March 12, 2018
Three Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida brews more than stouts, ales, IPAs, and cider. It’s also brewing a new generation of entrepreneurship.
At a recent symposium of Florida business and community leaders that was hosted by HSN and the University of Tampa, Three Daughters founder Mike Harting told the story of how his company helped spread the brewing love to a new generation of Floridians.
When he first got started, “everything we did was associated with connections and lifelong relationships and friendships,” he told his fellow leaders. “We grew our business from a very small group that we knew and grew up with, more or less in our city.”
But then Harting came to a sobering realization. As his business grew, there was not a very large workforce of potential employees and partners who were trained in the fine art of hops and barley. So he reached out to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and worked with the school to create a new Brewing Arts Program.
“It’s 60 or 80 students a year that now go through this program, so we’re building a base for future breweries,” Harting explained.
The Brewers Guild of Florida estimates that the day could soon come when the craft beer industry will produce an economic impact of as much as $2.5 billion in the State of Florida. By comparison, the industry contributed an estimated $301 million in 2012 and $432 million in 2013.
The Brewing Arts program will provide participants with the foundational knowledge and hands-on training for a successful career in the fast-growing industry of craft brewing. The program is designed for those who range from 1) hobbyists and enthusiasts looking to make their passion into a career to 2) those who wish to work in a brewery, to 3) those who may aspire to open a brewery one day.
Norm and Cliff would be proud. With so much opportunity created for small business owners, their employers and their customers, you might agree that a “cheers” is in order.
If you’re an up-and-coming or aspiring small business owner or an established one like Mike Harting, there are very real advantages to following his lead and reaching out to a local community college or four-year college or university. Local adult education centers, YMCAs, JCCs and community centers are other places that may be willing to offer classes and training in the competencies that matter to your business. And if there are no qualified instructors in your area, you might consider teaching a course yourself or pointing prospective employees to online training programs.
Harting was speaking at an American Dreams Symposium sponsored by HSN and the University of Tampa. The gathering brought together more than 30 lawmakers, academics, entrepreneurs and business and local leaders. The leaders discussed “Cultivating Small Business in the 21st Century.” Sponsored by Quirky, the event followed a similar conversation, that HSN and the University of Tampa held in Washington, D.C. this past November to coincide with National Entrepreneurs Month.
Following the symposium, nearly 100 entrepreneurs attended a two-day American Dreams Academy, an interactive, educational and experiential scholarship-supported summit for emerging entrepreneurs looking to launch or expand their businesses.
HSN and The University of Tampa are hosting similar academies on a quarterly basis across the United States. They consist of two full days of instructional, informational and educational programming designed to help entrepreneurs understand important lessons in the areas of manufacturing, legal, quality assurance, branding, marketing, pitching/presenting concepts, and social media. To be eligible, applicants must have a product or business concept either in development or already established.
Like the American Dreams Symposium, the academies are sponsored by Quirky, a free community-led invention platform that brings real people’s ideas to life.