Tampa has hosted its share of startup-related events, from pitch contests to networking groups, and in 2015, entrepreneurs are taking center stage for the area’s first Startup Week.
During the five days of Startup Week festivities, Feb 2-6, 2015, attendees can choose among 50 unique events that fall under one of 10 “tracks,” from the startup tried-and-true (Developer) to the unique (The History of Tampa Bay) to the innovative (Craft Beer Entrepreneurship).
events will be hosted at spaces like Tampa Bay WaVE
in downtown Tampa and The Greenhouse
in downtown St. Petersburg, as well as smaller venues such as The Blind Tiger Café
in Ybor City. Tampa Startup Week partners USF Connect
and the University of Tampa
will also host industry experts at events in which attendees can discuss entrepreneurship.
The week’s sessions will culminate at Amalie Arena
with a special skate night for attendees on Friday, Feb. 6.
Tampa Bay was selected by the event’s premiere sponsor, Chase
, and by Startup Weekend founding group UpGlobal
, as one of seven cities across the country to host a Startup Week in 2015.
“When we found out that they picked us, we were elated. They could have picked any number of cities, and they saw lots of potential in the Tampa Bay area,” says Gracie Stemmer, one of Startup Week’s co-organizers.
Tracks were inspired by previous Startup Week models, but developed around the local entrepreneurs who will lead them, making the event uniquely Tampa-oriented with topics like “Playable Cities,” which will be run by Tampa group Urban Conga
Lead Organizer Ryan Sullivan “saw this as an opportunity to bring the different aspects of the entrepreneurial community together with the goal of changing the conversation.”
Sullivan, who previously organized Tampa Bay Startup Week Youth
, hopes to see Startup Week create momentum for entrepreneurs and bystanders.
The Startup Week organizing team anticipates 3,000-4,000 attendees across all of the events.
What is Sullivan most excited about? Well, there’s the Tampa Bay launch of Plum Alley, a crowd-funding site for women; the craft brewing entrepreneurs track, “something unique that highlights why Tampa is a top five best beer city”; the youth events (“very exciting because the community is demanding more and more of these”); as well as the maker track, which Sullivan hopes to see elevate the maker movement in the community.
“Our main goal for Startup Week is to let all of Tampa Bay know the entrepreneurial things that are going on in our city,” says Stemmer. “We want to change the discussion from ‘There’s not much going on here’ to ‘Wow, there’s so much going on here.’”
For more information during Startup Week, visit Chase Basecamp, located at 1930 7th Ave in Ybor City, Feb 2-6. The base camp will host breakfasts, daily Happy Hours, speaker panels and mentor hours.