FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance serves as the marketing arm for economic development on behalf of the PEDC, the city and the county.
Its responsibilities also include running and managing a business incubator, Co:Lab, which is housed in downtown Pensacola in a building owned by Pensacola State College.
That is, FloridaWest is involved in “growing our own” in addition to recruiting businesses from afar.
Tenant entrepreneurs at Co:Lab pay a fee and typically stay for about three years. The lab employs a full-time director, part-time business coach and office manager.
Successful Co:Lab graduates include Dr. Sunil Gupta, who founded Intelligent Retinal
Imaging Systems (IRIS), an organization dedicated to eliminating preventable blindness through the early detection of vision-threatening pathologies including diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
“IRIS bought a building downtown and is a great, growing company,” Luth said, adding that Co:Lab has spawned companies that in total have accounted for $9.5 million in gross sales and created 38 jobs in the Pensacola metro area. Fifteen businesses in development are currently at Co:Lab.”
Read more at 850 Business Magazine.