Startup Weekend Panama City

    Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Panama City

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017
Event starts at 5:30 pm

GCSC Advanced Technology Center
5230 West US Hwy 98
Panama City, Florida 32401

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Panama City Startup Weekend 2017 - Learn, Network, Startup

Startup Weekend, the 54-hour event where all business types come together to pitch an idea and learn how to launch a business, all in one weekend. The event is an excellent opportunity to meet a lot of like-minded individuals. You can test ideas, meet potential co-founders while helping to build the entrepreneurial community in Northwest Florida and launch your next startup! Participants can register before the event and on-site. 

This is the fourth year for Startup Weekend for Panama City, and the organizers have set high marks for another tremendous success. Beginning with networking, entrepreneur perspective, and open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their teams. Saturday and Sunday, teams focus on product development, proof of concept, lean startup methodologies, and a viable product. On Sunday evening, teams demo their prototype concept and receive feedback from a panel of experts, plus a chance to win prizes and bragging rights as the Best 2017 Big Idea. 

Two educational and inspirational additions this year have been added to share knowledge and product.  Speakers will inspire through workshops on Saturday where entrepreneurs can step in no matter their level of business acumen and learn more about the next steps for growth.  On Sunday a showcase by a local K-8 school, Rising Leader Academy who is currently implementing an Entrepreneurship curriculum, will bring students marketing self-made or produced products, will tabletop display and sell their wares for purchase.  This session will be open to the public. With an overwhelming response last year by the public to be in the audience for the final pitches on Sunday, there will be an opportunity to purchase tickets for that session, too.

For more information visit 

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Friday March 31st

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:45 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday April 1st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday April 2nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Robert Kirila
Chief Operating Officer, Doolittle Institute Inc.

Chief Operating Officer, Doolittle Institute Inc.; Motivational Speaker - Kirila Group LLC Niceville, Florida Defense & Space.

7th Special Forces Group, Special Operations Planning and Liaison Element, Combined Joint Task Force - OIR, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan

Event Judges

Tammala Spencer

Jennifer Wolgamott
Senior Manager

Jennifer Wolgamott is a Senior Manager at ZHA providing planning, strategy and owner’s representation services for infrastructure projects in Northwest Florida.  Her clients include the City of Panama City, the City of Panama City Beach and Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Jennifer is a registered Architect with more than 25 years of experience.  She has worked on projects as diverse as the design standards for 150 new schools for Los Angeles Unified School District to programming and estimating a half a million square feet of sheds at the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi. 

Nicholas A. Beninate, Partner Harrison Sale McCloy ATTORNEYS AT LAWs

Mr. Beninate earned his Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from the University of Florida in 2006 and his B.A. from the University of Virginia, where he majored in both Biology and Environmental Science. Currently, he serves as City Attorney of Mexico Beach, serves as general counsel to the Panama City Bay-County Airport and Industrial District and the Northwest Florida Transportation Corridor Authority, and assists various businesses with their real estate and corporate needs.

Coaches and Mentors

Chris Josten

Dr. Mike Wallace
FSU Professor

Rick Hurst

Mike Ross

Jim Riley

Steve Millaway

Jayme Thomas

Holly Pituch

Dr. Emmanuel Hernandez Agosto

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Panama City team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Panama City is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Pamela
  • Tammala
  • Naisy


Corey Smith
Facilitator / Organizer

At 16, Corey ran an offset printing press for his father.

At 21, after a mission for his church in Albania, he bought and sold printing and graphics services. Corey taught himself how to use a $400 Macintosh to produce graphics that he could sell. IKON Office Solutions then hired him to use his self-taught graphics skills to run a graphics department for them in Salt Lake City in 1998… the same year Corey married his beautiful bride, Jennifer.

Together, Jen and Corey have five wonderful children.

Corey has always had a passion for business, technology and education. So, after working in the office equipment industry for over 8 years, teaching graphic design for Web at University of Utah, serving as a Color Systems Specialist for Canon USA, and going back to school for an undergraduate in Information Technology and a Master in Business administration, both from University of Phoenix, he started Tribute Media in 2007.

Corey has recently turned the reigns of Tribute Media over to a long-time trusted employee and friend and moved on to the role of Founder/Chief Vision Officer. He is now ready for his next move -- to start up something new

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