Tech Entrepreneurs Discuss Supporting Startups Locally at FTJ Live

Tech entrepreneurs from around Central Florida gathered Tuesday night at the Mad Cow Theater in Orlando for a panel discussion on startups, hosted by Florida Technology Journal Live.

The night’s speakers included Ron Cook, Program Director for Full Sail’s new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Master of Science degree program; Elton Rivas, co-founder of Jacksonville’s One Spark Crowdfunding Festival and CoWork Jax; Linda Olson, founder of Tampa Bay WaVE and FirstWave Venture Center; Kyle Steele, co-founder of Doccaster and Orlando Tech Meetup; Philip Holt, CEO and co-founder of Row Sham Bow; and Gregg Pollack, co-founder of Starter Studio, Envy Labs, and Code School.

The speakers discussed the challenges faced by tech entrepreneurs in Florida and the need for more formal and informal mentoring and education programs like Full Sail’s new Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, Tampa’s FirstWave Venture Center, and Starter Studio in Orlando. They also pointed out the advantages of a cohesive community of tech entrepreneurs.

“We have to create a culture where [risk-taking] is supported and encouraged and funded in a variety of ways, whether that’s mentorship or financial resources or space, or any of those kinds of things,” pointed out Row Sham Bow’s CEO Philip Holt. “It is such a critical element. Because if you’re just going down the road that’s already been trodden by somebody else, that’s not fundable – and it’s not innovative.”