Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Jacksonville, FL


Jacksonville, FL, is home to several well-known businesses and companies including Fidelity National Financial and Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville has also become known as a great place for new ventures, especially technology startups.

Jacksonville, FL, known by some as simply Jax, is the state’s most populous city and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. Home to several well-known businesses and companies including Fidelity National Financial and Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville has also become known as a great place for new ventures, especially technology startups. In fact, Time’s Money Magazine had the city listed as the eighth-best city for tech jobs in 2017.

As a whole, Jacksonville 48th on WalletHub’s 2018 list of the best large cities to start a business.  Additionally, Jacksonville was 28th on Business.org’s rankings of the best cities for entrepreneurs and start-ups, the top-ranked city in the state of Florida, while Florida as a whole was ranked as the second-best state for business by Chief Executive magazine.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Jacksonville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Building Bridges for Women in Business is a group dedicated to supporting women business owners and entrepreneurs by connecting them with the resources they need for growth.

Jacksonville Online Marketing Meetups are monthly meetings covering different aspects of digital and online marketing that many entrepreneurs may find helpful.

With meetings every Wednesday, PRO-NET Jacksonville is one of the most active professional networking groups in the Jacksonville area.

Another group dedicated to supporting women in business, R.E.A.C.H. holds networking events as well as educational and training seminars.

Held on the second Tuesday of every month, the Women’s Business Luncheon is a chance for women entrepreneurs to meet one another and share ideas and strategies.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

One Spark is an annual festival in which innovators and creators present to display their projects and can receive feedback, network with one another, and potentially find funding.

Held annually, the Tech Coast Conference is an event that celebrates innovation and technology both in the Jacksonville area and around the world.

The Teenpreneur Conference is an annual event held in Jacksonville celebrating and supporting teenage entrepreneurs.

Known as Wamit, the Women and Minorities in Technology Conference aims to help traditionally-underrepresented groups make connections and find success.


Startup Competitions:

Hosted during Flagler College’s Business Week, the Lion’s Cage competition is a startup competition based on the show Shark Tank.

Florida Venture Forum’s Statewide Business Plan Competition is open to college students from around the state of Florida.


Co-working Spaces:

Cowork Creative has a number of amenities and membership plans available with the goal of supporting photographers and creative entrepreneurs.

Kuna Co-Working offers several plans at varying price levels, including one for a drop-in appointment and the ability to request a quote for dedicated office space.

A locally-owned co-working space, LionShare Cowork offers over 11,000 square feet of co-working space, dedicated desks, and private offices.

Formerly known as Level Coworking, Novel’s Jacksonville co-working space is located in the historic Groover-Stewart Building.


Maker spaces:

Bolts & Bytes Academy is a maker space and academy that offers year-round classes to provide STEM education and opportunities to children.

The Jax Makerspace has a number of tools available for people to create whatever they want, using more traditional maker space tools and even instruments.

Scihouse is a pop-up maker space that aims to make their technology and science available to everyone by providing classes and the necessary tools.



Beaver Street Enterprise Center offers office space, training, and other resources to support both startups and already-established businesses in the Jacksonville area.

Organized by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Center supports businesses of all sizes, including start-ups.

The Jacksonville Women’s Business Center organizes a number of events, programs, and workshops to support women entrepreneurs and business owners.

Hosted at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville’s Small Business Development Center offers consulting and training to help support the area’s entrepreneurial environment.



Originally founded in 2011 with a focus on Northeast Florida, iStart Valley now works with startups from around the country.

In addition to providing early-stage capital, PS27 Ventures works with health tech, e-commerce, and software companies to grow them into major businesses.



Just down the road in St. Augustine, Flagler College offers some entrepreneurial resources outside of the classroom as well as a minor in honorable entrepreneurship.

Students at Florida State College at Jacksonville can earn a technical certificate in business entrepreneurship through an online program.

Jacksonville University offers an entrepreneurship minor or certificate program to all students, regardless of major.

UNF’s Coggin College of Business includes a minor program in entrepreneurship that aims to teach students the skills needed to succeed in entrepreneurship and business.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Headquartered in Boston, MA but with a location in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Dubin Clark is a private equity firm that works to help grow companies long-term.

In addition to providing venture capital to promising startups, PVB Capital also explores real estate investment opportunities as well as charitable donations.

Springboard Capital is a private equity firm in Jacksonville that invests in promising seed-stage and early-stage companies.

Located in Jacksonville Beach, Warren Equity Partners is a private equity firm that works with lower middle market companies from around North America.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Florida Trend, a magazine covering business and entrepreneurial news in the state of Florida, offers several online newsletters with a variety of focuses.

The Jacksonville Business Journal offers several newsletters that come out at different times of day and cover different topics.

The Jacksonville Daily Record, which covers business news in and around Jacksonville, offers those interested int he ability to have news stories e-mailed to them.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Fort Lauderdale not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

San Diego, CaliforniaAtlanta, GATampa, FL

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.