Special networking events for techies help make connections in the Tampa Bay area

Are you looking for a job in the tech industry? Networking with the attendees at Collaborative Technologies of Tampa Bay’s upcoming event could be your ticket to scoring an interview at a hot new startup or growing local company.

Likewise, businesses looking to invest in top regional talent for a freelance or full-time role might want to send a representative to The Getaway on December 4 for the Q4 Tech & Entrepreneur Peer Networking Event, hosted by CToTB.

Tech students, established entrepreneurs and those just starting out all mix, mingle and network at the quarterly events, which usually see around 300 attendees. Treats like free T-shirts, a tech-themed drink special and giveaways from Microsoft are all part of the draw. 

“We’re making great connections, especially with USF St. Pete and their Entrepreneur and tech programs,” explains CToTB founder Sylvia Martinez.

Martinez, a longtime Tampa resident, launched the staffing company in January 2014. With a background in business development, marketing and sales within the tech world, Martinez felt poised to fill a gap in Tampa Bay’s workforce: connecting skilled professionals with companies looking to make a new hire.
 
“It was a natural place for me, to help people find their dream job or find a connection that can lead them to doing great things. That’s really been my passion,” she says.

The business is largely based on a referral system from networking events within the Tampa Bay area – typically, Martinez or her contractors attend 2-3 per week. 

Too many of the events Martinez attended shared a similar theme: technical resources thought they were inundated with vendors, sales people and recruiters, and didn’t want to attend. So she started quarterly events for entrepreneurs to come together with no agenda besides networking amongst peers.

“It’s a safe zone to talk and collaborate. You meet people from all different technologies – Java, .Net, mobile – but who can all share experiences,” Martinez says.
 
Hillsborough County’s EDI2 program is helping CToTB fund some of the events. Both former Hillsborough Commissioner Mark Sharpe and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn made appearances in support of the event, which has provided tangible results already.

“Not only have I heard about great hires taking place, but I have also heard of people working on applications or creating products together,” Martinez says. 

“If you’re hiring and you want to collaborate with people that can help your company grow and succeed, come and meet people with the skill sets to help you obtain those goals,” says Martinez. “Our main initiative is to help small startups to mid-size companies build out their technical resources and teams. We like to recruit out of our network. Our tagline is ‘Put our network to work for you.’ “

Read more articles by Justine Benstead.

Justine Benstead is a feature writer for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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