Last week was Techstars’ Tampa Bay Startup Week at the Tampa Theater. This five-day event includes networking sessions, hands-on training, a pitch competition, and a local start-up showcase. The event is led by and built for entrepreneurs, and includes information on everything from digital marketing and advertising to fashion and style.
To kick off the event Gary Vaynerchuck, author of Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook and The Thank You Economy, spoke on marketing trends and strategy, the importance of kindness and empathy, and the economic hardships that may come. Gracie Stemmer, a co-lead organizer for the Startup Week, said that Vaynerchuck’s booking was essential to energizing the Tampa Bay startup community.
Vaynerchuck has been widely influential in inspiring people to begin their own start-up company. Through his Flip Challenge of 2017 Matt Kennedy changed his life. Kennedy had a job installing car stereos and had a newborn son at the time of the challenge. However, he stuck with the challenge and ended up investing in crypto-currency mining machines. He now buys from a manufacturer in China and sells these mining machines online through his new company, Antminer Marketplace. Kennedy personally thanked Vaynerchuck for moving him to change his life at the Tampa Theater on Tuesday, February 13th during the Question and Answer section of the event.
Vaynerchuck has also inspired numerous others like Bryan Williams, an independent filmmaker in the Tampa area and Laura Egocheaga. Egocheaga founded Divibe Tech and had a spotlight role at the event. She is the author of The Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing and listed Vaynerchuck, Grant Cardone, and Alex Becker as the major influences in her professional life.
However, Vaynerchuck realizes that starting a business isn’t for everyone. At the conference, he said “My ambition here is not for all of you to go home and start your own business. My ambition is for all of you to understand why I’m so happy and it’s because I figured myself out. Put yourself in a position to succeed. You’ll always lose when you try to force something.”
Tampa Bay’s start-up week was a huge success with 4,000 registered participants. That’s nearly double the number of participants that were present last year. Many other speakers were happy to represent the Tampa Bay area and give insight into their businesses including Adi Arezzini of Teami Blends, Tona Bell of The Paper Seahorse, Sean Barkman of Ballast Point Ventures, and many other Tampa Bay entrepreneurs. Tampa is growing as a business center and has many unique talents and services to offer. Now is the time to shoot for your dreams in Tampa Bay and as Vaynerchuck put it figure yourself out. This requires finding out what you want and what drives you. Armed with that knowledge the Tampa Bay area is prepared to inspire and succeed.