Could Tampa Bay Be The Next Silicon Valley?


07/01/2015

I attended my first Tampa Bay Technology Forum Meeting a few weeks ago. TBTF is a group of savvy tech supporters "dedicated to growing and promoting Tampa Bay's technology and business resources." We talked best practices and brainstormed better ones. We discussed common dilemmas and thought about beer.

One such dilemma (besides the lack of beer in the conference room), since Tampa is not historically known as a tech hub like San Francisco or Austin, it can be difficult to attract and maintain tech talent in the area. Sure, there are companies like Tech Data Corp (ranked 111th on the Fortune 500 list with a market value of 2.32 billion), ConnectWise, a Microsoft office and a variety of startups in the area (not to mention some of the best beaches in the world!), but how do tech companies in the area really get people to want to come here for work?

Community Involvement Is A Start
This is where organizations like TBTF come in. Focused on fostering community among Tampa Bay technology companies, this group dedicates itself to fostering and "promoting community through events, education, networking, philanthropy and more to bring technology, business leaders, investors, government, researchers and educators together."

Daniel James Scott, Executive Director of TBTF, said at the most recent TBTF meeting, "We want to fabricate an ecosystem where a megaphone works more effectively…↑[to showcase] how sexy the Tampa ecosystem is and why talent should stay here."

Just this year, Accusoft helped host Tampa's own version of SXSW: The first annual Gasparilla Interactive Festival, a showcase for cutting-edge technologies, digital innovation and entrepreneurs. Interactive festivals like this, in addition to smaller scale events like local hackathons and meetups will further build the Tampa ecosystem.

Cross Pollination and Co-Marketing
Ideas are great, and community ecosystems are exciting, but in order to realize these ideas and foster this community we need to do. The idea of cross pollinating is bringing people together with different skill sets and allowing their knowledge and skills to influence each other for the better. Businesses can effectively cross-pollinate by guest blogging, sharing and promoting each other's social media, starting conversations around events and cool tech in the area, and creating good, relevant content. Cross pollination is all about starting, sharing and building conversations.

As a first-timer at TBTF, I will definitely be back. Tampa Bay may not be the Silicon Valley of Florida yet, but the groundwork is getting in place, and it's definitely emerging as more than just vacations and sunshine.

If you’re interested in joining Accusoft’s rapidly growing team in Tampa, visit http://www.accusoft.com/company/careers/

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