Editor's notebook: UT's Spartan Incubator puts up numbers, measures results

Editor's notebook: UT's Spartan Incubator puts up numbers, measures results

The University of Tampa's programs for entrepreneurship and home-made companies were showcased at the New Venture Expo in April.

The expo featured 53 tables, 14 of which were community-led incubators, and the rest comprised students -- 20 student-led accelerators, as well as 20 entrepreneurship students presenting projects.

Joy Randels is the entrepreneur-in-residence at UT Spartan Incubator Program. She said, "Overall, I am pretty satisfied with those that are profitable and making money." "We have one which is not profitable because it's on a longer cycle but it has come along a long way."

The incubator is a good example of how UT strives to reach out and build a business community. Randels said that the incubator is unique because of the resources it offers to its cohort companies. The companies have access to UT Professors who are experts in finance, cybersecurity and other areas.

Randels stated that "Except one professor, all [business] faculty at UT are entrepreneurs who have built businesses and teach this."

Focusing on entrepreneurship is the approach to be taken across the UT Campus.

You don't need to be a student of business. No, you don't need to be a student in the College of Business. You can participate in our incubator or accelerator program," said Dean Koutroumanis. He is UT Lowth Center's professor of management and entrepreneurship, a "living learning" laboratory of 26,000 square feet.

Koutroumanis stated that "we've had students from the accelerator program who are nursing students, English students and art students. They have come up with ideas and pitched them and then became part of the accelerator program."

Speakers and workshops have been held on topics ranging from venture capital to sales.

Randels: "I brought in 60 people from my network, and not only those who live in Tampa, to be speakers or mentors."

The focus of the workshop is what can be learned by incubator companies about scaling up.

Spartan incubator firms by the numbers

  • Companies have added an additional 31 team members

  • 90% of companies have doubled their client base

  • 80% of companies increased their revenues by at least 150%, and four businesses have quadrupled revenue

Profitable 50% of the time

  • Companies raised more than $3.4 million in the current cohort program

  • One company has raised more than $100,000 by participating in pitch competitions