Next week I’ll be in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida to host the final WKI certification program for 2016. This program is especially exciting, as it will be hosted by WKI Certified Coaches at the Tampa Bay Caregiver Accelerator. Tampa Bay Caregiver Accelerator (TBCA) provides pre-incubation services for entrepreneurs with a caregiving focus in Tampa Bay, Florida. TBCA is designed to develop caregiving advancements, improve healthcare delivery, and seed entrepreneurial opportunities to reinvest in future innovations.
Danielle Weitlauf Callahan, WKI Certified Coach and champion of the caregiver accelerator idea, worked closely with AARP, AARP Florida, AARP Tampa Bay, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Encore Tampa Bay, and REUNIONCare, to make the Tampa Bay Caregiver Accelerator a reality. The So what? who cares? why you? methodology and pre-incubation program are the platform for this program.
The program began with a pilot in January 2016 with 19 concepts/startups and 25 founders from the Tampa/St. Petes area. Fifteen(15) graduated from the program, and twelve (12) pitched at the St. Petersburg 1 Million Cups in order to compete for the six spots available at the Caregiver Pitch Competition held in May 2016 as part of the AARP Caregiver Conference. TBCA came away with two winners at that, Marvee, a voice activated concierge service inspired by its creator’s mother, won top prize from the judge’s panel. Aristas, an educational integration program for adults with autism took home the People’s Choice award. One of these winners went on to compete at the national caregiver conference in California and won an impressive second place finish.
The success of the St. Petes pilot program is paving the way for growth. TBCA will now establish the program in two additional communities, Orlando and Jacksonville, for the 2017 season. WKI will be training and certifying the teams for these cities to prepare them to launch their So what? who cares? why you? programs in January.
WKI is pleased to play a role in this program to help founders identify ideas with potential to address the caregiver needs. With an aging population, the need for caregiving solutions will continue to be a growing problem. It’s great to see passionate communities igniting entrepreneurship to address this burning need.