Yesterday I attended a planning meeting at the University of Tampa. I serve on the advisory board for The Entrepreneur Center. Lead by Dr. Rebecca White, the goal of The Entrepreneur Center is to be a nationally recognized program for students seeking an education and experience so that they can be a happy and successful entrepreneur, and to have the needed skills and resources to start and grow sustainable, fruitful and rewarding businesses.
Yesterday was unique. We were brain storming and planning a new initiative, an accelerator program for students and alumni to learn, leverage resources and fuel the local Tampa entrepreneur scene and economy. Our group was a mix of experienced entrepreneurs, academics and UT students and Alumni.
Many excellent ideas were generated and the planning session was a success. But the coolest takeaway for me was collaborating with three young, emerging entrepreneurs from the campus. They included: a recent graduate of UT, Jess English who leads a babysitting referral company called Simply Sitters, Bobby Soroory, an MBA student at UT who is a principle with Legacy Development Company and Arthur Linares Jr., a current student of UT’s entrepreneurial studies and co-founder of Greenskies, a renewable energy venture.
Their insight, energy and entrepreneurial spirit was contagious and inspiring. It made me reflect on my start when I was 22, and how it felt being a business newbie, an outsider to the real game of commerce with limited resources. And most importantly how critical it was and still is to have a network of trusted advisors and mentors.
I left the meeting with a renewed appreciation for the program and a commitment to stay connected and help the next generation of entrepreneurs.
No matter how busy you are as an entrepreneur, if you’ve got skills and experience under your belt, share them. Reach out to the local entrepreneurial program in your community, get involved or take a young, emerging entrepreneur to lunch every quarter. You will both walk away with new juice and simulation.
If you are a seasoned entrepreneur in Tampa and want to get involved with this program, contact me.
For more on student learning, view: How to connect with the campus consumer.