The Equity in Entrepreneurship program is one of the most interesting and promising projects yet developed at AMRoC Fab Lab, and it wouldn’t be possible without the vision and foresight of AMRoC Fab Lab Program Partner, Josh Ray of Grow to Greatness Ventures.  In our continuing highlights of mentors and students, we’re happy to shine the spotlight on Josh here, who tells his story below.

The Equity in Entrepreneurship program is important to me because it stands on the principles of Equity in Opportunity – that each person has the access and ability to seek and accept opportunities for themselves to better themselves, their lives, and families.

I, personally, have always had a diverse friend group. I grew up doing a lot of Team activities and understand the value of teams and working together to achieve a common goal. Empathy and Compassion are not expressed enough when dealing with others. I’ve always appreciated the thoughts and ideas of others, learning from them, about them and establishing an understanding. My passion is in working with people and ideas that encompass their identity (passions), and how they believe these ideas can improve the lives of others.

Independent thought and Individuality are very important to me and I believe Equity in Entrepreneurship is the education of the future, it offers Opportunity, Intellectual Choice, Self-Education, Personal Growth, Financial Literacy, and How to Communicate your Message Clearly.

The Grow to Greatness Startup Studio is a place to build these foundations, gather data, test assumptions, pivot, receive coaching, and work alongside the AMRoC Fab Lab in building awesome prototypes and MVPs.

I was first introduced to the Entrepreneurial Support Organizations during my Entrepreneurship Program in 2015 in Madrid Spain.  Mixed in with a Co-working space called Wayra, it inspired my entrepreneurial journey to pivot to a “Parallel Entrepreneurship Approach,” but staying away from “Consulting.”  After piles of research and discovery, I learned about the various entrepreneurial support business models:  Business Incubator, Seed Accelerator, Startup Studio, Venture Building.  After traveling and seeing various organization operate, I knew my area of passion was in early-stage startups and a startup studio model taking raw ideas and creating solutions to problems.

Josh meeting with Equity in Entrepreneurship student, Ricky Pride, working on his food truck concept.

Deploying this program in the Uptown Area of Tampa is dear to me. As a teenager, I would come to the University area for leisure and shopping. From Busch Gardens to MOSI, and studying for six years at USF. I spent a lot of time in the area. I have joy and admiration for the University of South Florida and am thrilled to be able to serve alongside them in the Uptown District. Being a part of the transformation and rising up of this community is exciting. The core competency of Equity in Entrepreneurship is creating opportunities for those unlikely and underrepresented entrepreneurs.

The final component of this Equity in Entrepreneurship experience is establishing a self-sufficient ecosystem of entrepreneurial resources to help and support early-stage entrepreneurs advance their startups and accomplish goals, see progress, and believe they can succeed. The ecosystem would be equipped with an “Innovation Council” that works in tandem to create self-sufficiency and prosperity.

We’re grateful to Josh for bringing his Equity in Entrepreneurship idea to AMRoC Fab Lab, since it fits perfectly with our mission to build community capacity by broadening access to skills and resources for personal empowerment and success.

The Equity in Entrepreneurship program is a collaborative effort of AMRoC Fab Lab, Grow to Greatness Ventures and the Small Business Development Center.