Monday, January 15, 2018
Colleges

Tampa Bay 'event incubator' cultivates success

TAMPA — What big idea will the Tampa Bay Sports Commission hatch next?

The newest concept is an "event incubator," essentially a one-stop shop in which the best ideas can be cultivated from conception to execution.

"We asked ourselves, 'Where's the next big event idea going to come from?' " said commission executive director Rob Higgins, who launched the program June 1 hoping to bring additional events, revenue and jobs to the area. "We needed to develop a platform to be able to answer that."

The Event Development Institute is a privately funded venture on the 23rd floor of Tampa's SunTrust Financial Centre. Its website, growyourevent.com, accepts ideas, with the best getting a review every three months.

In one room, a person or company with a concept could have all the contacts needed to execute an event either locally or elsewhere; companies offering financial help, hotels, transportation, registration, social media, event management, staffing or publicity.

Higgins compares the collaboration to the TV show Shark Tank, in which investors hear pitches from innovators seeking financial backing.

"It's a Shark Tank for sports and entertainment," Higgins said. "We'll get down to that list of events we really think have a high percentage chance to make it work."

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