Special to the Democrat by Jay Revell, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Vice President
Tallahassee has a long history of entrepreneurship. That history has led to an emerging and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem today. In a talk to the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce that covered the past, present, and future of entrepreneurship in Tallahassee, Lucas Lindsey told the stories of those who are making entrepreneurship work so well in the capital city. Lindsey is the Executive Director of Domi Station, the home for entrepreneurial start-ups in Leon County. In its third year of programming, Domi is a unique partnership between private funders, Leon County Government and local higher education institutions.
Lindsey was the keynote speaker at an Entrepreneurship Forum produced by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. The event, sponsored by Sachs Media Group and the new Tallahassee/Leon County Office of Economic Vitality, was part of the ongoing Entrepreneur Month. E-Month, as it is called by the OEV staff and partners, has featured a month-long calendar of events focused on entrepreneurship in November. The Chamber event was held at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center and had a crowd of over 100 local business leaders in attendance.
During Lindsey’s talk, he featured three unique stories of entrepreneurship in Tallahassee. Speaking of the past, Lindsey told the story of George Langford and his early days of launching Municipal Code Corporation in Tallahassee. Lindsey said that the MCC team describes themselves today as a “65 year old start up” that chose to make a home in Tallahassee while having a global business footprint.
Lindsey featured local technology company Uber Ops as an example of the present state of entrepreneurs. Uber Ops founder Edward Gonzalez Loumiet faced pressure to move his growing company to the technology hub of Austin Texas, but he made a choice to stay in Tallahassee and help build a stronger technology base here. Today, his company reaches across the country, but Tallahassee is still home base.
Lindsey also pointed to the future of entrepreneurship when he told the story of Jasmine Anderson. Anderson is the founder and owner of Distressed by Jas, a company that sells custom made distressed jeans. She is the winner of the recent Downtown Retail Incubator competition hosted by Tallahassee Community College and the Downtown Improvement Authority. As the winner, she will receive a free lease for her retail space in the TCC Capital Center. Lindsey notes that efforts like this are bringing more entrepreneurs to the forefront in Tallahassee.