One of the coolest trends in the startup space is incubators: facilities specifically designed to help a startup go from concept to market. Especially for first-time entrepreneurs, there are a lot of pieces of starting a business that are completely unknown and unexpected. These incubators can help with those challenges, as well as help these new companies find customers and partners to enhance their corporate journeys.
One of the great incubators in the Tampa Area is run through the University of South Florida as part of the USF Connect program. The Tampa Bay Technology Incubator is a process which allows students, faculty, and the community to get involved and receive assistance. While the majority of the companies in the program are USF students and faculty, the TBTI has begun accepting non-school related companies to join and receive the benefits of the program.
Unlike many incubators, the companies that participate in TBTI are not always required to be technology in focus. In fact, one of the companies that exhibited at the Synapse Innovation Summit had designed a product to make frosting cakes easier. The product was so easy to use that the owner could speak to an audience about the product while using it. Another non-technology companies involved in the TBTI is a company that produces a consumer skateboard that has built-in storage.
Other companies involved in the incubator, however, are technology-based. For example, several of the companies are working on technologies to prevent, diagnose and treat various types of cancers. Other companies are working to improve cybersecurity problems, including providing 24/7 security services.
The Tampa Bay Technology Incubator through USF Connect is always looking for new companies to assist. If you have an idea you would like to pitch, you can reach out through their website.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Daniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.