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8 female entrepreneurs to compete in regional SBA InnovateHER Challenge

LocalShops1 Creator Ester Venouziou is partnering with the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce to offer eight Tampa Bay area female entrepreneurs the chance to compete for up to $70,000 in prizes during the Small Business Association InnovateHER Challenge. 

While all of the applications in the local round came from women entrepreneurs, the competition is open to both male and female business owners whose products and services focus on women and their families.

Finalists in the Pinellas County regional round of the InnovateHER Challenge include:“One of the goals of LocalShops1 is to put local businesses in the spotlight,” Venouziou says, and the SBA InnovateHER Challenge “gives us an excellent opportunity to do so on a national level. Tampa Bay has so many creative and talented entrepreneurs, so let's show them off to the rest of the world.”

The LocalShops1 round of the national SBA InnovateHER Challenge will take place from 5-8 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at Catherine Hickman Theatre, 5501 27th Ave S in Gulfport.

Following an opening reception hosted by Pinellas County businesses Three Birds Tavern, Out of the Weeds and Red Hot Tiki Market, finalists will participate in a live pitch competition moderated by Gulfport Chamber president Barry Rubin.

Isabel Laessig, Founder of Family Foodie, is keynote speaker for the event.

Laessig “turned a hobby -- cooking and blogging -- into not only a successful business, but a national movement encouraging families to eat together,” Venouziou says. 

The judges panel for the pitch competition includes Gallerie 909 Owner Carla Bristol; Diana M. Hechavarria, an entrepreneurship professor at the University South Florida; Marie Tomassi, a managing partner at Trenam Law; Rita Lowman, COO of C1 Bank; and Robin King, co-Owner of  Three Birds Tavern and Out of the Weeds.

Winners of regional rounds will be submitted to the SBA National headquarters for consideration in the live pitch final round on March 16 and 17, 2016, in Washington. DC, where selected finalists will compete for prizes from Microsoft that total $70,000.

Venouziou expects to see more than 100 local business owners, civic leaders and community members attend the regional round of the challenge. To register for the free event, click here

“We hope the contestants and all the entrepreneurs -- and entrepreneurs-to-be -- in the audience walk away inspired and with a better understanding of what they need to run a successful business,” Venouziou says. “And of course, we hope that our local winner will make it to the national round and win one of the cash prizes!”

Venouziou commends the city of Gulfport and the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as event sponsors and community partners, for supporting the event. St. Pete Chamber of Commerce, St Pete Greenhouse and SCORE will be on hand during the Dec. 2 competition to provide free resources available to local businesses.

Meanwhile in Tampa, The Centre for Women is working with the SBA as a partner agency to prepare Tampa entrepreneurs for the competition. Winners of the local round will receive $5,000 in cash or prizes furnished by sponsors and supporters of The Centre.

Radio show podcast program teaches Tampa teens digital entrepreneurship

Local Tampa Bay area teenagers have the chance to learn about digital radio programming and podcast creation during a seven-week class at the Hillel Academy in Carrollwood.

Tampa Bay-based non-profit Forward Thinking Initiatives (FTI), in partnership with Life Improvement Radio, is teaching local students who range from 5th through 12th grades how to start their own radio podcast program at the Teen Radio Show: The Digital Entrepreneur program.

Students are learning “everything they need to know to create their own podcast program, including how to create scripts for actual guest interviews, how to use the technology, understanding how to finance their own show, how to create ads and sponsors, and how to interview exciting guests,” says FTI founder Debra Campbell.

Campbell hopes to see students take the skills they learn in the Teen Radio Show program, which began in mid-September and runs through mid-November, and apply them to other interests. 

“When young people think about starting their own business, they typically don't think to begin with their own passions and interests,” she explains. “Although all of our programs are under the umbrella of entrepreneurship and innovation, we frequently theme the programs to appeal more to the young people we work with.”

During the seven week digital entrepreneurship workshop, students learn about:
  • Technology used to create podcasts
  • Conducting an interview
  • Developing and writing scripts for guest interviews
  • Financing a radio show
  • Creating ads and sponsors for the show
  • Interviewing live guests on the air
Podcast programs created by students in the classes will run on Life Improvement Radio.

“What I hope the students will gain from the experience is a ‘no fear approach’ to learning something totally new, or even a bit intimidating,” Campbell says. 

