eMonth 2016 Celebrates Local Talent & Innovation

Tallahassee spotlights its startup ecosystem.

Bookending the final day of eMonth 2016 were two startup-oriented events featuring pitches from local entrepreneurs. First up was the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce’s forum on entrepreneurship and innovation in the capital city. Presented by Sachs Media Group, the Tallahassee Office of Economic Vitality, and the Chamber of Commerce, the forum featured networking time for entrepreneurs and businesses, speakers from Domi Station, and pitches from three startups in Domi’s Get Started incubator program.

The forum’s emcee, Sue Dick, presented the Chamber’s mission of growing business, advocating for business, and driving value to its members. After her brief remarks, she introduced Lucas Lindsey, Executive Director at Domi Station.

Lindsey, known all around town as a thought leader in urban development, startup support, and community building, took the stage to comment on Tallahassee’s positioning and growth as a Startup Capital. He opened by recounting the story of Municipal Code Corporation (now Municode), one of the first technology companies ever to make a home in Tallahassee and one that has been innovating and expanding since opening its doors in 1970.

He spoke about how Municode, like UberOps, another Tallahassee innovator, had to make a difficult, and some would say risky, decision to open up shop in the city. In the past, Tallahassee has been referred to as a government town, without the right climate for entrepreneurship, industry, and innovation. That fact, by the look of the vibrant and diverse crowd attending the 7 A.M. forum on entrepreneurship, is changing.

Lindsey then offered four self-evident truths for Tallahassee business leaders to consider.

  1. When you build a business, you build a community.
  2. Entrepreneurs and community-builders are driven by constructive discontent.
  3. Innovation is not about simply having new ideas; it’s about embracing them.
  4. Access to people means more than access to information.

These four pillars of startup community should be taken to heart by anyone who considers themselves a part of Tallahassee’s growing startup ecosystem. It’s on all of us to support, encourage, and advocate for this burgeoning community of entrepreneurs and innovators.

Almost twelve hours later, many of the same faces appeared at The Gathering for Mayor Andrew Gillum’s inaugural Tallahassee Innovation Partnership (TIP) event, “Pitch Night. This event was not only a great followup to the morning’s forum, but another indicator of the growing interest in startups and technology in the capital region.

The TIP promises to be a vital civic connector, making sure that our community knows about the incredible drive and innovation stemming from places like Domi Station, CoLab at The Pod, and Innovation Park.

“Tallahassee has already begun to define itself as a capital of innovation,” said Gillum. “We’re already the smartest city in the state of Florida, with one out of every two citizens holding at least a bachelor’s degree. What we want to communicate to the brilliant minds that are coming into this community is that they don’t have to be on the first flight out of here when they walk across that stage and get their degrees.”

Mayor Gillum has been a huge supporter of the startup community in Tallahassee, and this new partnership shows his commitment to growing and diversifying its economy.

Hopefully, this program and others like it will address some of the connectivity issues in this economy that lead to things like difficulty finding investors, “brain drain,” and lack of local awareness about startups and innovation…

Here’s to another great year for Tallahassee startups. Let’s work to make eMonth 2017 even bigger and better.