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Exclusive: Meet the TiETANs, TiE Tampa Bay’s 2019 award winners

Margie Manning



Five companies and individuals will be recognized for their contributions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem at TiEcon Florida Feb. 16.

TiEcon is the marquee event for the entrepreneurship organization, TiE Tampa Bay. TiE Tampa Bay is one of 26 chapters in the Americas and 61 chapters worldwide for The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a Silicon Valley-based organization that fosters entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking, education, funding and incubation.

The TiETAN awards honor business leaders in five categories who have made a local impact, and this year’s winners range from one of the longest-tenured and most successful entrepreneurs in the community to a 10-month-old program that helps veterans form their own businesses.

The category winners are:

Jennifer Whelihan and the Hillsborough County EDI2 program for the Community Champion award, recognizing a community leader who sponsored major Tampa Bay community events in 2019.

David Chitester, founder of Seedfunders and previously the founder of Florida Funders. Chitester, a pioneer in the area’s angel investing community, wins the Angel Investor award, recognizing entrepreneurs who have invested in Tampa Bay-based startups.

Action Zone, a veteran-focused entrepreneur program led by CEO Rosie Lee, for the Social Entrepreneurship award. This award is for a business that has made a positive impact on a social cause in the Tampa Bay area.

Global Safety Management, led by CEO Julia MacGregor-Peralta, wins Startup of the Year, an award for profitable young companies that launched in Florida.

Steve MacDonald, founder and former CEO of myMatrixx, a Tampa-based technology-enabled Tampa pharmacy benefits manager that sold in 2017. MacDonald, currently a Tampa Bay Wave executive-in-residence and a partner and member of Florida Funders, wins the Super Entrepreneur award, for an individual who has made a significant and positive economic impact in the state of Florida through job creation and measurable metrics of prosperity, in addition to leading a profitable enterprise with at least $25 million in annual revenue.

Look for profiles of each of the winners over the next few weeks in St. Pete Catalyst.

MacGregor and MacDonald will be among the speakers at TiEcon Florida. The event also includes a startup pitch competition and breakout panels. A full schedule and registration information is available here.


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