Nurturing a Supportive Business Community Helps Drive Revitalization in St. Pete, Florida

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When financial data company Intrinio co-founders Rachel Carpenter and Joseph French were looking for a place to relocate their Chicago-based business in 2014, it didn’t take long for St. Petersburg, Florida to top the list.

Intrinio made the move to St. Pete shortly after, as a very early-stage startup. Since arriving, they have grown rapidly and are now at the forefront of the financial data technology space, with more than 20 employees supporting many customers from fintech companies, large institutions and hedge funds, among others.

Why Intrinio chose St. Pete

Carpenter, a Forbes 30 Under 30 pick, shared, “We needed three specific things: talent, affordable infrastructure and a network of investors. We found all three were maximized here in St. Pete and it has proven to offer so much more.”

“Additionally, rent for employees, office space and the cost of living are very affordable. There are tons of investors, well-established institutions and startups that allow companies like Intrinio to get the exposure they need to achieve funding,” she said.

“On top of it all, the business environment is overwhelmingly welcoming, helpful and supportive. The vibe is extremely inclusive and positive – something you won’t find in a larger, industrial city. It’s a very exciting time in St. Petersburg, and Intrinio is thrilled to be a part of it,” said Carpenter.

Why St. Pete was the right place for Green Bench Brewing Company

Craft brewery Green Bench Co-Owners Khris Johnson and Nathan Stonecipher also extol St. Pete’s business environment. Established in 2013, Green Bench was the first microbrewery in St. Pete and one of Florida’s first microbreweries. Now nicknamed the “Gulp Coast,” St. Pete has become one of the nation’s biggest craft brew magnets, and there are now over 35 local craft breweries in the area.

Stonecipher shared, “If you want to ask somebody a question, or get mentorship from a peer or from a business owner who’s doing something that you’re interested in, you can easily find it ... That’s a great thing about a community, and I think it’s somewhat rare to find. It’s really easy in St. Petersburg to get help and to get plugged in in the areas where you want to get plugged in.”

Stonecipher and Johnson have focused on strategic, deliberate growth over the life of their business, and it shows. They’re proud to have maintained an ongoing focus on quality control and consistently creating new exciting products – and rightfully so. Most recently they completed an expansion, a new temperature-controlled cellar that expands and highlights their barrel-aged beers and their ciders. With the expansion they also increased production volume, improved sustainability and efficiency and added a canning line so they can now control every aspect of the manufacturing process in house.

Stonecipher added, “We're most proud however with what our downtown space has become. It seems to be a true community gathering spot where all are welcome to enjoy time with friends and family. This was our goal from day one and it gives us joy each day to see our community use the space in this manner.”

Johnson takes pride in their role, “I think we’ve helped contribute to the revitalization of downtown and growth in the city.”

“I also wanted to have something more to do with this revitalization we were seeing in St. Petersburg,” Stonecipher agreed. “I wanted to be a part of this new era, this new thing that was happening here, it was really exciting.”

Driving revitalization by prioritizing the business community

St. Pete has helped drive that revitalization by making its business community a priority, introducing a number of initiatives to encourage and empower entrepreneurs and startups. The Greenhouse, a collaboration between the city and local Chamber of Commerce, provides entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups with business counseling, training, networking and access to capital. The Entrepreneur in Residence program, launched in 2019, is a two-year pilot program that positions a local entrepreneur as liaison between the local startup and entrepreneurial community and city government.

St. Pete's first entrepreneur in residence is Reuben Pressman, founder and CEO of Presence, an education technology platform used by more than 250 higher educational institutions to increase student engagement, graduation rates and workforce readiness. (Note: Presence was acquired by Modern Campus in June 2021.)

He shares, “I look at St. Pete as a city of opportunity. I think the diversity of the people we have here, the passion for the city and the opportunity that is here is contagious. You don’t see it in every city, and it’s something I had as we were building and growing here and it’s something that I very much wish to continue to encourage as others continue to grow here as well. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved to date and I’m excited for the future as we continue to add to this innovative and entrepreneurial community.”

St. Pete, way more than the No. 1 beach in America. For more information on the benefits of relocating to the Sunshine City, contact St. Pete EDC President and CEO J.P. DuBuque at jpdubuque@stpeteedc.com or visit stpeteedc.com.