The sixth time was the charm for Julia MacGregor-Peralta.
The Tampa entrepreneur started five other companies before she founded Global Safety Management, a Tampa tech company that aims to make the workplace safer.
Now, GSM is the winner of the Startup of the Year award from TiE Tampa Bay. The award honors a profitable young company launched in Florida and will be one of five awards handed out during TiEcon Florida on Feb. 16.
The day-long event, at the Sam & Martha Gibbons Alumni Center at University of South Florida in Tampa, will bring together entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and business professionals from throughout the area, and will include speakers, breakout panels and a pitch competition. The schedule and registration details are here.
MacGregor-Peralta, who is president and CEO of Global Safety Management, will be part of a panel discussion featuring women who are entrepreneurs throughout the area.
“Tampa Bay is a great startup community because it’s still small enough that you can develop relationships with prominent, active business leaders. If you’re at an earlier stage of development, you can leverage the network and grow a lot faster than you normally would,” MacGregor-Peralta said. “This also holds true for the local investment community. The [venture capital] market is still young enough that it’s easier to tap into.
“There’s a saying that ‘all boats rise with the tide.’ As the entrepreneurial and investment community rises, it’s elevating all of the great startups along with it.”
Global Safety Management is one of a relatively few women-led businesses to attract venture capital, raising more than $3 million. While the biggest challenge in the startup community still is around raising capital, that is starting to change, MacGregor-Peralta said.
“VCs in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and other major entrepreneurial hubs learned a long time ago that founder-friendly terms are more beneficial to all parties. They have changed their investment terms to be more ‘entrepreneur friendly’ because they realized it was an impediment to growth and partnerships,” she said. “In the Southeast, there are still some investors caught up in the old way of doing investment deals, but I have found Tampa Bay to be very progressive. We have been fortunate to be involved with some local investors that are leading the way in helping entrepreneurs thrive here.”
She offered three pieces of advice to other entrepreneurs:
- Know thyself. Being self-aware is so important in a startup and management journey. You have to know your strengths so you can back-fill your weaknesses. Don’t be ignorant – hire people better than you at those roles where you know you need the support.
- Surround yourself with amazing people. Understand that nobody builds a business alone. I don’t care how good you are, it won’t happen if you don’t involve great people – employees, investors, the community and friends. You need them all.
- Be tenacious. Constantly seek to disprove what you believe and be brutally honest with yourself. Things change, like market or organizational demands. Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. It’s hard, but you can’t give up.
Read more about Global Safety Management’s accomplishments in 2018 here.