This month in the Orlando region, we work towards “addressing the lifecycle of the community,” applications for the Orlando Tech Grant are now open, and more big local investments and partnerships are announced. That and more can be found in this edition of the Tech Round Up.
Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair
I’m thrilled to be sending this out to you all – the first of my monthly newsletter as Chair of the OTC. I first want to thank Past Chairs Adam Scheinberg and Rajiv Menon for their leadership the past two years, as well as Orlando Economic Partnership team and all the OTC members who have kept this Council going even in the midst of a Pandemic. I am excited to bring a new vision to the group and look forward to strengthening the relationship between the OTC and the regional tech and innovation ecosystem.
During our most recent OTC meeting in January, David Adelson and I laid out a new vision and structure for this year, which focuses on “addressing the lifecycle of our community.” Together with Rajiv, we have aligned committees by the traditional growth stages of a company – Startup, Growth and Enterprise – as well as a Membership committee which will play a part in each. We are eager to get started on making actionable change for our community. If you are a member and haven’t yet signed up for a committee, please do so here.
If you’ve been on the sidelines for some time, maybe wondering if the OTC is worth your time and investment, let’s chat. I’d love to see how we can get you involved, and learn what your company is looking for from an organization like the OTC.
Be sure to read below for some of the region’s biggest headlines from the past month. The Orlando Tech Grant is back for the third year, some big partnerships were announced, and much more. Also a reminder to get connected on the Orlando Tech Hub – that’s where we’re consistently updating news, events, connection opportunities, and much more.
Stay tuned for more news, events and ways to connect with the Orlando region’s tech and innovation economy. Feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues who can get on our mailing list here.
Have a great weekend and thank you for making this region amazing,
Founder & CEO, BlueWave Resource Partners
Orlando Tech Council Chair
Tech Community Support Grant program returns for third year
The City of Orlando is once again partnering with the Orlando Tech Council to provide lump-sum, matching grants up to $10,000 to help organizations and companies develop tech-focused events that unite the local tech workforce and community. The City of Orlando funded $65,000 that will be combined with $10,000 of un-awarded funds rolled over from the previous year, bringing this year’s total pool to $75,000. This opportunity provides critical support during an important time for our region’s innovative organizations and companies, and supports technology focused activities and initiatives that will build our tech talent pipeline and increase Orlando’s reputation as an emerging tech hub. The full grant program overview and application can be found on Orlando.org/TechGrant. Deadline to submit is midnight on Friday, February 25.
Game-changing partnership announced by one of Orlando’s most innovative companies
Luminar, Orlando’s innovative autonomous vehicle sensor and software company, announced a partnership with Mercedes-Benz to accelerate the development of Mercedes’ passenger car automated driving technology. The landmark partnership will see Mercedes-Benz integrate Luminar’s Iris lidar technology into its autonomous vehicles to increase safety and autonomous driving functionality while bringing Mercedes-Benz one step closer to the mainstream commercialization of its self-driving passenger vehicles. As autonomous vehicles become increasingly commercially accessible, our region’s innovation ecosystem and AV-friendly business and legislative environment continue to drive the industry forward, paving a path toward a safer, smarter future for all. Learn more here.
UCF grant boosts Orlando’s status as global MS&T hub
The University of Central Florida received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen its renowned School for Modeling, Simulation and Training (UCF SMST). The grant will fund the development of new undergraduate modeling and simulation curriculum and launch additional high school outreach programs, creating a targeted talent pipeline at each stage of students’ educational journey. Already a national leader in modeling and simulation research and education, having helped train firefighters, co-pilots, fighter pilots, law enforcement, teachers, clinicians and military medics, UCF SMST’s grant will help solidify its status at the forefront of developing a high-skilled, future-ready workforce and further our region’s status as a global leader in MS&T. Congratulations to UCF on this incredible accomplishment and for its continued leadership within Central Florida. Learn more here.
Leadership Orlando launches Black Boardroom Leadership Institute
A transformational new program will help grow a talent pipeline of Black leaders and drive change on nonprofit boards in the Orlando region. Created through honest conversation and idea generation of committed community leaders, the Black Boardroom Leadership Institute (BBLI) seeks to address the significant diversity gap among Orlando’s nonprofit boards of directors, with only 11 percent of local boards represented by Black leaders. Made possible by an investment from an anonymous fundholder at the Central Florida Foundation, BBLI is set to pilot February through November 2022. The Partnership remains committed to fully achieve our region’s promise of a place in which equity and inclusivity are the foundation for prosperity, and the BBLI program represents an additional layer of that commitment. With our continuous innovation in community collaboration, this initiative will help address and remove barriers for the recruitment and placement of Black executives on boards. We are currently accepting applications from nonprofit organizations interested in participating in the program. For more information on BBLI and how to apply, visit the Black Boardroom Leadership Institute webpage.
Save the Date | Upcoming Events
March 1 – Orlando Tech Council Meeting
Please visit the Events section of the Orlando Tech Hub for upcoming events.
ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region
- UCF Business Incubation Program, StarterStudio, opens new downtown entrepreneur hub – UCF Today
- UCF to lead $10M NASA project to develop zero-carbon jet engines – UCF Today
- NeoCity funding to bring semiconductor manufacturing to Central Florida – The Capitolist
- No, really, flying taxis are getting close to takeoff– Bloomberg Businessweek
- Home Lending Pal to add dozens of jobs in Orlando – Orlando Business Journal
- Orlando VC investment finished strong in 2021 after solid Q4 – Orlando Inno
- Central Florida’s economic forecast for 2022 – Florida Trend
- Orlando mental wellness startup backed by NFL players to launch app and open training rooms – Orlando Inno
- Luminar CEO shares how his company’s growth sets up Orlando for future tech success – Orlando Inno
For more industry news, visit the News section of the Orlando Tech Hub.
*Have a story you would like OTC to feature? Email Lindsey.Sandrin@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.