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City certified as a top launchpad for business

Tampa is highly rated in a list of 'surge cities' — the best U.S. metro areas in which to start a business.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. February 1, 2019
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Aided by Startup Genome, a consulting firm that studies entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide, Inc. magazine has published its list of “Surge Cities” — the top 50 U.S. metro areas for starting a business.

The usual suspects populate the Top 10: Austin, Texas; Denver; Raleigh, N.C.; and the Silicon Valley twin cities of San Jose and San Francisco. No. 9 is Orlando, followed by Miami at No. 13 and Jacksonville at No. 14.

But not much farther down the list, at No. 24, is Tampa. Inc., in its blurb about the nation’s other Bay Area, heaped praise on Tampa for the city’s large number of high-growth companies and the Tampa Bay Wave business accelerator. The magazine also cited Jeff Vinik’s ongoing efforts to spur entrepreneurship and investment via ventures like Embarc Collective, an innovation hub that opens in March, and, of course, the $3 billion Water Street Tampa mixed-use development that will reshape the city’s downtown in coming years.

Tampa rates near the top of two key criteria Inc. and Startup Genome evaluated when compiling the list: population growth and job creation. However, it lags the pack in early-stage funding deals and is average, at best, in terms of wage growth and net business creation.

More big news: Inc. says the Synapse Summit for tech entrepreneurs and startups, which just wrapped up its second annual event at Tampa's Amalie Arena, has the makings of a southeast version of SxSW, the wildly successful festival that has helped propel Austin to No. 1 on the list of “Surge Cities.”


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