Mark Sharpe is the Chief Potential Officer / Executive Director of the Tampa Innovation Partnership

Seven years ago – A small band of determined people took on the task of building the Tampa Innovation Alliance. Our early supporters understood that the University Area is more than just an “area” and far better and brighter than the ugly descriptive: “suitcase city”. Which is why so many area residents now proudly call their home Uptown. 

Seven years ago we launched Phase I: All we needed to do was join forces with the major institutions within walking distance of the University of South Florida including AdventHealth Tampa, Busch Gardens, Moffitt Center Center and Research Institute, the University Area Community Development Corporation (UACDC), the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, and RD Management – which had begun the process of purchasing University Mall and beginning its transformation to RITHM@Uptown. 

More than 250 additional members joined the cause and seven years later we are now launching Phase II: the introduction of Soaring City Innovation Partnership – a 501c3  Urban Tech Ecosystem Developer.

Our mission is to grow a resilient community at Uptown. This takes partnerships – partnerships like the ones we’ve had all along with the anchor institutions previously mentioned and like the one we have with TECO, which has been an Advisory Board member of Tampa !p for several years and stepped up its commitment to Soaring City. And partnerships like that we have with Florida Blue, another long-time Advisory Board member that has more than doubled-down on its commitment to Uptown. 

Florida Blue’s David Pizzo is joined by Thaddeus Bullard, Sarah Combs, Mark Sharpe, and dozens of community partners at the announcement of the Growing Resilient Communities grant

Florida Blue announced its Growing Resilient Communities (GRC) program at RITHM@Uptown last summer and partnered with Soaring City !p to take on the challenge. 

Today we are asking you to join Florida Blue and Soaring City !p in what will be one of the greatest efforts in America History to end generational poverty. The GRC program is an all-out assault on the destructive forces of generational poverty which have held many within the Uptown community in its insidious grip. By bringing together an unprecedented array of people, institutions, companies, and government forces, the GRC program will break the bonds which have held our neighbors down for generations and inspired the best and brightest to move away and take their talents elsewhere for greater opportunities and amenities.

Pandemics, global conflict, and inflation are capable of destroying the lives of many people and upending our poorer communities. Our mission is to grow a resilient community at Uptown that can withstand these forces while connecting the community to the most advanced technologies, savvy entrepreneurs, capital, and connected built environment in the world. 

We are partnering with a broad, eclectic mix of world-changers to build a place where everyone can express themselves and be part of the next American economic revolution that will herald the spatial web, AI, cloud computing, quantum technology, and people making our planet a better place. 

Soaring City !p & Florida Blue are thrilled to announce this new venture as we mark the 7th year of our organization. 

See you on March 31 and April 1