Florida-Israel Business Accelerator Announces Rachel Marks Feinman as New Executive Director

Tampa native offers blend of corporate and community experience to bring Israeli innovation to city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem TAMPA – October 18, 2017 – The Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) is pleased to announce that Rachel Marks Feinman has been appointed as the organization’s new executive director. In this capacity, Ms. Feinman will be responsible for driving the overall growth and development strategy of the organization. Ms. Feinman brings more than 15 years of corporate experience to the position, having most recently served as a corporate partner at Tampa-based law firm Hill Ward Henderson working closely with many of the investors and companies at the center of Tampa’s local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Additionally, she has held three consecutive terms as President of the Gasparilla International Film Festival, where she was responsible for fundraising efforts, cultivating key relationships and overseeing strategic development. “Our work at FIBA is extremely complex and nuanced, and Rachel offers the perfect blend of corporate, legal and community experience that can help take this organization to the next level,” said Sue Schoenbaum, a past president of the Tampa Jewish Community Centers and Federation and co-chair of the FIBA advisory board. FIBA is a business development accelerator and community engagement program dedicated to establishing and growing Israeli tech ventures in Florida and the Tampa Bay area in particular. A unique project of the Tampa Jewish Community Centers and Federation, FIBA identifies Israeli technologies that can solve business problems and fill challenge-gaps for Florida companies, and supports them with the necessary resources to enter the U.S. market. “Tampa has become a breeding ground for innovation and urban renewal, and all signs suggest this renaissance has only just begun,” said Ms. Feinman. “At the same time, Israel has been leading the world in patents per capita and revolutionary ideas. By matching Israeli companies ready for U.S. operations with local investment and access to potential customers, we can advance our own entrepreneurial ecosystem while supporting Israel.” Ms. Feinman says Tampa’s startup scene is nascent but growing. In fact, Tampa was recently recognized by Entrepreneur.com as one of the top 7 cities competing with Silicon Valley for tech entrepreneurs, and Fortune.com named Tampa as one of the top 25 hottest cities for startups. Tampa International Airport is also undergoing a massive one-billion-dollar overhaul and much attention is being paid to the billion-dollar Water Street Tampa redevelopment project, a mixed-use urban project pioneered by Jeff Vinik and co-funded by Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment. Mr. Vinik’s recent partnership to bring the successful Philadelphia-based DreamIt Ventures to Tampa is just another exciting development in this space. “Signs of growth are everywhere in Tampa and as a result, the possibilities for new investment are endless,” said Ms. Schoenbaum. “Israeli startups are creating products and technologies never thought possible, from drones and automated irrigation to new treatments for cancer, and our community can play a key role in bringing them to the United States.” Ms. Feinman is a Tampa native who has also cultivated a deep love and affinity for Israel. She is an alum of the Young Judaea movement and spent a semester in college studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has also been active in the local Jewish community since moving back to Tampa nearly 10 years ago. Ms. Feinman attended the University of Florida where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.  She earned her juris doctorate, cum laude, from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City.   For more information: Contact Rachel Marks Feinman at Rachel@fiba.io or (813) 291-2304
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