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Published: March 05, 2024

Lowth Entrepreneurship Center Celebrates Alumni Achievements at Annual Awards Ceremony

The University of Tampa's John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, part of the Sykes College of Business, hosted its annual Alumni Awards ceremony on Feb. 29. 

Lowth Entrepreneurship Center Celebrates Alumni Achievements at Annual Awards CeremonyThe University of Tampa's John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, part of the Sykes College of Business, hosted its annual Alumni Awards ceremony on Feb. 29.

This year's event honored three individuals for exceptional contributions to entrepreneurship and society:

  • Marty Rifkin ’82 received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his enduring impact and contributions to the entrepreneurial landscape. Rifkin co-founded and launched (with his wife, Kate) Northwest Natural Products, inventing and bringing to market brands like Gummy Vites and Vitafusion.
  • Martika Jones ’19 was awarded the Young Entrepreneur Award for her innovative achievements and the successful application of her education in launching and growing her business. Jones founded BUP, a company that integrates NFC technology with AI-driven analytics.
  • Val Marks received the Service to Entrepreneurs Award for her significant contributions to the entrepreneurial community and her role in enhancing the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center's programming through her work on the Center’s advisory board.

The Alumni Awards event is a cornerstone program for the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit and achievements of UT alumni. The event also serves as a vital networking opportunity for current students, allowing them to connect with and learn from successful entrepreneurs.

Rifkin called the evening, which had a record attendance of about 200 people, “uplifting for all the entrepreneurs in attendance.”

Dean A. Koutroumanis, associate director of the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center said, “Each awardee's journey reflects the transformative power of entrepreneurship, inspiring us all to reach greater heights and make a lasting impact on the world."

Jones credited much of her success to UT’s Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program.

“It taught me how to take a company from ideation to implementation in just 12 months, and being part of both the accelerator and incubator programs was a game-changer for me," she said.

UT’s entrepreneurship major is one of the largest on campus and provides students with skills that are critical for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur or think like one.

Marks called her work with the entrepreneurship program "an honor and joy.”

“Helping young entrepreneurs shape their business plans and achieve milestone successes is such a rewarding experience,” she said.

The Lowth Center, part of the Sykes College of Business, is located within the Daly Innovation and Collaboration Building at UT. The space is creatively designed to bring together prospective student entrepreneurs, educators, and experienced executives to generate, define and develop entrepreneurial concepts and to launch new ventures.

For more information, see the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center website at www.ut.edu/entrepreneurcenter/.


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