State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) has named Matthew Harper as the College’s Director of Incubator/Accelerator for its Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation. Harper will spearhead the Incubator/Accelerator’s day-to-day operations, including recruiting business tenants, facilitating tenant relationships and creating networking opportunities to foster business growth. The Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation located on SCF’s Bradenton campus will open early 2021.
“The experience, energy and genuine passion Matthew Harper brings to the Incubator/Accelerator director role will allow this new initiative to launch successfully, support innovation and help entrepreneurs achieve rapid growth,” said SCF Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Todd G. Fritch.
Harper has spent the last six years advising and mentoring entrepreneurs. He was the founding director of a veteran business incubator in San Diego and worked with a range of businesses, including turnarounds, venture startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and nonprofits. Companies he has worked with, including Vigilance Risk Solutions, Family Proud, Trident Coffee, Drone Quote and SkillMill, have raised over $2.5 million in debt and equity.
“I am excited for the opportunity to launch the new Incubator/Accelerator at SCF to help local and regional entrepreneurs create viable businesses and facilitate growth for early stage start-ups,” said Harper. “Integrating the support and services of the larger college and Suncoast community, including faculty, and staff and local entrepreneur expertise, and ready access to a quality workforce of students and alumni makes this a unique opportunity.”
Harper is a retired U.S. Navy surface warfare officer and a native of San Francisco, California. He sits on the board of advisors for the Veteran Business Project and served on the board of Kids’ Turn San Diego, a nonprofit organization providing education and support to children of separated and divorced parents. In addition to speaking engagements on the topics of leadership and management, crisis leadership, entrepreneurship and veterans’ issues, Harper was recently featured on the popular project management podcast “Manage This.”
The Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation is being partially funded by a $3.6 million job growth grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. In addition to the Incubator/Accelerator, the new facility will host a coding technology academy, a creative studio for audio, video and augmented reality, and SCF’s University Partnership Center.
Businesses, investors and prospective entrepreneurs interested in learning about what SCF’s Incubator/Accelerator has to offer can reach Harper at HarperM@SCF.edu or 941-752-5449.
For more information about SCF’s Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation, contact Jamie M. Smith, director of communications and marketing at SmithJ4@SCF.edu or 941-752-5587.