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Embarc Collective launches new program to connect freelancers to startups, investors

Veronica Brezina

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Working space for Embarc Collective members

Embarc Collective is kicking off a new program geared toward building the freelance community to help support the growing startups in the Tampa Bay area. 

The Tampa-based coworking hub’s program, dubbed the Freelancer Program, is a four-week, intimate workshop-style course led by the coaches of Embarc Collective. The program is designed for local freelancers to effectively learn how to serve the needs and challenges of startups. 

“We learned through this past year we need a pool of diverse talent, and that has been illuminated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Startups often leverage freelancers and outsource. We wanted to create a training program to enable the freelancer community to build this network,” Embarc Collective Vice President of Platform Allie Felix said. “On the startup side, one of the most common frustrations and requests we get is when startups are working with a freelancer, it’s the needed ability to communicate and be well-versed in the startup speak.” 

Felix, who was Embarc Collective CEO Lakshmi Shenoy’s first hire, is charged with overseeing Embarc’s programs.  

Felix and Member Experience Manager Dan Holahan have been developing the program for nearly a year. 


Related: Startup Report with Dan Holahan


“Embarc saw an abundance of requests for freelance talent from members who were constantly asking us to find them help. Our national partner investors were also seeking freelancers in marketing and design work – this program is really an opportunity for all sides,” Felix said. 

The Freelancer Program is tailored for freelancers or sole proprietors who typically have one to three people in team size, Holahan said. 

The coaching team will be comprised of business leaders with first-hand experiences and specific areas of expertise. The workshops will be in a group setting, but there will also be one-on-one sessions. Additionally, the workshops may feature startup executives as speakers. 

The program participants will become part of Embarc’s new Freelance Talent Directory database that’s accessible to nearly 100 members in Embarc and its national network of investors and partners. 

Some of the members inside Embarc Collective utilizing the kitchen space. Photo provided.

Some existing communities and platforms support freelancers such as Brave Haus; however, Embarc seeks to create a subset of that community to support tech-based startups. Through the database, Embarc can confidentially share a list of vetted freelancers who graduated from the program.

The program will take place from Aug. 30 through Sept. 23 at Embarc Collective with a group of 10 applicants. 

There is a program fee of $995 charged upon acceptance into the program. There will be a weeklong interview process beforehand to ensure the freelancer fits the program. Embarc requires a portfolio of the freelancer’s work.

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