IN AWE: Local startup groups pool resources to support women entrepreneurs

Three of the Tampa Bay Area's most well-known names in the startup space, Synapse, Tampa Bay Wave, and Embarc Collective, are joining forces with USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy (WLP) and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth to present the inaugural "IN AWE: Investing In, Nurturing and Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs: An Event Advancing Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Women-Run Companies."

The virtual experience, by women and for women, is an effort to advance entrepreneurship, innovation, and women-run companies by pooling resources that support women as innovators and tech entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay Area.

IN AWE will allow female founders, investors, women-of-influence, community leaders, and representatives to network and exchange ideas, and showcase emerging technology.

Because part of WLP's mission is to advance the strategic goals of the University of South Florida (USF), collaborating with Synapse, Wave, and Embarc was a no-brainer. 

"We partner with organizations in our community that share our ethos, our mission," explains India Witte, executive director of USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy. Witte is also assistant vice president of the USF Foundation.
"Partnering was logical for us because this is the next step in our journey and our mission -- to help create an environment where our female students can find success after they leave the classroom."

"Under [USF] President Steven Currall, there is an even stronger emphasis on community engagement," Witte adds. "We view [this partnership] as fulfilling our mission to support women while, in part, advancing the university's mission of supporting the community."

What better place to start the process of engaging future entrepreneurs than in the classroom? For WLP, education was an intriguing angle that appealed to them to partner on IN AWE.

"We found this collaboration attractive because we want to invest in our students, not only while they're students at USF, but we want to make sure they're positioned for success in their career path," says Witte.
Events such as IN AWE, and the myriad of other programs these startup hubs deliver, go a long way to help generate a more enhanced ecosystem for current and prospective women entrepreneurs. Witte says WLP understands that investing in the present of the USF community is critical for their future.

"A better ecosystem for women entrepreneurs benefits our students; we want them to stay in the Tampa Bay region," says Witte.
IN AWE will be conducted Thursday, Oct. 22, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information or to register for your virtual ticket, visit Eventbrite.

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Read more articles by Allison Koehler.

Allison Koehler is a Cleveland-area native who now lives in Tampa by way of Detroit. She resides in Seminole Heights with her partner, Phil, and three children -- one human and two cats. When she isn't writing, she's watching pro football, listening to music, or streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime. 
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