Parents might just learn something, too: “Last time we ran the program, many parents stayed for the classes as well,” Campbell explains. “We welcome parents! It fosters great dinner conversations at home.”  
The two-month-long program takes place weekly on Friday evenings at the Hillel Academy in Carrollwood neighborhood of Tampa. 

Students in the Teen Radio program are "gaining entrepreneurial skills such as budgeting, how to finance their programs and how to market them,” Campbell says, “but my hope is this will be the kind of learning kids gain when they get a new game that they want to learn how to play. They don't think about the learning, they just jump in.”

FTI aims to engage young students in after-school programs that focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and creative thinking. A recent FTI program hosted at the St. Petersburg Greenhouse taught students from local Artz4Life Academy about helicopter design and innovative thinking. FTI programs and partners such as the Greenhouse and the John F. Germany Library have earned accolades including the Kauffman Foundation Platinum Award and The Freedoms Foundation Leavey Award for Private Enterprise Education.


Caution: Flashing yellow left-turn arrows light up more Tampa Bay intersections

Florida motorists still getting used to flashing yellow left-turn signals, are seeing more of them at intersections throughout the Tampa Bay area. The signals have become increasingly common along major roadways, such as State Road 60 in Clearwater, Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa and State Road 54 in Pasco County. 

The flashing left-turn arrows started appearing across the United States several years ago and caught on quickly as innovative devices to improve traffic flow. The first one was installed locally at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Belcher Road in Palm Harbor in November 2009. 

“Since then, the use [of these signals] has been implemented at state and local intersections throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties,” says Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Kristen Carson. 

In some respects, the distinctive-looking, four-lens traffic signals generally function in much the same way as the more widely recognized three-lens traffic signals; a green arrow provides a protected left turn; a red arrow tells drivers to stop. It’s the blinking yellow arrows that sometimes confuse drivers.

The flashing yellow arrows (actually an amber color) indicates that motorists in the left-turn lane are permitted to cautiously make left turns, but they must yield to oncoming traffic. 

A solid yellow left-turn light signifies that a red light is about to illuminate and therefore motorists should prepare to stop if they have not yet proceeded into the intersection. 

The flashing yellow lights have been replacing a common five-lens traffic signal widely referred to as a “doghouse” signal. Doghouse signals, featuring a clustered arrangement of four lenses topped with a single red light, provide drivers with a green left-turn arrow for a short time; once the protected green left-turn light disappears on the doghouse signal, a solid, circular green light indicates motorists should yield to oncoming traffic before making left turns. 

“Research from the Federal Highway Administration found that the flashing yellow arrow made significant improvements to left-turn safety compared with the circular green signal,” Carson reports. 

There are currently about 90 intersections in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties with the flashing yellow left-turn signals. More are on the way.

“The department has received positive feedback from citizens with continued requests for locations, on a case-by-case basis, to be modified with the flashing yellow arrows installed.”

Startup Bros adds 7 tech, marketing jobs in Pinellas County

Does helping others achieve what they want in business sound like your dream job? Are the ideas of marketing, design and creating custom content to share with entrepreneurs around the world appealing to you? If so, StartupBros might be the right fit.

The Palm Harbor-based company, whose cheeky slogan is "You don't need a job," is hiring for several new full-time job roles in the Tampa Bay area. Most intriguing: an invitation to create your own position.

StartupBros is primarily a website that offers business resources for entrepreneurs, but for cofounders Kyle Eschenroeder and Will Mitchell, the rapidly growing company is anything but a "typical" business.

For one thing, Mitchell says, "you need to thrive in chaos."

A serial entrepreneur who launched multiple companies before creating StartupBros at the age of 22, Mitchell explains that chaos "is the DNA of a rapidly growing startup. This won't be for everybody, but for certain people, this is a dream. If you're attracted by our company and the way we do things, don't hesitate to apply."

StartupBros helps aspiring entrepreneurs create successful businesses through training programs, engaging client communities, and producing live events.

The company is currently hiring for a community manager, a content marketer, front-end designer, a "growth hacker" in marketing, an affiliate marketing manager; a web developer/engineer; and a video producer. 

Flexibility and a non-traditional work environment mean that while the positions are primarily in-house, telecommuting is possible for the right candidate.

And while programming, marketing and business positions are available, expect to wear many hats: “Nobody on our team is assigned a 'job' -- we work extremely hard to enable people to work on what they do best,” Mitchell says. 

As for that possibility to create your own position, it's all about being what Mitchell calls an "A-player."

“A-players can't be defined by a job role, and we don't want to force them in a box," Mitchell explains. "We want people who can create their own position and effectively grow that position and their 'chunk' of StartupBros.”

