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Accelerating Central Florida social entrepreneurship

Most Brevard County residents understand the importance of both tourism and Orlando to our region. When people in the city an hour to our west talk about broadening their economic base, we know it will affect us as well.

We read recently an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel by Rob Panepinto, chairman of the board of the Central Florida Foundation and the Central Florida Social Enterprise Accelerator. He and the organizations hope to help nonprofit and for-profit start-ups thrive. The goal is to bring "positive social change fueled by creative, profitable and sustainable economic ventures."

In addition to improving society at large, they hope to diversify the area's tourism-focused economy, help people acquire higher-wage skills and enable "historically disadvantaged populations (to move) up the economic ladder."

Panepinto believes their Central Florida Social Enterprise Accelerator is "a revolutionary grassroots approach" that will take on social, economic and environmental issues with a public-private collaboration. He envisions entrepreneurs and activists coming together to "secure the connections, resources and funding to launch game-changing ideas."

There are obviously many challenges ahead for those involved. They want to help foster the creation of sustainable, creative, positive commercial and nonprofit ventures by having 6 to 8 Accelerator teams compete for a cash prize (minimum $25,000) and assistance from mentors, marketing professionals, accountants and others.

It will be interesting to see if the Accelerator spurs the growth of social entrepreneurship in the region.

Those who are ready to make their nonprofit or for-profit venture dreams come true can speak with an experienced Brevard County business law attorney about business formation and related matters.

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