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Jim Moran Institute, Tampa Bay Wave open opportunities for business leaders

Margie Manning



Two organizations that help founders grow their small businesses are opening their doors to new groups of entrepreneurs.

Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit that houses and services tech startups, is taking applications for its fall 2019 accelerator program in Tampa, while the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship is bringing its program to St. Petersburg for the first time this fall.

The Wave accelerator is designed for technology companies that meet the “launch” or “grow” criteria, including paying customers and/or a paid pilot, a dedicated management team, and preferably at least $100,000 in sales. Applications opened July 18 at the organization’s Pitch Night for its Tech Diversity cohort, and will be accepted through Sept. 16.

Wave’s fall 2019 cohort begins in late October and runs through Feb. 11, ending with a Demo Day at Synapse Summit. Accelerator benefits include access to capital, mentoring, connections and savings on related services. There’s a $4,800 membership fee.

More information and applications are here.

Shane Smith, director of central Florida operations, Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship

The Moran program primarily is for “Main Street USA, as well as industrial zone” companies, said Shane Smith, director of the Jim Moran Institute’s Central Florida operations.

“When you say ‘entrepreneur’ everybody thinks tech startup. That’s not who we are helping,” Smith said during a presentation at 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg at The Greenhouse. “We’re helping the already established company that wants hockey stick growth, but we also want to be sure they can sustain that. If they have one coffee shop, I’d love for them to have five coffee shops. If they’re a manufacturer in Dunedin with $5 million in sales, I want them to have $20 million in sales.”

The program is named for the late Jim Moran, an auto executive who founded one of the largest companies in Florida, JM Family Enterprises Inc. It’s offered classes in south Florida, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, and offered its first cohort for small business executives in Tampa earlier this year.

The St. Petersburg program will expand to include both small business and nonprofit executives.

“Business owners and nonprofit executive leaders often get stuck working in their business when they should be working on their business,” Smith said. “Our aim is to help those organizations by providing executive education. We do everything as a group, we have a cohort, we don’t do mentorship or one-on-one coaching. It’s all in a group environment. That allows us to work with organizations like here at the Greenhouse, which does consult one-on-one.”

Each program has eight sessions focusing on a particular aspect of growing a business or nonprofit. Starting in August and running through December, the sessions will be held every other week from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Applicants must be actively involved in running a business, be key decision-makers and their companies must have been established for at least three years and have five or more employees (or volunteers if their company is a nonprofit).

The program is free and applications are here. Applications will be taken through Aug. 7.

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