Not sure if you fit the criteria, but interested in applying? StartupBros rarely relies on resumes; instead, Mitchell suggests, "let's get to know each other and see if we're a perfect fit.”

Most importantly, the right candidates for the roles “need to be an extremely passionate and hard workers," Mitchell says. "We're looking for a core team to grow this company around - the DNA of our company."

At the rapidly growing startup, things move quickly -- but there is calm within the chaos. The company culture encourages a laid-back working environment, with no dress codes, set hours or even set schedules. StartupBros currently operates from a large home-office in Palm Harbor, with plans to expand to an office location by late 2015.

Along with cofounders Eschenroeder and Mitchell, the StartupBros team includes Kayleigh Devlin, Google Glass explorer Ashley Mooney, Steve Stalma and Laura Stromber. The team will head to destinations in China, Las Vegas and the Caribbean islands to execute various events in coming months.

To learn more about StartupBros or to apply, visit the company website.

Who's hiring in Tampa Bay? Media outlet, design business, marketing firm, and more

Did you know? 83 Degrees Media searches for growing companies to bring you exciting job opportunities in the Tampa Bay region. Here's who's hiring in the Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater area in July 2015:
Catalina Marketing

Full service advertising and marketing agency Catalina Marketing is hiring for a number of full-time positions in St. Petersburg, Florida, including:
Account Manager, Campaign; Account Manager, Content; Accountant; Accounts Payable Clerk; Accounts Payable Supervisor; Contract Specialist; Director of Business Process Innovation; Director, Data Science; Enterprise Solutions Architect; HR Service Center Representative; Senior Java Developer; Senior Project Manager, Technology; and Staff Attorney.

To learn more about job requirements or to apply for these positions, visit the Catalina Marketing website.

KAX Media

KAX Media is hiring an Accountant

Job responsibilities include: record, upload and reconcile all financial transactions into electronic database; maintain trial balances and ledgers; manage sales invoicing system, accounts receivable and accounts payable; file digital receipts; and more. 

The successful applicant will have at least two years of direct bookkeeping experience and advanced proficiency in accounting software programs as well as in Microsoft Excel. Position requires a bachelor’s degree or higher for consideration.

To learn more or apply, visit the KAX Media job listing on LinkedIn.


Tampa-based startup Laicos is hiring for two full-time roles: an Executive Administrative Assistant and a Senior iOS Developer.

The Executive Assistant will coordinate meetings and schedules, manage calendars, plan events, manage social media and more. Room for growth within the company. Preferred requirements for a successful applicant include a bachelor's degree and 2-3 years of executive support experience, preferably in a startup environment.

The Senior iOS Developer Senior iOS Engineer will manage a team of Full Stack Engineers, Architects, Project Managers, and interns, working under the leadership of the CTO. Requirements include a BS or MS in computer science; two or more years of experience in iOS development; four or more years of SDLC experience; expertise with Objective-C, Swift and Xcode; and more. 

To learn more about job requirements or to apply for these positions, visit the startup company's website.

MediaLab 3D Solutions 

Local graphic design company MediaLab 3D Solutions is hiring for three full-time jobs in Tampa Bay, including an Account Manager, an Animation Sales Professional and a 3D Artist / Motion Graphics Artist.

The Account Manager role will primarily be responsible for preparation and information collection for client projects, creating and negotiating proposals, managing projects, and ensuring client satisfaction. The successful applicant will also work with the Builder Sales team to help grow accounts through sales.

The Animation Sales Professional role includes selling Media Lab 3D and 2D imagery and animation services, contacting and securing new business accounts, and growing sales within an assigned territory or market segment. A successful applicant will have at least four years of experience in digital media sales, advertising sales or a related field, and a bachelor’s degree in business, communication, marketing or a related field. Knowledge of 3D / 2D animation, digital imagery, movie making and the visual effects industry preferred.

The 3D Artist / Motion Graphics Artist should have previous professional and team industry experience, be comfortable with industry standard 3D software, processes and techniques, and possess a knowledge of photo-real lighting, material application, optimized modeling, and texturing.

To learn more about job requirements or to apply for these positions, visit the company website.

Tampa Bay Times

The award-winning newspaper the Tampa Bay Times is hiring for multiple positions, including:

Business ReporterCity of Clearwater ReporterCourts ReporterEpilogue Feature WriterFeatures Page DesignerHealth and Medicine ReporterSports Editor; and Enterprise/Narrative Editor.

