Why Tampa Bay for The Iron Yard?

This is a post from George Junginger, our Campus Director in Tampa-St. Petersburg. 

There’s still time to apply for our September 22nd classes. Apply online today!

Why Tampa Bay? What is it about Tampa Bay that’s so special?

It seems to me that the words “innovation” and “entrepreneurship” are everywhere we look. Everyone seems to want to create a “culture of innovation”, a “center for entrepreneurship” in their city. And they’re right. Growth comes from the ability to create new businesses. It also comes from businesses that are attracted to an area because they will be supported by the community and the workforce. It’s that favorable environment that says, “This is where I want to be.”

That environment is created not by natural resources, but by people. The people in the area have to embrace that culture. They have to make it part of the fabric of how they are defined.

It always comes down to people.

From an innovation/entrepreneur perspective, just look at what Tampa Bay has to offer. Every one of the organizations was created by people—people who believe in Tampa Bay, who want to help Tampa Bay. People who see the potential in the area and in its citizens.

Sylvia Martinez of Collaborative Technologies, encapsulates that idea well: 

The determination and passion to make Tampa Bay an incredible place to work, live, and play is apparent just about everywhere I go…people are collaborating more than ever before because it’s common knowledge that we all share the same goal. That collaboration and willingness to help one another—along with important economy-building efforts like The Iron Yard—will no doubt take Tampa Bay to that next level success.

We couldn’t agree more. Let’s take a look at the specifics of what we have going on in the Bay area. 

  • USF ranks 12th in the world in the number of patents issued in 2013. In fact, when you add the patents received by UCF and UF, they rank higher than the patents received by the universities in the Raleigh-Durham (RTP) area  and the entire University of Texas system PLUS Rice and Texas A&M.
  • Tampa Bay Wave – This well-respected resource was started as a “by entrepreneur, for entrepreneur” non profit in 2008. It now includes First WaVE Venture Center and First WaVE Accelerator.
  • Tampa Bay Innovation Center – Their mission statement is “Accelerate Entrepreneurial Success”
  • Tampa Bay Technology Forum – Dedicated to growing and promoting Tampa Bay’s technology “eco-system”.
  • SMARTstart Incubator – Designed to engage entrepreneurs, grow new businesses and create job opportunities in Pasco County.
  • USFSP – One of only two state universities in Florida to offer an undergrad in Entrepreneurship. USF, the main campus, offers a graduate/masters degree in Entrepreneurship (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technologies).
  • Greenhouse – A collaboration between the city of St Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of St. Petersburg. Its purpose is to help you create or grow your business with counseling, training. access to capital and credit, and many other services.
  • TEC Garage – Provides entrepreneurs with the tools needed to turn an idea into a business or take the business to the next level.

There is an undeniable culture of innovation in Tampa Bay. You could even argue that it extends into the streets when you look at the number of local agencies, restaurants, stores and companies which are opening.

The Iron Yard wants to be a part of Tampa Bay’s growth and we want to provide one of the most critical ingredients to keep it going: talent. As a recent review of the best performing US cities concluded,

Talent thus appears to underpin tech-based economic growth. As Ross DeVol, the primary author of the report and the chief research officer at the Milken Institute wrote to me via email: “It really is a talent/human capital story this year and the relationship to tech.

We are committed to providing the tools and education that will help continue to fuel an already supercharged economic engine with job-ready developers.

Interested in starting a career in programming? Applications are still open for our September 22nd courses! Apply online today

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About theironyard

The Iron Yard exists to create exceptional growth and mentorship for people, their companies and their ideas through code education and startup accelerators.