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April 25, 2015

South Fla. EDC Aids Startups

Mike Vogel | 8/1/2009
Navroze Mehta

Entrepreneur Navroze Mehta launched Dermdex/Skinstore, a technology platform company for the skin-care profession, in Boca Raton. He grew it with the help of the Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida. After he sold Dermdex, Mehta returned to the EDC to start sight-restoration company NovaVision in 2003 at an EDC-run incubator. “I believe in being in an ecosystem where there are other entrepreneurs,” Mehta says.

His particular ecosystem marks its 15th anniversary this year and counts Mehta’s companies among the 3,800 it has helped along the way. In all, the EDC has assisted in creating 3,000 direct jobs and in helping companies raise $125 million, says Executive Director Jane Teague.

Jane Teague
Executive Director Jane Teague says Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida has helped 3,800 companies raise $125 million through the years.? [Photo: Scott Wiseman]
The south Florida EDC was one of six created by the state in 1994 to promote technology development around Florida. It’s the last one standing. After the Legislature cut funding in 2000, EDCs in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Gainesville and Tampa merged into other organizations or closed.

A major focus of the EDC is the incubator it has managed since 2000 at the research park adjacent to Florida Atlantic University. The incubator serves 19 companies developing a commercial product or just going to market with one. “They’re typically engineers or scientists who’ve never run a business,” says Teague, who came to Florida to work for a technology marketing and PR firm and has been executive director for seven years.

The south Florida EDC gets its nearly $500,000 annual budget from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties — not Broward — and through corporate sponsorships, a life sciences conference each spring, an emerging technology conference each fall and through fee-generating support work for investing group New World Angels and the state’s Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, an office formed to make money from state universities’ research.

“Jane just does a very masterful job,” says Mehta. “It’s a great gathering place for entrepreneurial companies.”

Tags: Florida Small Business, Southeast, Education, Entrepreneur

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