To learn more about job requirements or to apply for these positions, visit the Tampa Bay Times jobs website.
Tampa Hillsborough EDC

Tampa Hillsborough EDC, whose goal is to recruit high wage jobs and capital investment in Hillsborough County, is hiring a Market Research Analyst and an Associate Project Manager to work with the growing Business Recruitment and Business Retention and Expansion team. Both position require occasional travel. 

The Market Research Analyst is the EDC’s local market expert and primary resource for data collection and analysis; responsibilities will include researching and producing monthly economic indicators reports; making efforts to attract and retain jobs and capital; market research identification and data collection analysis; and more. A bachelor’s degree in Economics, Business, Statistics, Marketing or similar field and professional experience in managing research projects are required.

The Associate Project Manager, Business Development/Business Retention role will primarily provide professional support to the business recruitment team, working with the Director, Business Recruitment, and the Associate Project Manager. Duties will include providing responses to prospect inquiries; assisting in prospect site visits, sales, and trade shows; and assisting with project management and marketing as necessary. A bachelor’s degree in Business, Economic Development, Public Administration or a related field is required.

To learn more about the roles or apply, click here to send an e-mail including a resume and cover letter.

Employers, if you have a career opportunity you would like to promote, please email the 83 Degrees Innovation & Job News editor with "Hiring" in the subject line. Reach out over on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Ad agencies hiring in Tampa? ChappellRoberts, Dunn&Co., SPARK and more

Award-winning Tampa advertising agency ChappellRoberts is growing.

The agency, located in the heart of historic Ybor City since 2010, expanded their team in May 2015 to include a senior copywriter, a graphic designer and two assistant account executives.

ChappellRoberts approaches branding from a full service perspective; advertising, marketing and public relations are all part of the package for clients, including high-status accounts like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

“Our elevated team brings rich industry experience and new perspectives to our agency and clients,” Colleen Chappell, agency president and CEO, says in a news release.

Assistant research account executives Maritza Ochoa, who graduated from the University of West Florida, and Kelley Volenec, who graduated from Florida State University, will implement client marketing strategies and support the agency’s market research and public relations divisions.

Graphic designer and New Zealand native Marie Holdaway joins ChappellRoberts with nearly five years of professional design experience to help execute creative concepts for client campaigns.

Rick Kourchenko brings over 20 years of advertising experience to the agency as a senior copywriter who will lead copy development for client projects.

“As we continue to grow our roster, infusing our team with incredible talent further serves the growing needs of our clients,” Chappell said.

ChappellRoberts also seeks to fill several other roles; the agency is hiring for a junior media buyer and a junior art director.

The Junior Media Buyer role requires a high school degree, along with three years of media department experience. The successful candidate will assist media buyers and account executives; will track artwork and ensure deliverables are met; will place orders and reconcile invoices; will record activities for planning and billing purposes; and will maintain all digital and hard copy resources.

The Junior Art Director position will assist with design and execution for multiple mediums. The successful applicant will enjoy problem-solving and will have three years of professional experience, including agency experience; knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite; excellent production skills; and understanding of UX/UI design principles.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and five work samples via email with Jr. Art Director as the subject line.


Dunn&Co. (the agency behind giant billboards that read GoodbyeDon that have cropped up around Tampa in spring 2015 [a tip-of-the-hat to AMC TV show Mad Men]) seeks a senior art director and a copywriter.

The Senior Art Director position will work alongside creative directors to develop work in both the digital and print realm. The position requires 7-10 years of advertising agency experience, along with a strong portfolio; proficiency with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; ability to lead by example, strategize, conceptualize and implement; and an appreciation for all media.

Dunn&Co. is also looking for a motivated Copywriter who to work closely with the agency’s creative directors. The successful applicant will have three years of agency experience and a strong portfolio with multiple media formats, including digital and social; is comfortable and proficient with long copy; has the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines; has strong interpersonal, verbal and presentation skills; and is detail-oriented.


