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The CEO of the Embarc Collective observer

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Maybe I shouldn’t say that entrepreneurial spirit came naturally to Lakshmi Shenoy, but it did.

Growing up, Shenoy was the kind of kid who would always come up with ideas and implement them. Issued a conservation newsletter to donors, whether they knew of it or not.

That was when she was 8 years old.

“That was kind of the beginning,” she says. “Building new ventures is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve also always been a pretty creative person.”

Shenoy is currently CEO of the Embark Collective, an innovation hub in Tampa. In her position, she helps entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses, ensuring they have the training and support they need to raise capital and thrive. This is while learning the skills necessary to optimize the company’s value and operate for the long term.

In the years since she came to Tampa, Shenoy’s role has expanded beyond Embarc’s doors and, in a way, she has become the voice and face of the city’s entrepreneurship, winning awards and the go-to topic She has also become a force for supporting women and addressing conservation issues.

“One of the things that really matters to me is to support other women and create as many opportunities as possible for women, especially women who make a difference in their communities, countries and the world,” she said. say. .

Shenoy said the nonprofit operates out of a 32,000-square-foot center in the city and was founded to foster innovation and help develop future business leaders. Each entrepreneur working with Embarc has access to an individual account his manager as well as a coach designed to provide individualized support. Embarc currently has 125 companies.

Tasked with overseeing all aspects of the organization and spending a significant amount of time on external causes, Shenoy manages to spend 20% of his week working directly with startups.

She is doing this because she wants to help startups solve problems and overcome barriers they may have. Her philosophy is to ask questions, not give founders answers.

Embarc doesn’t have an equity stake in any of the businesses it’s affiliated with, so its job is to help entrepreneurs think through their challenges and create the right frameworks to solve them themselves. she says.

“Starting a business is incredibly difficult. It’s incredibly lonely. And if you try to do it alone and in a silo, you’re not prepared for success. That’s the key to startup success.”

Embark was launched in 2019 under the leadership of Sinoy. She moved to Tampa from Chicago for her job after being hired by her Lightning owner Jeff Vinick in Tampa Bay. As of August 1, her Embarc business, which includes Ideal Agent, BlockSpaces and TrustLayer, has raised $173.8 million in capital.

Shenoy came to Tampa after building a brand early in her career and working on “the visual and copywriting aspects of building a new entity.”

Early in her career also included a job at legendary Chicago advertising agency Leo Burnett. But she was too impatient with her advertising. She wanted to keep pushing forward to find opportunities. She considered getting her master’s degree in fine arts, but instead she went to Harvard Business School and got her MBA.

That started her progress and eventually led her into the world of innovation and startups.

Her MBA studies began in 2008, just as the economy began to collapse and the world plunged into recession.

Witnessing the instability of the world, especially the financial services sector, which many of my classes wanted to go to, has led to a “collective perception” that even a Harvard degree is “not necessarily a sure thing.” rice field.

“You got this entrepreneurial bug. It felt like everyone had a grip. It was the right type of virus to get,” Shenoy said. “So that was it.

In 2014, he joined Chicago’s innovation hub, 1871, as Director of Business Development. Her role and other roles of hers have earned her name in front of change her makers like Vinik. Since she arrived in Tampa, Shenoy’s has helped her build her Embarc from the ground up, create a brand, and design a $10 million hub for her space. This work in founding her non-profit organization has given her a first-hand understanding of what entrepreneurs face, allowing her to share her successes and failures as she brainstorms ideas. I can.

She learns from them as she continues to grow Embarc.

“I think that’s the beauty of the community that we have. can you