Startups and Building Tampa’s Innovation District

Startups and Building Tampa’s Innovation District

Startup-Grind-Tampa-Logo-300x247On Thursday December 18th, Startup Grind Tampa Bay will host Mark Sharpe, former Chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners and new Executive Director of the Tampa Innovation Alliance. Mark joins the ranks of over 150,000 entrepreneurs, educators and venture capitalists across 135 cities and 59 countries in a global movement when he speaks at Startup Grind Tampa Bay. Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs the event is designed to give established business owners a platform to impart their lessons learned and keys to success to the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs.

A staunch advocate of innovation, Mark is directing his passion for a better Tampa Bay to the private sector. He will be leading the Tampa Innovation Alliance whose mission is to create an Innovation District in the University of South Florida area. Mark will share what he has learned over the past decade in office, his engagement with the Startup Community, Educators and Transportation and how that impacted his decision to take on this new role and help entrepreneurs and innovative companies succeed in our community.

Innovation Districts are led by an eclectic group of institutions and leaders and emerging in cities and metropolitan areas in the United States and abroad. Many of already reflect formal levels of planning and in the U.S. are emerging near anchor institutions in cities like Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, and San Diego. “They are developing where underutilized areas, older industrial areas are being re-imagined and remade,” said Mark Sharpe. He added, “others are evolving in traditional science parks like Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham, which are responding to their workers and supporting organizations preference for more vibrant urbanized environments.

Mark Sharpe isn’t just talking theory, he has spent a significant portion of his decade as a Hillsborough County Commissioner trying to find the best path to making Tampa great. He has traveled to other cities to understand what programs work when it comes to innovation, education, and transportation. “A real focus on innovation is needed in our community and I believe Mark’s goals match those of the entrepreneurs and he wants to engage the community,” said Joy Randels, Director at Startup grind Tampa Bay. Mark has educated himself on entrepreneurship over the past few years and learned to embrace the chaos that comes with along with it. Randels concluded, “I hope people throughout the community will attend this event and hear what tens years of listening have done to shape Mark’s vision and how he will put that knowledge into action.”

Startup Grind will be held on Thursday December 18th (6:30- 9:00), in the Commerce Club at Oxford Exchange.


About Startup Grind:
Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Hosting monthly events in more than 135 cities around the world featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Start a Chapter in your city today! The monthly fireside chat interviews, startup mixers and annual conferences provide ample opportunities to connect with amazing startups and the people behind them, tap into a strong support network, form meaningful connections and gain inspiration for the startup journey ahead.

About Google For Entrepreneurs:
Google for Entrepreneurs empowers entrepreneurs around the world through programs, partnerships, and Google products. With over 50 programs in 110 countries, Google for Entrepreneurs seeks to grow entrepreneurial communities and to equip entrepreneurs with skills and resources to pursue their big ideas. To learn about the programs, or to grow your own skills through free online courses, visit or on Google+ at

– See more at:



Tampa Commercial Real Estate Experts

Century 21 Elite Locations, Inc. is a full-service commercial properties firm, with expertise in the acquisition, sale and leasing of investment property and commercial real estate throughout the Tampa Bay area and the U.S. From sales, leasing and management to recognizing distinct opportunities, we are your trusted partners in helping you achieve results. Our seasoned medical real estate team has  managed, leased or sold more than 500,000 square feet of commercial real estate. Our Tampa commercial real estate experts can do the same for you.  Call us today at (813) 960-0999.