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Pensacola Entrepreneur Initiative Studies Our Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

by FloridaWest News




Northwest Florida has many great components to start and grow small businesses that includes things like courses, training and development, annual events, shared work space, incubators and drop-in entrepreneurial centers.

Now, the Studer Family of Companies will look at how the community can take Pensacola’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to the next level.

The Pensacola Entrepreneur Initiative (PEI) plans to bring more structure and galvanize Pensacola’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to not only make it work more efficiently for local entrepreneurs, but it creates a system that operates well enough to attract outside entrepreneurs into making Pensacola their small business home.

Starting June 15, Studer Family of Companies Chief of Staff D.C. Reeves, a Pensacola native and local small business owner,  has focused full-time on PEI, mapping and galvanizing this entrepreneurial ecosystem – its strengths, gaps and room for improvement – in the Pensacola community.

“We have a variety of organizations that assist people in entrepreneurship. We also have some gaps. We have come along way and that is now making it evident that we have maximize our progress to go even further,” said Quint Studer, the Founder of the Studer Community Institute and the Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of West Florida. “To do so, it became apparent we need to do an in-depth assessment for the resources for businesses in this area and create a structure to build a world class entrepreneurial ecosystem. In meeting with others in the community, it is evident we needed to find a person to lead this effort. To do so I have asked D.C. Reeves in his role with SFOC to focus on the Pensacola Entrepreneurial Initiative.”

Reeves, 35, opened his own business, Perfect Plain Brewing Company, in downtown Pensacola in 2017. PPBC has quickly emerged as one of the top microbreweries in Florida. Reeves is detailing his experience and processes and tips to his start in a book, The Microbrewery Handbook, published by Wiley & Sons Publishing, that will be released in November.

“As an entrepreneur in a community enjoying a renaissance, I know we have both incredible entrepreneurial minds in our city as well as plenty of room to improve the ecosystem for more minds – and businesses – to thrive,” he said. “It’s time we all get to the table together, bring all of these individual entrepreneurial assets together, find the gaps we have in our ecosystem and help create the ideal environment with our ecosystem partners to build up and attract even more entrepreneurial brilliance and activity to Pensacola.”

The first step will include benchmarking best practices in world-renowned entrepreneurial ecosystems nationwide. He has visited Asheville, N.C. and will head to Madison, Wisc. in August among other trips. Additionally, meetings and collaboration are needed with existing community entrepreneurial programs and organization leadership as well as a host of local small business owners to gather their thoughts on what is working well, what’s missing and what needs improvement.