SPARE CHANGE: Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center helps fuel dreams of ‘disruption’

July 04–It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur in Flagler County.

With business confidence on the rise and a growing economy, more and more people are taking advantage of resources for small-business owners, including the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center.

Michael Zaharios, director of the entrepreneur center, said he has seen an increase in the number of Flagler County entrepreneurs that want to have a presence on the VEC website. And that is part of a growing acceptance and recognition of the role entrepreneurs play in the economic life of a community.

“When I started this effort and used the word ‘entrepreneur’ people didn’t know what I was talking about,” he said. “Today, no matter where I am in Florida, every community, large and small, is focused on supporting entrepreneurs in some form or fashion.”

That support not only offers entrepreneurs a chance to succeed, it helps build the foundation for a strong local economy.

“Everybody wants to support entrepreneurs,” Zaharios said. “It is one of the top things communities are focused on.”

There was a surge in entrepreneurial activity in the aftermath of the Great Recession, when job losses left many residents out of work. But the impetus for starting a business goes beyond simple economics.

Finding or creating a niche for a new technology or finding a way to repurpose an existing business is at the heart of the “disruption” that entrepreneurs talk about. But that disruption doesn’t have to be an industry-shaking concept or a technical leap forward. Local entrepreneurs can offer new ways of doing old things in a community and create an economic synergy that attracts other small-business owners and creates an economic critical mass that can fuel a community.

Zaharios said entrepreneurship offers people the chance to strike out on their own, be their own boss and create something new and different and turn it into a career.

“Take that skill, take that hobby, take that passion and dream that you have and turn it into entrepreneurship,” he said.

It is that idea of freedom and sense of endless possibilities that fuels most entrepreneurs and creates the conditions for a thriving business community.

“I think the environment and climate in Florida is right for entrepreneurship,” Zaharios said. “In my opinion, there has never been a better time in the last 11 years that I’ve been in this business to create more entrepreneurship in Florida.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.