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Retail giant seeks to aid aspiring entrepreneurs

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  • | 1:59 a.m. December 11, 2017
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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ST. PETERSBURG — In January, HSN and the University of Tampa's John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, part of the Sykes College of Business, will hold a second American Dreams Academy — an interactive, educational and hands-on two-day experience for emerging entrepreneurs.

Randi Zuckerberg — an entrepreneur, investor, best-selling author and founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, as well as sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg — will lead an opening conversation at the event.

“We believe in the powerful role small businesses play in building communities and local economies,” states Jill Kermes, HSN's head of corporate affairs, in a press release.

“Through our academies, we are helping support innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs by giving them the tools and training they need to take a great idea and bring it to life. Based on the feedback from our first academy, we know there is a real need for practical, hands-on instruction that helps entrepreneurs bring a product to market and ultimately build a great business around it.”

The scholarship-based academy will take place in Tampa Jan. 24-25. It will include an optional opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their product to a panel of expert judges Jan. 26.

The first American Dreams Academy was held in Washington, D.C., in November and attracted a capacity crowd of nearly 150 entrepreneurs.

“To design this curriculum, we combined our experience as both entrepreneurs and educators to create a skills-based program that will provide participants with the opportunity to enhance their odds of success in the marketplace,” states Rebecca White, professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, in the release.

Applicants must have a product or business concept in development or established in order to participate. Enrollment closes Dec. 30.


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