More than a dozen Northeast Florida companies with dreams of
becoming the next corporate giant will get the chance this week
to pitch their plans to people with their own dreams of buying
into a hot new company.
It's all part of the 1997 North Florida Venture Capital Forum,
an annual gathering designed to showcase regional firms,
particularly high-technology companies, with high growth
Venture capital is the term used to describe the investment
funds that focus on start-up enterprises. By buying a share in
an emerging company, these investors hope to make a killing if
these new businesses take off and go public.
If the enterprise fails, however, the venture capitalist is
left with nothing.
The head of Enterprise North Florida, one of the hosts of the
meeting taking place at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel tomorrow and
Thursday, says the event fits closely with his non-profit
economic development agency's efforts.
"Jacksonville is not noted as a Silicon Valley area," said Alan
Rossiter, the non-profit's president and chief executive
Economic development on the First Coast has concentrated on
providing marketing assistance, aiding firms in selling their
products overseas and recruiting well-established companies to
relocate to North Florida, he said.
Recruitment in Jacksonville often has involved the use of
Rossiter wants this to change.
"We intend and expect to balance what has been the traditional
focus of Jacksonville," he said.
Fast-growing high-technology companies provide the kind of jobs
needed to secure a vibrant economic base in the 21st century, he
At a series of forums to be held on Thursday, 14 companies from
North Florida will present the details of their businesses to
representatives of more than a dozen venture-capital firms.
Jacksonville Jaguars majority owner J. Wayne Weaver is
scheduled to be the speaker at the forum's luncheon on Thursday.
In addition to the presentations, the forum also will feature
35 exhibition booths and a series of four one-hour seminars
geared to offering early-stage entrepreneurs insight into what
they need to know in order to get their business off the ground. …