Educator - Mentor - Speaker



Robert Blacklidge is fondly known as Startup Santa.

USAF Veteran and serial entrepreneur. His work building the Lakeland Ecosystem has had and continues to have a significant impact. Robert has worked to bring several international programs to the Lakeland community. (1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, and Techstars Startup Weekend.)

These current efforts are built on his past experience creating and running Hackathons including Office Depots, IEEE, Code Tampa, Startup Bus, and Biz Sprint. Robert volunteers running programs for several organizations to include Action Zone a veteran-focused business accelerator and Techstars Startup Weekend.


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Our Office Location

Lakeland Florida
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+1 (813) 763-2049
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“Robert is an amazing leader. I have seen his dedication and commitment to members of the Startup Community in Lakeland, Florida. And it’s truly inspiring.

Robert is highly analytical, thoughtful, and personable. A rare combination of highly prized skills, that’s what makes him so remarkable.

I appreciate working with Robert and look forward to creating incredible products and experiences together.”

— Mark Gai

“While at a local networking event I had the unique privilege of meeting Robert Blacklidge. Robert is able to balance analytical tenacity, with enthusiastic precision; in decision making and interactions.

Robert has an adaptive communication style, with C- Level Executives all the way to the Interns/Entry Level programmers/developers under his direction.

Robert is also willing to break down difficult concepts and create process improvement along the way with any project he is involved in. ”

— Michael Hamilton

“Robert is one of the most knowledgeable, patient, passionate, and compassionate Entrepreneurs I have ever met. After about the fifth time running into one another at different networking events in the Tampa Bay Area,

Robert and I finally connected. As fellow Veteran Entrepreneurs, we immediately formed a close bond as we realized our individual pursuits are in line with each other.

With 10 Entrepreneurial Ventures under his belt and countless credit hours of higher education, Robert is one of the most skilled and credible visionaries I've ever met.”

— Adam T Cummings


Robert Blacklidge