Spark Brands is hiring for several positions: brand writer, community manager, editor, developer, and media buyer.
  • Brand Writer: Bring a brand’s personality to life with words, create stories and build brands in your own language.
  • Community Manager: Bring brands to life online by connecting to the audience and employing social media best practices aimed at improving the social presence of brands. The ideal candidate is a social-savvy individual who has experience with and enjoys working in social media, fostering the growth of online communities.
  • Editor: Control the post-production editing process, turning footage into brand stories. An intimate knowledge of Adobe Suite (specifically Premier and After Effects), RedCine-X and DaVinci Resolve, is required.
  • Developer: Knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, mySQL, WordPress and experience with third-party APIs, specifically for Google, Facebook and Twitter, are necessary. Mobile design is a must, as well as UX/UI best practices.
  • Media Buyer: Negotiate and implement media placements across multiple media platforms, monitor digital media performance and making recommendations and improvements as necessary. Successful candidates will have the ability to analyze website data.
Apply or learn more by sending an email here


The advertising agency, which has offices in Atlanta, GA along with downtown Tampa, is hiring for multiple roles in Tampa Bay, including:

Account Director; Analytics & CRM Director, Ecommerce; Analytics Group Director; Developer; Business Development Director; Content Art Director; Help Desk Coordinator; Sr. Human Resources Manager; Talent Acquisition Manager; Integrated (Digital) Producer; Integrated Producer; Marketing Analyst; Marketing Analyst, Interactive Marketing & CRM; and two Copywriters.

To learn job requirements and submit an application, visit the agency’s website.

$1.1M grant boosts employment services at Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women in Tampa

The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women has championed employment service efforts in the Tampa community for nearly four decades. In May 2015, the Centre announced that a new $1.137 million grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will help to substantially expand its Employment Services Program.

Grant funding will enable the Centre to broaden employment programs in Hillsborough County, and executive director Ann W. Madsen says that the Centre might provide future services in Pinellas County, as well.

The new grant will be dispersed to the nonprofit organization over a five-year period, and will help to fund training and placement programs for men and women the Centre identifies as displaced homemakers.

The programs at the Centre are distinct from more general training and job search programs, Madsen explains in a news release, because their primary goal is to “assist women and men in their efforts to achieve lasting economic self-sufficiency. The program helps them to focus on careers that can provide a realistic, livable income for families.”

The JobSync program provides displaced homemakers with one-on-one counseling to help individuals address emotional issues before seeking employment and to develop career plans. It also provides resources to help individuals learn to navigate job applications, computer training, interview techniques and other skills essential to transitioning into a new role -– and economic stability -- successfully.

JobSync aims to “help people, both men and women, to get connected to the right job,” says Madsen.

The original profile of a displaced homemaker when the Centre first began offering services in the late 1970s was “a woman in her mid-thirties or older who had lost her source of income due to divorce, separation, death, disability or unemployment,” explains Alice Thompson, director of the Centre’s Employment Services Program.

Today, Thompson says, “there are many types of individuals and situations that would qualify.”

Now, the displaced homemaker program provides services for both men and women, as long as they meet certain criteria: ages 35 or older; have relied on federal aid or unemployment; are not employed (to learn more about The Centre’s Displaced Homemakers Program and how to qualify, email Alice Thompson or call 813-251-8437.

“Helping displaced homemakers has been one of our core programs,” Madsen says. “Through the years, the Displaced Homemakers Program has provided the opportunity for hundreds of people in our community to lead financially independent lives and find careers that truly support their families.”

The Centre for Women provides many programs and services that help local women and men, including workforce development, entrepreneurial and employment strategies, individual and family counseling, substance abuse treatment and services for girls and senior citizens.

On the job hunt? Upcoming career fairs in Tampa Bay

Whether job seekers are searching for that first post-graduation job or planning to change professional directions with a new career, attending a career or job fair can sometimes be the best bet for finding the right new role. There are several upcoming career or job fairs in Tampa Bay that can connect job seekers in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas with the industry leaders and resources who can help open doors for new hires. Here are a few:
Wednesday, May 6: Pinellas Career Fair
noon-3 p.m.
Bright House Field
601 Coachman Road, Clearwater

Title sponsors include Bright House Networks, Home Shopping Network (HSN), Tradewinds resort hotel, and Center for Technology Training. Open to the general public.

Employer exhibitors include:
  • Big Brothers & Big Sisters
  • Bright House Networks
  • Eckerd College
  • GSP Marketing
  • H&T Global Circuit
  • Hydro Dyne Engineering
  • Kannon Heath Services
  • Lakeside Oaks Care Center
  • Pinellas County Schools
  • Pride Staff
  • Teachers R Us
  • Utica College
  • Vology Inc
  • YourMembership

Click here to learn more about the Pinellas Career Fair

Wednesday, May 6: Tampa Career Fair
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Westshore Airport
4500 West Cypress St., Tampa

Sponsors include MetLife, Southern Green, Dress for Success Tampa Bay, Mary Kay and Fleetistics. Can't make it? Tampa Career Fair will also be held on August 18, 2015. 

