Organizers of TechStars Startup Week Tampa Bay have an ambitious goal for the 2019 event.
They want to draw more than the 4,000 attendees who came to some or all of the program earlier this year.
“Last year was our biggest year yet,” said Mark Lombardi-Nelson, emcee of Startup Week. “We’re intending on growing past that.”
The event is a five-day celebration led by more than 100 entrepreneurs. It includes speakers, panel discussions and interactive sessions at which experts teach their craft — topics ranging from web development and cybersecurity to fashion, music and food. All the sessions are free.
The 2019 event is Feb. 4-8 and the program, speakers and schedule are still being finalized, Lombardi-Nelson said at Wednesday’s 1 Million Cups in St. Petersburg.
There, he made a pitch for people interested in participating by volunteering, mentoring or sponsoring to get involved by signing up now.
“If you believe in pushing the Tampa Bay area forward, investing in our business community and our entrepreneurs, and carrying the Tampa Bay flag as a region moving forward, this event is probably for you,” Lombardi-Nelson said.
The programs are held in multiple locations and the exact sites remains to be determined, but Lombardi-Nelson hopes there will be both Tampa and St. Petersburg venues.
“This is one of the few events that actually encapsulates Tampa Bay as a region,” he said.
Startup Week is a partnership with Techstars, an organization that facilitates entrepreneurship and innovation and encourages municipalities to invest in their business community.
The week features a lot of technology topics, but it’s not all about tech, Lombardi-Nelson said.
“It’s encouraging business as a whole. We welcome and encourage those who are in traditional or non-tech-focused businesses to engage. The thought process is lessons learned can apply to all businesses,” Lombardi-Nelson said.
Organizers will send out email updates as programs are finalized to people who sign up online here.