderson went looking for souvenirs at the airport and was disappointed with what he found. Fellow team member Mark Lombardi-Nelson told Anderson he could hear the pain in his voice over spending good money on lousy gifts.

That got Anderson and Carpentier thinking. “In entrepreneurship you’re taught to find whatever pain a customer is experiencing and remove it,” explains Anderson, a senior business management major with an entrepreneurship minor. It would be great, they thought, if there were a mobile app that would sort through the best, locally distinctive products and allow you to buy it and ship it home. “That way you don’t have to cram it into your carry-on luggage,’’ Anderson said. “It will be waiting for you at home.’’

Winning the people’s choice award “felt nice,’’ Anderson said, because it was validation from their peers and competitors. They hope to take everything they learned and keep the momentum going. The next challenge: turn the idea into reality — and attract investors.