Click here to learn more about the Tampa Career Fair.

Thursday, May 14: FCC Statewide Career Fair
10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
UCF Arena
University of Central Florida, Orlando

The Annual Statewide Job Fair at the University of Central Florida in Orlando offers employers the unique opportunity to recruit graduates and alumni from Florida’s state universities all at one centrally located event. More than 150 employers typically attend to meet and recruit students and alumni who are seeking fulltime, professional positions.

Click here to learn more about the FCC Statewide Career Fair.
Monday, June 8: Tampa Bay Job Fair
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore Airport
700 N. Westshore Blvd, Tampa

Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times. Free admission, free parking. No pre-registration required. Over 50 local employers will be in attendance.

Click here to learn more about the Tampa Bay Job Fair.


Wednesday, June 17: Job Fair Tampa
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore Hotel
2225 N. Lois Ave., Tampa

Business professional attire and resume required.

Click here to learn more about Job Fair Tampa.


Tips for job seekers from the Tampa Bay Job Fair:
  • Wear proper business attire.
  • Bring at least 20 copies of your resume.
  • Arrive with a positive attitude. 
Employers, are you hosting an upcoming career fair in the Tampa Bay area? Put potential future employees on the right path by sharing the details of your upcoming job or career fair in Tampa Bay with 83 Degrees. Email the 83 Degrees Innovation & Job News editor with "Hiring" in the subject line. Reach out over on Twitter (@83degreesmedia) if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Temple Terrace hosts new craft beer festival, food trucks

Tampa Bay, grab your growlers: there's a new craft beer fest in town.

The inaugural Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest will take place May 9 in Woodmont Park, a 20-minute drive from downtown Tampa. The beer festival, hosted by the City of Temple Terrace in partnership with the Rotary Club of Temple Terrace, will feature more than 30 craft brews, including varieties from:

3 Daughters BrewingBayshore Beer Co., Big Storm Brewing Co., Big Top Brewing Co.Bold City BreweryBrew Hub, Brooklyn BreweryCigar City BrewingCoppertail Brewing Co., Florida Avenue Brewing Co.GolfBeer Brewing Co.Harpoon Brewery, Oskar Blues BreweryTampa Bay Brewing Company, Tenth and Blake Beer Co.Two Henrys Brewing, and more.

If all that beer sipping stirs up an appetite, guests can enjoy food from a variety of local Tampa Bay area food trucks and on-site vendors, including Doogie Dogs a GogoMichelle Faedo’s On the GoNapolitanos Wood Fired Pizza & Calzones, PaniniRifficPop-N-Good Kettle Corn, and Smokin’ Aces BBQ.

Live music will be provided by local band jazz fusion band Jurika.

Cheri Donohue, one of the event’s organizers, anticipates more than 1,000 attendees at the one-day event. Donohue, a member of both the Temple Terrace City Council and the Rotary Club, calls the BrewFest “a thrilling new event for the city.”

Rotary Club members worked with City Council members to develop the BrewFest. Community leaders “immediately saw it as a good way to show off our lovely city,” Donohue says. 

Sponsors include local businesses such as Ward Seaford Attorneys at LawGaspar’s Patio Bar & Grille and Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club.

As an event sponsor, local company Brewmasters Club “takes pride in contributing to any effort to re-vitalize” the Temple Terrace area," founder Donnie Gallagher says. “The goal is to really get the community of Temple Terrace involved. I expect a great turnout.”

By hosting the craft beer festival, the Rotary Club hopes to attract “young movers and shakers to see what a ‘service’ club can do,” Donohue explains. “Our motto, ‘service above self,’ is one we take seriously, but our meetings are fun and invigorating. Even though we were established in 1925, we think creatively and are working to invite people to live, work and play in Temple Terrace." 

Event proceeds will benefit charities supported by the Rotary Club of Temple Terrace including CAIRFlight, the Bridge Healthcare Clinic at USF and Rotary's Camp Florida

Tickets bought before May 8 cost $30 ($35 after) and include unlimited tastings of more than 30 craft brews, two of which are custom Temple Terrace beers brewed exclusively for BrewFest. 

For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, visit the Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest website.

Florida Bookstore Day Celebrates Local Bookstores, Authors

Tiffany Razzano was driving down Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg when she spotted a poster in the storefront window at Daddy Cool Records promoting Record Store Day. She then drove past Wilson’s Book World and thought, "Why is there no bookstore day?"

