This week in the Orlando region, upcoming relief for Zoom fatigue and project announcements that will bring more magic and Top Gun technology to the region. Read those headlines and more in this week’s Weekly Tech Round Up.

Featured Headlines | Upcoming Events | News from the Orlando Region

Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair

Happy Friday, all.  

Thank you to our OTC members and guests that joined us this week for what will, hopefully, be our last fully-virtual Tech Council meeting. As you heard, our committees are full steam ahead on a number of initiatives and I look forward to their public launches. As always, for members who are not yet in a committee, please reach out to Lindsey or myself to find the right fit for you to make an impact during this exciting time for Tech and Innovation in Orlando. In the meantime, read on for two big updates.  

Sheena Fowler, the VP of Innovation for the Orlando Economic Partnership and the Executive of this Council has taken on a new position with an exciting company that is new to the region. News of her new venture will be made public in the near future. She has had an exemplary tenure for over a decade and we wish her all the best!  

Tim Giuliani, OEP President and CEO, joined our Council meeting and announced that OEP support for this Council is expanding. Additional resources are being added to support this Council’s activity and of course, the position vacated by Sheena is being filled as soon as possible. You can find the job description and application for the position of VP of Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship here. In the meantime, Lindsey Sandrin, the Partnership’s Director of Innovation, will continue to provide support and ensure continuity of all Council functions. If you have any questions, you can reach Lindsey here.

I’m sure we are all in whatever phase lies beyond Zoom fatigue and are ready to get back into networking. The Council is partnering with Project Orlando for a  Post-Quarantine Relaunch Party on July 22. Open to all members of the tech community, the event will be a “celebration of the tech ecosystem in Central Florida” and will give us all an opportunity for some much-needed face-to-face interaction. Be sure to register here and we look forward to seeing you Thursday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Abbey. 

Stay tuned for more news, events and ways to connect with the Orlando region’s tech and innovation economy. Also, feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues who can get on our mailing list here

Rajiv Menon 
Founder/CEO, Informulate
Orlando Tech Council Chair 

Profile in Tech: Jennifer Barrows, Withum

In this edition of Profiles in Tech, Withum‘s Business Development Executive Jennifer Barrows discusses intellectual curiosity and the region’s opportunity to create the ecosystem that we want to see. Click here to read more.


Technology and defense firm Red 6 chooses Orlando for new technology hub

The future of Top Gun is coming to Orlando! This week, Red 6, a technology firm at the forefront of synthetic air combat training, announced it will open a new Technology Hub in Orlando. The company is leaving California to join Orlando’s internationally renowned simulation and training industry, which creates the ideal foundation for Red 6’s next phase of growth. The company is creating 100 new jobs in Florida with plans for even more jobs in the future and this news highlights the strength of our tech economy. We look forward to seeing Red 6’s innovation come to life in our community. You can read the full release here and join us in welcoming Red 6 to the Orlando region by sharing this announcement on your social media accounts: 

Disney opening campus in Lake Nona, bringing 2,000+ jobs to the region

Today, the Walt Disney Company announced it will relocate its Parks, Experiences and Products Division to Orlando, bringing 2,000 high-wage jobs with average annual salaries of $120,000 to the region with plans for a regional campus in Lake Nona, one of our region’s premier centers for innovation. The true magic of this decision is the immediate economic impact, but also the ripple effects it could have on bringing more diverse businesses to our region. The message to businesses around the globe is clear: Orlando’s affordable cost of living, abundant and highly skilled workforce and focus on all-in support make it an outstanding destination to locate and to grow. Disney’s expanding presence in Orlando is a huge win for both our region and its residents. Our small world just got a little bigger and a little more magical. 

Have an idea that could change the world? This $200M annual grant program could get you started.

Powered by the National Science Foundation, America’s Seed Fund is looking for early-stage companies in need of funding. Since 2012, the grant program has made approximately 3,400 awards to startups and small businesses in fields including robotics, semiconductors and AI. You can read more about the program and the multi-phase application process here

Orlando No. 3 on new list of cities where tech workers are flocking

Orlando ranks No. 3 on Business Insider’s list of the 10 unexpected cities where tech workers are flocking, with a 30 percent increase in tech talent from 2015-2020. Orlando, with its low cost of living, business friendly environment and unrivaled quality of life, continues to prove exceedingly attractive to those seeking a more affordable yet equally thriving tech ecosystem in which to live, work and play. With tech workers the primary element driving a city’s innovation infrastructure, our region’s influx of talent positions our economy for sustained success well into the future. 

Synapse Orlando returning this October 

A big topic of conversation in our meeting this week was around the upcoming Synapse Orlando, this year presented by Truist. We are excited to expand upon the successes of the inaugural Synapse Orlando event in 2019, showcasing the region’s incredible tech and innovation ecosystem and the rapid growth we’re seeing. With a heavy focus on experiences, we are planning unique experiential site visits and hands-on interactions woven together with a full day of exciting presentations and workshops. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please reach out to Lindsey with any questions or interest. 

Save the Date | Upcoming Events

Events for the Weeks of July 19

Monday, July 19
11:30 a.m. – Game Developers Conference begins

Tuesday, July 20
11:30 a.m. – Game Developers Conference continues

Wednesday, July 21
9 a.m. – 1 Million Cups
11:30 a.m. – Game Developers Conference continues
1 p.m. – SBDC at the University of Central Florida – Government Contracting proposals: Evaluation Readiness

Thursday, July 22
11:30 a.m. – Game Developers Conference continues
5:30 p.m. – Project Orlando – Post-Quarantine Relaunch Party
6 p.m. – HackerX

Friday, July 23
11:30 a.m. – Game Developers Conference last day

Events on the Horizon

July 27 – Synapse – Libate & learn Episode 34 | Back to the Office: The Transition Back to In-Person Work
August 4-25 – Foundation for Orlando’s Future – SKILLFUL® Talent Series presented by JPMorgan Chase
August 17 – GrowFL – East Central Florida Finalist Celebration
August 19 – Orlando Regional Chamber – All Women Empowered (AWE) Impact Forum
September 16 – GrowFL – East Central Florida Chapter Membership Mixer
October 15 – Synapse Orlando
October 15-17 – Creative City Project – Immerse
October 22 – GrowFL – Statewide Membership Meeting

ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region

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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