As seen on Axios “FIBA aims to solve Tampa Bay business problems with Israeli tech”

The massive building on North Howard Avenue in Tampa was once a place for history-making men, a former armory stocked for war and full of machismo.

  • Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders camped there before fighting in the Spanish-American War. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy both spoke there. Even Elvis was at the former Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, playing a show for 10,000 fans in 1956.

Now, as the Jewish Community Center, the building hosts two women who hope to help transform Tampa Bay and perceptions of Israel.

Context: Rakefet Bachur-Phillips and Pam Miniati took over as co-directors of the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) just before the pandemic hit in 2020.

  • The lockdowns and lack of travel were a challenge for the organization, which was established in 2016 to help Israeli startups build a presence in Florida.
  • But they’ve come out on the other side with a more focused program ready to bring more startups to Tampa Bay’s booming tech economy.

What they’re saying: “We used to really have to convince people to come to Tampa,” Bachur-Phillips told Axios. “We don’t have to do that anymore.”

Their stories: Bachur-Phillips, who was born and raised outside Tel Aviv, served in the Israeli military before finding her way to Tampa and later joining FIBA as a program director.

Read the full article on Axios Tampa Bay here.

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