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BRIDGE Angel Investors and USF Sarasota-Manatee to host ‘Wealth Creation for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: November 08, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Nov. 08, 2018) – Sarasota-based BRIDGE Angel Investors, in conjunction with the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, will host “Wealth Creation for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” on Friday, Nov. 16, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Please visit to register.

“Wealth Creation for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” is designed to provide an overview of angel investing and to explain how it can benefit the Sarasota-Manatee region through effective collaboration among the “ecosystem” of entrepreneurs, investors, universities, businesses and regional development organizations.

Comprised of a network of more than 40 private individuals, BRIDGE Angel Investors funds and mentors emerging startups locally and throughout Florida. BRIDGE is bullish not only about the region’s investment landscape but also about its potential. “The creation of new wealth through angel investing has shown a strong correlation with an area’s wealth,” BRIDGE Executive Director Wendi Chapman said. “Our region enjoys a higher per capita net worth. Coupling that with world-class universities, entrepreneurs seeking capital and a business-friendly climate brings innovation to the market, creates jobs and yields a positive return for the entire ecosystem.”

BRIDGE Angel Investors and USF Sarasota-Manatee to host ‘Wealth Creation for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’

Karen Rands

The keynote will be presented by Karen Rands, a leading angel investing expert. Rands is author of “Inside Secrets to Angel Investing” and is founder and CEO of the National Network of Angel Investors. She will provide a high-level explanation of angel investing and further the understanding of how it can be the catalyst for economic growth and community sustainability.

USF Sarasota-Manatee shares an ongoing interest in creating and enhancing mutually-beneficial partnerships with businesses in the region by leveraging the university’s resources and innovation expertise. The university recently appointed Dr. Greg Smogard to the role of Innovation and Business Development Officer to lead those efforts.

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Dr. Karen Holbrook

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook, who previously served as the University of South Florida’s Senior Vice President for Innovation, Research and Global Affairs, said, “Working with BRIDGE, along with the local chambers of commerce and economic development corporations, gives us a better conduit to commercialize innovative research and help our business partners in the Sarasota-Manatee community grow and thrive.”

According to Chapman, “Wealth Creation for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” highlights the best-kept secret in the Sarasota-Manatee region: the potential for growth through emerging startups. recently ranked the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area as the No. 1 city for young entrepreneurs starting a business. A local angel investing fund such as BRIDGE enables in-person mentoring with senior executives and experienced investors, often the key to a startup’s success.

Panel members Valerie McDevitt, associate vice president for USF’s Tech Transfer and Business Development; Alan Johnson, a long-time angel investor and BRIDGE member; and Tim Hearon, local entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Sarasota-based ReWired Solutions, will discuss the impact of angel investing specifically for Sarasota-Manatee. ReWired Solutions was BRIDGE’s first investment, funding the company in a $1 million deal, and is an example of the benefits of working with a local angel group.

“Wealth Creation for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” is presented by SunTrust Private Wealth and supported by event sponsors Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation; the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County; Kerkering, Barberio & Co.; Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance; and USF Connect.

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