Who's who - a guide

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It can be a little daunting to figure out who is who and who is doing what and why. This post will hopefully explain it.

The recent emphasis on entrepreneurship began as an outgrowth of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) that has now been re-branded as Co:Lab. The CIE began an informal monthly meeting of organizations that provided services to entrepreneurs, this group is named EEG (aka Entrepreneurial Enthusiast Group). Gulf Power and FloridaWest EDA sponsored this group to work on identifying other organizations in the Gulf Coast Entrepreneurial Ecosysystem and to make that information available on the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship website. Subsequently, this information has taken the form of a map and pathway that you can download.

Around the same time, the Florida State Legislature was forming the Triumph Gulf Coast Board to solicit requests for funding transformational projects along the 8 disproportionately affected gulf coast counties impacted by the BP Oil Spill.

In preparation for this anticipated funding, the regional economic development organization, Florida’s Great Northwest sponsored a strategic planning project that resulted in the plan titled Northwest Florida Forward. (NWFF) The NWFF plan identified five focus areas of which one of those areas is the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (E&I Council).

The sponsors of this website (SmartCoast.us) have been actively engaged in these efforts from the beginning and created this website to advance a more expansive brand for the work of the E&I Council and the EEG that is aligned with the major technological trends such as cyber-security, artificial intelligence, big data, internet-of-things, community broadband along with the trends in community engagement and urban revitalization.

Nationally, these technological trends, entrepreneurship and innovation and community engagement are combining and being deployed in Smart Cities. It is very important that our gulf coast cities and towns embrace becoming Smart Cities by developing a clear vision of how these technologies can be utilized and work on defining projects to implement the vision. It is anticipated that many of these Smart City projects can be built as public-private partnerships (PPP) and qualify for Triumph funding.

We welcome your thoughts and comments, please post below.