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- by  Sharon Hillstrom
26 West Center makes strides as hub of entrepreneurial ecosystem

Cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Bradenton area is a key component of our strategic plan at the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC). Over the past several years, we have supported multiple efforts in the county and region to support the needs of startup businesses.

Today, I’m pleased to report that the 26 West Center at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota is emerging as a hub for our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Here are some recent highlights from the 26 West Center, which opened last September. Keep in mind that many of the services and facilities are available to budding entrepreneurs, whether or not they are SCF students.

The Business Growth Lab, which is designed to incubate new businesses, continues to grow with the addition of another new resident, Soluency, a website hosting company.

Entrepreneurship Academy classes and workshops continue to enroll participants. The 10-week Entrepreneurship Essentials course is the cornerstone. Other popular classes include How to Build a Website, Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs, and Raising Capital and Working with Investors.

The 26 West Center’s partnership with New College of Florida (NCF) launched in February. The program is a cohort-based experiential learning program for New College students. In addition to experience-based curriculum in entrepreneurship provided by 26 West, New College students have access to the center’s facilities and student incubator, and they can participate in SCF Entrepreneurship Club meetings and events. This pilot program will run for two semesters with the goal to expand to more New College students, as well as other schools in the region.

Read more here.