Local Nonprofit’s Fundraiser Enables Trip of a Lifetime for Young Tampa Inventors

TechStart Tampa Bay, a not-for-profit using technology to inspire at-risk children, will sponsor five area students for invitation-only, National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurial Expo in Washington D.C., #NICEE16

TAMPA, Fla. – May 17, 2016 – TechStart Tampa Bay, a nonprofit 501(c)3 inspiring local at-risk youth through technology, announced today that the organization has reached its fundraising goal to sponsor five Tampa Bay area student inventors for a trip to the invitation-only, National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurial Expo (NICEE) in Washington D.C.

Ranging from 11 to 14 years of age, each aspiring inventor was selected by TechStart Tampa Bay – three due to their winning performances in the USF Young Innovators Competition that included over 700 entries. Two additional students were chosen by STEM Specialist Laura Spence of the Pinellas County Schoolboard, as a reward for their creativity and dedication to innovation.

Once the student selection was announced, TechStart Tampa Bay, in realizing the monetary needs required for such a trip, jumped into action. The nonprofit established a fundraiser on National Give Day on Tuesday, May 3 and through various donations, including a match donation from the STEMIE Coalition, reached its goal in just under one week – solidifying the trip of a lifetime for the young, local inventors.

“We’re excited and incredibly proud to assist these young, creative minds in showcasing their inventive and entrepreneurial spirit,” said TechStart Tampa Bay Program and Event Director Akira Mitchell. “Attending this conference is a wonderful opportunity for them to expand their horizons, demonstrate Kodi App their imaginative and analytical abilities amongst peers, as well as inspire innovation to positively impact their futures, and potentially the worlds.”

When NICEE begins on Thursday, May 19 the five chosen students will converge with approximately 300 other students from across the country at the United States Patent and Trademark office to showcase their inventions and compete against one another. Inventions will be judged on its process, solution, impact, and presentation.

As part of their trip of a lifetime, the students will visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, attend an IMAX 3D viewing of the Journey to Space, and be visited by a top NASA official before NICEE concludes on May 21.


To learn more, visit TechStart Tampa Bay’s website , or TechStart’s Facebook .

For more info on NICEE, click here.



About TechStart:

Founded in 2001, TechStart Tampa Bay is a local not-for-profit 501(c)3 as part of TBTF’s philanthropic arm. The nonprofit’s mission is to provide opportunities, inspiration and education to at-risk students in the tri-county Tampa Bay area. Programs include school clubs that teach and fund coding classes, robotics competitions, 3D printing camps, and more.

Red Vector Exclusive Grand Prix Sponsor

Red Vector, the leading provider online education and training for a wide range of industries, was the exclusive sponsor for TechStarts Yacht club. This permitted employees, clients and the executive team the prestigious opportunity to watch the St. Pete Grand Prix from a yacht; fully stocked with food and beverages.

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More importantly their donation allowed 50 kids from Pierce Middle School to get a backstage tour of the St. Pete Grand Prix. The kids were able to talk with mechanics, engineers, drivers and sponsors to best understand the inner workings and the necessity of STEM to make the race come to life.

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For these kids, it opened their eyes into a new world of tech and engineering. They were able to understand how the classes and programs they are involved with today, can severely impact their career of the future. Plus they got the bonus of having a day off of school and sat in an actual race car.  It was a glimpse into the incredible fun they will eventually partake in. A glimpse they never would have realized if not for Red Vector.


See all pictures on TechStart’s Facebook.

Tech Girls Rock

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On January 22nd, I visited the Wilbert Harris/Belmont Heights Boys and Girls Club to show my support and get the inside scoop on Tech Girls Rock, a workshop presented by CA Technologies. This initiative “helps girls discover and cultivate an interest in information technology (IT), and ultimately tech-related educational opportunities and careers”. 89 girls, ages 10 to 16, participated in the all day event, including morning energizers, a panelist of women leaders in technology fields, educational activities, games, and prizes. The girls gained a new perspective on computers and seemed to have lots of fun!

In the afternoon, the young ladies were broken up into three groups and went through an activity rotation. Here are some pictures!

CPU Strut: The teams learned how to put together the inside of a CPU. Then they participated in a relay race requiring them to strut across the gymnasium, position a missing part, and strut back to their teammates. Each girl walked the runway until the CPU was completed.

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Jorge Vera (Technology Director at Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay) demonstrates how to piece together the inside of a CPU.

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Thanks to CA Technology and their volunteers for encouraging these young ladies!

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Strutting with personality!

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The girls answered summary questions about what they learned and received a raffle ticket for the chance at a prize.


Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Technology Edition: The group was spilt into 4 teams of 7-8 girls, and they competed for raffle tickets.

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These girls won the trivia game! They proved that they were smarter than 5th graders!

Want to know how you would score?

Here are the questions (Answers included at the bottom of this post):

1. Name a device other than a computer you can use to surf the Internet

2. What does the symbol HD on a tv stand for?

3. What are 3 different social media websites to post pictures on?

4. Steve Forbes founded Microsoft. True or False

5. Name the two most popular search engines.

6. How many different kinds of major apple products are currently for sale?

7. What device guides you step by step on a trip to another city?

8. The CPU controls all of the computers functions it acts as the brain of the computer what does it stand for?

9. What are the two main ways to communicate on a cell phone?

10. CTRL & ALT are displayed how many times on the keyboard?

11. What technology device was named the best invention of the century by Time magazine? (Million dollar question)


Team Cheer: Each group came up with a unique cheer and performed it at the end of the day.

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  1. Gaming system, smart tv, e-reader
  2. High Definition
  3. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  4. False
  5. Google and Yahoo
  6. iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac
  7. A GPS
  8. Central processing unit
  9. Calling and texting
  10. 2
  11. iPhone