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What to expect at Global Entrepreneurship Week Tampa Bay 2018

Margie Manning



Two classic events for the Tampa Bay startup community — BarCamp and StartUp Weekend  — will bookend this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week.

In between there are presentations, panels and gatherings focused on women and minority entrepreneurs, designers and blockchain enthusiasts, among others.

Eleven events currently are listed on the GEW calendar and more could be added, said Joy Randels, a board member at TechNova, a non-profit that supports the technology community in Tampa Bay, and one of several sponsors for the week.

Joy Randels

Global Entrepreneurship Week – or GEW —  was created in 2007 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and has since grown to thousands of events in 170 countries.

It was created to highlight grassroots startup efforts, said Randels, who also founded and leads two Sarasota tech companies, Applied G2 and New Market Partners.

“When I first moved here in 2001, there were some tech companies, but no organizational efforts around the tech community,” she said. “It wasn’t the popular thing. The community was better known for hospitality and marketing and other things that focused on service-oriented businesses and call centers than on companies building products.”

Companies that build products, she said, are the ones that have the most economic impact on the area.

TechNova is one of about 10 hosts for the week, with others ranging from established organizations such as University of South Florida and University of Tampa, to much younger organizations, such as Tampa Bay Spark, a diversity initiative, and Embarc Collective, a Jeff Vinik-backed organization to elevate the profile of the start-up community.

Allie Felix, director of programming and partnerships for Embarc Collective

“Embarc Collective is participating in GEW through highlighting the stories of startup founders from Tampa-St. Pete who are scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We are excited to participate alongside other invested supporters because GEW embodies our values – coming together as a collective to help founders and their teams thrive,” said Allie Felix, director of programming and partnerships for Embarc.

The Tampa Bay community came together for the first time this year to make a collective calendar of events for GEW, Felix said.

“Creating a central digital destination to learn about events and opportunities demonstrates cross-collaboration and creates efficiency for the founders, invested supporters and community learners in our region looking to get involved,” Felix said.

The Tampa Bay collaboration is highlighted on the webpage for the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

A key part of the event involves people getting to know one another, Randels said. “Founders have met each other and companies have come out of that,” she said.

See the gallery below for highlights of previous BarCamps, Startup Weeks and other entrepreneurship events.


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BarCamp 2017

GEW events this year will be spread throughout the area.

BarCamp — which calls itself an “unconference” that crowd sources its content and lets anyone share their technology expertise — will kick off GEW on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the west wing of University Mall, at 2200 E. Fowler Ave. It’s the first time BarCamp has been held in a mall, Randels said.

Techstars Startup Weekend Tampa Bay takes place the following weekend, Nov. 16- Nov. 18, at Factory 114 in Tampa. The 54-hour event lets groups form teams around proposed startup companies and develop a working prototype or demo before presenting the idea to judges.

Other highlights of the week include an update by University of Tampa on the state of the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and a Tech Talk with Barry Shevlin, CEO of Vology, a Clearwater-based IT managed services firm, at the new downtown St. Pete headquarters of Tampa Bay Innovation Center.

Those interested in participating can search from the community calendar of events and RSVP to any individual event that they wish to attend, Felix said.

Participants are encouraged to tag their tweets and Instagram photos with #GEW2018 and #MakeItTampaBay.

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