She did some research only to learn that California is the only state that has fully developed the concept of a bookstore day.

So why not Florida? Why not now? she thought. The result?

The inaugural Florida Bookstore Day will take place at independent and used bookstores in cities throughout the state on November 15, concentrating on the Tampa Bay area, where Razzano runs Wordier Than Thou, a group that supports creative writers through open mic events, a literary magazine and a radio show.

"I wanted to do something big," says Razzano. "It’s a celebration of independent bookstores and the writing community. People won’t even know they’re at a literary event."

Her goal is to showcase local bookstores and the writing community. Soon after she started talking up the concept in social media and elsewhere, Razzano connected with book lovers in Orlando who wanted to be part of the celebration. Bookstores from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys have now signed on to participate. Expect a day of book releases and author signings, open mics and workshops on literary topics

Local participants include: Inkwood Books, Mojo Books and Music, Old Tampa Book Company and Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Standup Librarians, Wilson’s Book World and Wings Bookstore in St. Petersburg, Book Bank in Largo and Back in the Day Books in Dunedin.

An after party will take place at the Venture Compound in St. Petersburg, featuring local authors and literary organizations, the Bluebird Books Bus, raffles and food trucks.

The event is sponsored by Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and also received a grant from Awesome Tampa Bay.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Tiffany Razzano, Florida Bookstore Day

Pinellas Tech Company Adds Local Jobs, Expands In California

A Tampa Bay area company and major player in the technology solutions provider market is expanding its West Coast presence while adding jobs locally.

Oldsmar-based Vology in Pinellas County has acquired a California division of Govplace, a value added reseller (VAR) to the federal government.

With the acquisition, Vology will need to create additional sales and engineering resources in Irvine, CA, along with additional back office staff in the Tampa Bay region to support them.

Vology will likely add between 100 to 120 "really good'' jobs in Florida over the next three years, says CEO Barry Shevlin.

The majority of the positions will likely be technical resources, with the average Vology employee earning "a bit over $75,000 per year,'' Shevlin says.

The company currently employs approximately 200 people in the Tampa Bay region, with plans to double its Florida business over the next three years.

"We're committed to the Tampa Bay area,'' says Shevlin. "It's a great place to work and live.''

Vology launched in Oldsmar in 2002 as Network Liquidators before rebranding in 2010. The company offers services like IT consulting and engineering, virtualization and storage, and end-to-end technological solutions. Vology has been ranked in the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. for eight consecutive years, beginning in 2006.

California is Vology's second largest market. Acquiring Govplace allows Vology to bring in the company's 18 years of experience exclusively serving state, local government and education (SLED) customers in California through enterprise IT solutions.

The Govplace acquisition also gives Vology a second physical location in California to support a growing customer base. Vology is headquartered in the Tampa Bay region, with current offices in Irvine, Sacramento, Syracuse, New York City, Denver, Austin, and Oklahoma City.

Writer: Justine Benstead
Source: Barry Shevlin, Vology CEO

Webber Kerr Associates, Junior Achievement Partner To Guide Next Gen Business Leaders

A new partnership utilizes the knowledge and experience of a Tampa-based business to guide and educate local youth.

Webber Kerr Associates, an executive search and consulting firm based in Hyde Park, is partnering with Junior Achievement to provide financial support, mentoring and guidance.

Webber Kerr wanted to select a charitable organization to donate a percentage of search fees for every contract signed during 2014.

"Discussions kept coming back to children, education and preparing the next generation of leadership," says Emily Wagner, managing director for Webber Kerr.

The employees were particularly impressed with Junior Achievement’s mission, which is helping youth achieve skills in entrepreneurship, economics and financial literacy through real-world experience with business leaders.

In addition to the financial support, the company wanted to have a physical connection with the charity. They are allowing their employees paid volunteer time to participate in speaking engagements, mentoring programs as well as the Pam & Les Muma JA BIZTOWN, a mini city that contains up to 23 fictitious businesses to allow youth to experience economics in a real life setting. Students receive "jobs" such as accountant, retail sales representative and banker, and there’s even a city mayor.

A native resident of Dunedin and University of South Florida graduate, Wagner participated in BIZTOWN herself while in fifth grade. "I remember exactly what job I had and what a good experience it was." The experience left such a good impression, she wanted her company to play a major role in giving back to today’s youth in the same way.

