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Tech Meets Taste welcomed a large crowd which included investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses and more.

Tech Meets Taste is a summer event unlike any other in this region. Held annually at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, it’s an evening that brings together people and places in tech, business, and food from around the community.

“Originally, the question was, ‘How do we merge business with local and independent businesses in Syracuse,” said Chris Fowler, the Founder and Executive Director of SyracuseFirst–an organization whose mission is to “think local. buy local. be local.”

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Fowler (left) is the founder of SyracuseFirst and runs Tech Meets Taste every year.

At the recent Tech Meets Taste,  the Tech Garden also celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

With a humorous note, The Tech Garden’s web site notes how, “The Tech Garden started in a garage, literally.”

Today, the Tech Garden “provide[s] the environment and resources needed to foster the growth of emerging technology companies and support regional, national and global technology commercialization,” its site notes.

Food, Music, and Entrepreneurship

The event was an exciting way to celebrate local innovators, entrepreneurs, food and music from Central New York. The event utilized the outdoor patio at the Tech Garden, something rarely done, since most meetings, seminars and business are held indoors there. “The space is so cool,” said Fowler. “It’s a really nice piece of real estate and I always thought there should be a function here.”

Showcasing Local 

According to the Tech Meets Taste facebook page, CenterState CEO, the Tech Garden and SyracuseFirst also partnered with AmeriCU Credit Union to host the evening. Fowler estimated that the event showcased more than 35 businesses, which included Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen and Urban Life Athletics.

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Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen offers various cookie flavors ranging from Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip to Chewy Almond.

Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen had a table set up with samples and cookies of various flavors such as Milky Way Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter. While one of her primary goals was to share her cookies (they’re made using organic and natural ingredients) with the community, she also used the event as a chance to connect with people.

“I love it–it’s a great opportunity to meet people,” said Cathy Pemberton, the owner of Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen. She also frequently attends farmers markets and events to spread the word about her business.

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Pemberton, owner of Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen, spoke with event goers at Tech Meets Taste.

Similarly, other restaurants and cafes at Tech Meets Taste used the event interact with potential customers.

Small businesses that don’t always have large budgets for marketing use events like Tech Meets Taste to promote new and current products as well as encourage attendees to visit their locations in-person.

It was exciting to walk around and hear event-goers say “I’ve never been to this restaurant,” or “is this product new? what’s it called?”

Calorie Burning Offered

On the far side of the patio, Urban Life Athletics set up a stationery bicycle and challenged attendees to burn as many calories as possible in 60 seconds. The challenge was an interesting way for people to get competitive with their friends, but also learn more about the classes and workouts offered by the company.

“This event has been going on for a couple of years,” said Eric Hinman, the Founder and CEO of Urban Life Athletics, which offers crossfit, spinning and high-intensity training. Hinman believes that, “… and the more people you meet, the more opportunities you will have. There are a lot of like-minded people to do business with.” He ought to know… Hinman is a serial entrepreneur, as a founder/co-founder of several startup and tech companies, as well as a repeat Ironman competition qualifier.

Networking for Anyone 

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The Tech Meets Taste Event used the outdoor patio space at the Tech Garden.

While the Tech Garden houses startups and typically hosts events and seminars for small businesses, Tech Meets Taste offered something more:

“It’s about networking and getting people to come and enjoy downtown, outside and just connect,” said Fowler. “The entrepreneurial spirit is all about connecting.”

Glenna Price, an event-goer, agreed: “There’s a great mix of people that don’t always get together,” said Price. “They are all talking and when people are talking and networking, amazing things happen.”

To learn about future events hosted by SyracuseFirst, follow the organization on Twitter or Facebook.

Find out more about what’s going on at The Syracuse Tech Garden here.

Have you got a comment about this event, or would you like to see more of these celebrations happening? Please let us know in the comments section, here!