Pasco County's Economic Development Council and its SMARTstart Program, which supports entrepreneurs and start-ups, opened a new center in Holiday, the EDC says in a Monday news release.
The West Pasco Entrepreneur Center is co-located within the new AmSkills Innovation Center, EDC officials say.
SMARTstart incubator members can now use the center's features, including dedicated desks, coworking spaces, ideation stations, a soundproof single-person pod for privacy, and a collaboration lounge for classes and workshops, according to the Pasco EDC.
The Holiday center is one of three entrepreneur centers, along with ones in Wesley Chapel and Dade City. Incubator members have access to all three locations through one membership, Pasco EDC officials say.
Pasco EDC officials say the entrepreneur centers all focus on the same five pillars: education, workspace, collaboration, funding, and guidance. Each center has business incubator assets including a commercial kitchen, digital media studio, private office space and maker space.
The program was established in 2012 with seed funding from the Florida High Tech Corridor. The program was created to provide low-cost workspace, educational resources, guidance, funding and a collaborative environment for area entrepreneurs, Pasco EDC officials say. In 2011, a "microloan fund" was established to provide low-interest loans to businesses who were not considered bankable by standard financial institutions.
In related news, Pasco EDC says that Don Anderson joined the team as the SMARTstart program coordinator, and he will be working out of the new center.
Anderson holds a bachelor's degree in business, with a concentration in finance, and an MBA from Duquesne University.
"I have worked with numerous nonprofits and for-profit companies throughout my career, and I look forward to working closely with the SMARTstart entrepreneur community," says Anderson. "This program has grown tremendously over the last decade, and I am thrilled to now be a part of the team."
SMARTstart will be hosting an open house of the new facility from 2-6 p.m. Sept. 27.