At the end of August, in response to what we saw as the continued and growing need for grassroots community organizing to better support University area residents and small businesses in Uptown, we launched the Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative.

With the 14th member organization joining this week, we wanted to give a shout out to the area businesses that have come together as founding members of the Community Collaborative,  in support of the Uptown Tampa Community!  Please join us in welcoming these great companies and organizations, and learning more about the great work they do, and how we plan to do more of it together!

The Tampa Museum of Science and Industry is a beloved institution in Tampa, and an iconic part of the Uptown/University area community. Their focus is programming for youth, and they are looking to develop robotics programs for younger children to help pave the way for robotics education in the higher grades.



The Hillsborough County Public Library System is represented, in the University area, by the Arthenia Joyner Public Library on 22nd Street North.  Long time partners of FCDI and AMRoC Fab Lab, the library is specifically interested in alleviating low literacy rates, including the areas of information and financial literacy

The Small Business Development Center at Hillsborough County is a partner in the AMRoC Fab Lab Equity in Entrepreneurship program. They’re interested in in supporting efforts to create more opportunities in the University/Uptown Tampa area, for small business development.


Grow to Greatness Ventures is a startup studio and venture builder
business development program, currently partnered with FCDI/AMRoC Fab Lab on the Equity in Entrepreneurship program. G2G Ventures was established to address the gap in early-stage startup business ideas, focusing on supporting and serving the Unlikely and Underrepresented Entrepreneurs of Tampa Bay.   G2G Ventures wants to address network gaps in the area and will continue spearheading the Equity in Entrepreneurship Start Up Studio program in Uptown.


Based in the University area, the Caribbean American National Development Organization – CANDO – focuses on promoting and uniting diverse cultures and partnerships. They serve as a catalyst and advocate for the economic development, enrichment and advancement of our Caribbean American community in the Tampa Bay area.  CANDO strives for Cultural Diversity and Inclusiveness , Integrity and Transparency  and Collaboration and Partnerships.  CANDO hosts health fairs and cultural events in the area, and several CANDO members serve as mentors in the Equity in Entrepreneurship program.


NET Synergy Virtual Solutions – NETSVS – is a data management and process automation company, based at University Mall.  They want to improve access to resources and tools for learning, and are interested in spearheading technology education programs.  They currently have an Associate Automation program in place and are working to develop programmer apprenticeship programs.  NETSVS developers are also mentors in the Equity in Entrepreneurship program at AMRoC Fab Lab.



Bits4Bots, LLC is a STEM education, professional and hobby electronics company that sources electronic components for small projects & develops kid friendly PCB hardware. They’ve been a great community partner at AMRoC Fab Lab, running youth electronics programs and collaborating on different projects with the Fab Lab. One of the biggest obstacles  Bits4Bots see in the University area to science and tech literacy is transportation and internet access.  To that end, Bits4Bots is interested in helping organize a Hardware Club to boost STEM education in the area.

US Auto Training serves a wide range of automotive clientele – from mom-and-pop shops to international corporations, and provides automotive certification training ranging from automotive tech to fleet maintenance.  US Auto Training sees a lack of educational opportunity and educational and training venues to help give people quality workforce skills in the automotive industry.  They’re taking the lead on Automotive technology training in Uptown. “There is an eight percent growth projected in the next six years (technician shortage of more than 46,000 by 2026),” says US Auto Training founder Pam Oakes . “Let’s take those who are already in the trenches & educate. Move them from that $9/hr job into a $20-plus/hr by starting them with an ASE G1, P2 or C1. Higher wages through education!”

Pioneer Medical Foundation serves the homeless, refugee, uninsured, and underinsured adult community by providing them with free health care access and hygiene supplies. The program has expanded through their mobile medical unit to service three counties with an average of 16 clinic sites per week.  In Uptown, they work out of Lily Pharmacy, another of our Uptown Community Collaborative members, hosting a free clinic twice a week.  They want to address the need for improved access to healthcare and preventative services.

Lily Pharmacy is a full service pharmacy and health clinic located at the east end of University Mall.  In collaboration with Pioneer Medical Foundation, and Blue Wellness, they operate free health care clinics at the pharmacy and provide a host of testing and other services free of charge to those in need. Through the Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative, they want to help people better connect with resources for health and wellness, and help people find affordable healthcare that works best for their health not their budget.

eSmart Recycling is an electronics recycling social enterprise that works to recycle old technology from individuals and companies and use the proceeds to fund tech labs for kids without access to computers worldwide.  They’d like to see everyone get on the same page with regard to doing well by doing good,  and “understanding that we are only as strong as our weakest link”.



Gentrispot is devoted to informing communities on the advantages and disadvantages of gentrification. They serve as a consultant to cities, developers, and organizations to create plans to ensure residents are able to benefit from gentrification in their area.  The biggest challenge Gentrispot founder Zuri Mabry sees in the area ” is deriving from the new Uptown revitalization project that will displace many residents as a result of rising property taxes. There are many residents and older homes in that area that will not be able to withstand the new gentrification efforts that is going on. There needs to be focus groups to handle this effort …”  Gentrispot seeks to advocate towards helping educate Uptown residents on the positive and negative effects of gentrification while new projects are being built and designed, and will spearhead focus groups and discovery sessions to help identify challenges and opportunities to help Uptown residents benefit from changes underway.

Laping Martial Arts Inc. is a mixed martial arts school located in University Mall that focuses on four main styles: Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Krav Maga and Muay Thai. They see the lack of disposable income as a challenge in the area, affecting people’s ability to enjoy programs and experiences outside of the usual necessities. They would like to help bring more traffic to University Mall and promote some of the small businesses, and would like to spearhead creating a festival or market experience in the mall.



FCDI – the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation – is the parent nonprofit of AMROC Fab Lab.  FCDI is dedicated to supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs and active learning projects. In addition to AMRoC Fab Lab, FCDI annually hosts ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, an annual youth STEAM Showcase event and Gulf Coast MakerCon, Tampa’s original Maker Festival, and facilitates fiscal sponsorship of competitive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing/Math) K-12 teams.  FCDI believes that collaboration is key to a strong community with inclusive access and opportunity for everyone, especially those who have been traditionally excluded from access and opportunity, and is excited about what the Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative has the potential to accomplish.

The Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative will be hosting community events over the holidays, pulling together Uptown Tampa focus group opportunities, and working together to facilitate a Forward Cities program for equity in entrepreneurship ecosystem roadmap development.  Members will be cross promoting and sharing each other’s events and programs online and at their respective places of business, as well.  You can read more about the goals and vision of the Uptown Tampa CC here.

If you, your business or organization is located in or near Uptown Tampa and would like to join the Collaborative, please click the button below to go to the membership form.

Join the Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative!