Aug 18, 2023

Clearwater organization to open Florida’s first tourism business incubator


Jonee Lewis reports.

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Tourism is Florida’s top industry and Clearwater is seeing record numbers and growth.

Local business advocacy groups say they want to make sure small businesses aren’t left behind. Amplify Clearwater developed the idea of creating a tourism business incubator in Florida.

"That's exactly what we do at Amplify Clearwater, is build that community, surround entrepreneurs that are excited about their idea with others that they can lean on through the process, the tools and the resources that they need to get there, all of the marketing and wraparound services to help them be successful," Kristina Park, Chief Operating Officer said.

The incubator is a physical space for local entrepreneurs to find resources.

They teamed up with Economic Impact Catalyst to launch the new initiative.

READ: National Black Business Month celebrates Black entrepreneurs

"So, this incubator, first of its kind in Florida, and this is essentially a way to bring local businesses to start locally, raise their families here, improve their quality of living, and at the same time be able to drive innovation here," David Ponraj, CEO of Economic Impact Catalyst shared.

The incubator will create a physical space to help our local entrepreneurs get access to the resources they need to keep their business going and our economy thriving.

The new business incubator will help small business owners get connected to the resources they need.

"I'm a small business owner myself and I've started multiple businesses. Small business owners have a lot of needs because you need to know where you can find a good lawyer, where you can find a good accountant," Ponraj said.

READ: Plans in the works to add two luxury condo towers to Clearwater

It will help small businesses and boost our local economy in the process.

"It's not just maybe what you think about automatically when you think tourism, whether it's hospitality or restaurants. They're sports tourism and medical tourism and innovation happening in green technology for sustainable eco-tourism moving forward," Park said. "So, I'm really excited to see what partners come to the table, what ideas that they're able to incubate right here in Clearwater."

The initial startup was funded by the City of Clearwater. The first cohort of businesses will start in October.

Businesses interested in applying for the program can, click here.

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By PublishedCLEARWATER, Fla.READ: National Black Business Month celebrates Black entrepreneursREAD: Plans in the works to add two luxury condo towers to Clearwater