"We have to be focused on children, their education and growing their careers, giving whatever we can, whether it be monetarily, guidance or mentorship" says Wagner, speaking about the business community in Tampa Bay. "The economic health of the entire area depends on it."

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Emily Wagner, Webber Kerr Associates

Hillsborough Arts Council Launches Power2Give Donor Portal

A new online crowdfunding platform being launched this week is designed to solicit new donors and donations to support arts and cultural organizations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Power2Give is similar to other crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but the focus is on helping local arts and culture organizations fund projects that might not be funded through traditional campaigns.

The concept began with the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, NC. It has expanded to include 21 metropolitan areas who have raised $4.5 million through 1,880 projects in just two years. The Tampa Bay region will be the 22nd community to join Power2Give.

Projects are listed on the site for 90 days. If the fundraising goal is met before then, the project is removed from the site. If the goal is not met, the money is still given to the nonprofit, another differentiator from the all-or-nothing model used by many other crowdfunding platforms. The organizations also provide donors with non-cash benefits.

In the spirit of transparency, organizations are encouraged to break projects down to explain exactly what they cover. This transparency also aims to create more patrons for the arts by providing a closer glimpse into what goes on within the organizations. This idea has proven successful, with an estimated 44 percent of donors across the 21 metropolitan areas being first time arts patrons.

“You can feel confident that the project is real and the money is going somewhere,” says Terri Simons, director of program services for the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the sponsoring organization for the Tampa Bay arm of Power2Give.

Power2give Tampa Bay
launches February 12 with over $100,000 in projects to fund, including: helping students with disabilities attend summer animation camp through VSA Florida, creative journaling projects for families of domestic violence through the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, a mosaic on the outside of the building at the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin and underwriting costs for some of the performers at the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Terri Simons, Arts Council of Hillsborough County

Pinellas Academy Turns Artists Into Entrepreneurs

Do you want to turn your art into a business, but aren’t sure how to do it?

Artists in Pinellas County now have an opportunity to learn entrepreneurial and business skills through The Academy, an educational program from Creative Pinellas.

The six-week program focuses on strategic planning, financial skills, marketing, web presence and topics specific to different genres including visual arts, theater, film, dance and music. The program offers real-world, practical learning and experiences to help artists both in the short- and long-term.

For example, a musician might learn how to setup MP3s and market music online. A visual artist might learn how to create a circuit approach to selling work at art fairs. Artists in all genres will put together business plans and learn other aspects of running a company.  

Mentors will also spend individual time with participants to help them set goals and objectives. They will then follow up after the series concludes to provide long-term assistance.

"A program like this can help increase the sustainability of an artist and increase the chances of them staying in the area," says Hampton Dohrman, director of Creative Pinellas. "Through entrepreneurship, you can create your own opportunities. That’s the great thing about our area. You can find your own niche."

After the first series concludes, Creative Pinellas plans to create a virtual incubator with videos and tutorials available to the public.
The series will be offered three times per year. The first session of classes begins Tuesday, June 25, and continues weekly through July 30.  Applications are available online.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Hampton Dorhman, Creative Pinellas

New Alliance Aims To Support Tampa Bay Creatives

Do you work independently and want a way to connect with others for ideas? Are you wondering if it's possible to make a living as an artist or designer? Or maybe you're a musician or actor who wants to meet others in your field. Now there's a way for creative professionals in Tampa Bay to find camaraderie and support to help them make a living doing what they love.

Creatives' Alliance is a professional membership organization for established and aspiring creative professionals such as writers, musicians, painters, actors and actresses, dancers, film makers, tattoo artists, designers and photographers.

The group appeals to all creative disciplines, something that makes it unique in the Tampa Bay region. Strong professional circles exist for those in advertising, photography, architecture and the like. The new multidisciplinary alliance brings together everyone working in a creative field in order to form a more cohesive, collaborative community.

"I love the arts and have built my life on creative endeavors,'' says Aris MacInnes, countess of creativity for Imaginary Mind productions and founder of the Creatives’ Alliance. "I get so inspired by the culture we, as artists, create, and I am bothered by watching the struggles we face to be appreciated, supported and paid well.''

Offerings include mentoring, professional guidance, group brainstorming, coaching, training, industry benchmarks and collaborative tools.

The group's first event is a LaunchPad Workshop on January 19 from 9 am till noon at Keiser University in Tampa, which focuses on launching a freelance career, improving your focus and making contacts with like-minded people.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Aris MacInnes, Creatives' Alliance
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