Organizers of Techstars Startup Week Tampa Bay are gearing up for 2019’s big event with a kickoff at 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 29, at The Franklin Manor, 912 N Franklin St., Tampa.
“This is Year 5,” says Lead Organizer JR Griggs, President of Red Wall Marketing. “It’s a big landmark for us.”
Startup Week will begin in St. Petersburg on February 4, 2019 and run for two days before switching to Tampa for the remaining three days, which is the opposite of this year’s agenda, he says.
A new website at startupweektampabay.com
posts a countdown to the event he hopes will attract double the size of last year’s, which had 4,430 registrants.
“Last year we doubled our registrations,” he explains. “We’re hoping to do that again this year.” JR Griggs is Leader Organizer of 2019's Startup Week.
Donated by Red Wall Marketing, the website allows those who want to be involved as a mentor, speaker, sponsor or volunteer to fill out a form and submit it.
The kickoff at The Franklin Manor
is an opportunity for people to become involved, network, and learn more about the week that for four years has provided free resources and information to startups.
“We’ll actually have team members there that can answer their questions,” he says.
The kickoff Wednesday will be followed by the official start of planning two weeks later. “Our big goal with this event is to raise awareness,” Griggs says.
Those interested in attending can RSVP on a Facebook event page, which can be accessed here
. Free snacks and appetizers will be provided.
While there is no specific theme as of yet for the 2019 event, Griggs says it will be a celebration. “Our goal is to make this year as fun as possible,” he points out. “We want to make this our best year.”
A session on making money with gaming is planned by Marcus Howard, Co-Founder of Project MQ
, a platform for video game lovers which was chosen for the Tampa Bay Wave
diversity cohort. Another session slated is called “No Excuses,” where they anticipate inspirational stories from Nick Santonastasso, an internationally-known bodybuilder born without legs and with only one arm.
Griggs also expects to give a session on marketing, although the exact topic isn’t yet determined.
The program, which draws a diverse group of people with startup ideas or who want information for their businesses, will include a wide variety of sessions on cybersecurity, inventors, music/arts, veterans, social entrepreneurship, fashion/style and food and beverage.
Griggs, who has been involved in the program since 2016, has witnessed the empowerment of the community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“As the resources grow, we’re seeing a lot more people connecting the dots, so to speak, knowing they have these resources they can get to,” he says. “People are realizing how big the startup community is here, and how much talent there is.”
Visitors have been noticing as well. “A common theme heard last year [from] people coming from outside of Tampa: They didn’t realize how big of a movement was happening,” he adds.
The 2019 sponsors thus far include Armature Works, Red Bull and Publix.