This week in the Orlando region, much needed funds are approved to support the diversification and recovery of our economy plus major announcements on everything from space to semiconductors. Check out these stories and more in this week’s Orlando Tech Council Weekly Round Up. 

Featured Headlines | Upcoming Events | News from the Orlando Region

Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair

Members of the Orlando Tech Community,

Happy Friday. It’s been another big week for tech in the Orlando region.  

Below, you’ll find a few featured stories, starting with the extraordinary effort from Orange County Government on funding approvals to support the diversification and recovery of our economy. Orlando Tech Council member Andrea Wesser-Brawner has been hard at work spearheading this effort. On behalf of the Tech Council and the broader tech community in the Orlando region, I’d like to thank Orange County Government for this initiative. These efforts impacting local organizations, including some of our Tech Council members like Black Orlando Tech and Starter Studio, are a great step on the path to success for our region. You can learn more about Andrea in this week’s Profile in Tech featured below.  

We have some exciting upcoming announcements that will help us advance this mission. Be sure to follow us on social (links below) and if you’re interested in joining our effort, our next Council meeting is Tuesday, March 2 at 1 p.m. on Zoom – consider this my invitation. Email Lindsey.Sandrin@orlando.org and she’ll get you signed up.

Stay tuned for more news, events and ways to connect with the Orlando region’s tech and innovation economy. 

Cheers, 
Rajiv Menon 
Founder/CEO, Informulate
Orlando Tech Council Chair 

Profiles in Tech

Andrea Wesser-Brawner, Chief Innovation & Emerging Technologies Officer, Orange County Government

This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Andrea Wesser-Brawner, Chief Innovation & Emerging Technologies Officer at Orange County Government and Ecosystem Committee Chair for the Orlando Tech Council. Learn about how her dream of becoming an Imagineer brought her to Orlando and all of the unique assets that make our region unique. Click here to read her story.

Headlines

Orange County approves $2 million to diversify economy amid COVID-19 recovery

This week, Orange County commissioners approved to spend upwards of $2 million in a strategy seeking to diversity and accelerate the recovery of our regional economy. The funds will go towards several organizations with direct efforts to stimulate the economy including the National Entrepreneurship Center, Starter Studio, Rally and Black Orlando Tech. Sharing how this is an important step to move our economy forward, Mayor Jerry Demings stated, “We look to our community partners who are our new grantees to serve the under-represented groups of entrepreneurs and residents they themselves come from. …Furthermore, our new investments in social entrepreneurship, which tend to be driven by minority and women founders, will bring equitable innovations to our community.” Read more about this effort including all the organizations it benefits here.

Semiconductor reshoring opportunity for the Orlando region

This week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order for a 100-day government review of the gaps in U.S. supply chains, specifically related to semiconductor chips, large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and others. This review could reduce U.S. reliance China and others for crucial goods and lead to economic growth opportunities and financial incentives benefitting organizations like Osceola County’s NeoCity Center for NeoVation, including BRIDG. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and others signaled support for the President to enact the Defense Production Act to help bolster the ability for U.S. companies to meet the needs of current supply chain shortages. Coming on the heels of SkyWater Technology’s move to the region to operate the Center for NeoVation, this opportunity for strong federal government support for semiconductor reshoring could help boost production locally, further diversify our economy and create jobs while improving national security and contributing to infrastructure development.

Why Orlando’s tech & innovation is out of this world

On the heels of NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover landing, Ocean Insight cut the ribbon on its new global headquarters in Orange County, large enough to accommodate 100 new, high-wage positions over the next three years. An optical sensor manufacturer that invented the world’s first miniature-sized spectrometer, Ocean Insight’s technology has been deployed on past Mars Rover missions and the company participates in projects with the European Space Agency and companies like SpaceX for calibration and measurement of space-bound systems. This is a perfect example of how fast-growing tech companies contribute to both our region’s economic recovery as well as the nation’s ongoing commitment to exploration and innovation.

 

High-tech missile contract comes to Orlando

Long before Orlando became the theme park capital of the world, Lockheed Martin opened a complex in the region to support America’s space race and its presence has grown ever since. This week, we learned the defense contractor secured a pair of missile contracts with the U.S. Air Force and Navy worth a combined $842 million, which is huge news for the region’s economy. The Bethesda-based company already employs more than 8,000 workers in Orlando and is expanding locally with a goal to employ 9,000 people by 2023. With more than 450 current Orlando job openings, including high-wage roles like analysts and engineers, these contracts are poised to launch a local workforce boom that will further fuel our economic recovery. Learn why Lockheed Martin chose to expand its R&D in Orlando.

Tech Salaries in Orlando among the fastest growing in the nation, report says

A recent report from Dice.com shows that tech salaries in the Orlando region grew 13.4% from 2019 to 2020, reaching $88,598 on average per year. This acceleration placed Orlando as second on the list of fastest growing tech salaries in the country. One of our primary competitor markets, Tampa, the only other Florida metro in the report, saw its average annual tech salaries decline by 1.1% to $87,809. Read more here.

Save the Date | Upcoming Events

Events for the Week of March 1

Tuesday, March 2
7 p.m., Headquarters Coworking – Founders Night at Headquarters – Productivity Hacks!

Wednesday, March 3
9 a.m., 1 Million Cups (1MC)
9:45 a.m., Florida Venture Forum begins
5:30 p.m., Seminole Tech – Investing Tech

Thursday, March 4
9:45 a.m., Florida Venture Forum

Friday, March 5
11 a.m., Alliance for Regional Transportation – ART Education Series: Empowering a Regional Transportation
Noon, General Assembly – Women in Tech Breakfast

Events on the Horizon

February 6-March 14 – Creative City Project – Down the Rabbit Hole
March 8-11, 2021 – Synapse Summit
March 18, 2021 – Avalon Park Group – The 5th Floor co-working space grand opening

ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region

*Have a story you would like OTC to feature? Email Sheena.Fowler@Orlando.org

The Orlando Tech Council is composed of private industry, resource organizations and public partners that work to develop new programs with the core objectives: strengthen the Orlando region’s innovation resources, create new opportunities for companies to scale, and to amplify the region’s success stories, raising the global profile of Orlando as a leading community for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Special thanks to our Orlando Tech Council Members