We welcome additional members to the Orlando Tech Council leadership team, look forward to Orlando Innovation Week and Synapse Orlando, and call for nominations for the 2021 Schwartz Innovation Award.
Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair
Happy Friday, all.
In Orlando Tech Council news – we have three leaders taking on additional responsibilities. I am pleased to announce that Charlie Lewis, founder and CEO of BlueWave Resource Partners, will serve as Council Chair-Elect. Kelli Murray, program chair of UCF Venture Launch, will serve as Programming Committee Chair-Elect. Both are engaged members who have shaped the Council into what it is today. We also have a new Marketing Committee Chair in Thomas Capone, VP of Business Development at Concepta Technologies, who joined this year but is already making an impact. To all three leaders taking on new roles – thank you for your commitment and I look forward to working with you. Seeing more and more accomplished leaders bringing their wisdom and energy to the task of moving our tech community forward is one of the most fulfilling parts of my role.
In addition to exciting news from across the region that you can read about below, the Council is hard at work planning the first-ever Orlando Innovation Week (announced by City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer), which kicks off a week-long celebration of Orlando’s tech industry. From October 9-15, entrepreneurs, founders, innovators, tech enthusiasts and community leaders will come together to share and celebrate the Orlando region’s incredible tech and innovation ecosystem. The week will culminate on Friday, October 15 with Synapse Orlando, presented by Truist, where we’ll bring together our region’s creators, doers, thought leaders and makers for a one-day innovation celebration at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available and there are still a few limited opportunities to be involved as a sponsor. Please reach out to Lindsey with any questions.
Also at Synapse Orlando, the Orlando Economic Partnership will announce the 2021 Schwartz Innovation Award recipient, recognizing a local company that has made the greatest impact on the region’s economy through innovation. Named after the late William C. Schwartz, a pioneer in the field of laser technology who founded two companies in the Orlando region, recipients have included FINFROCK, Luminar Technologies, the University of Central Florida and Quality manufacturing Services, Inc. The deadline for nominations is September 20. Submit a nomination here.
Our next Council meeting is Tuesday, September 7 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. via Zoom. We look forward to seeing you then.
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.
Orlando Tech Council Chair
Two Orlando Tech Council members named to list of “10 people who make Orlando a better place to live”
This week, the Orlando Sentinel released its list of “10 people who make Orlando a better place to live.” In addition to medical directors, faith leaders, 501C3 creators and educators were two community staples and Orlando Tech Council members – Carol Ann Dykes Logue and Rob Panepinto. Recognized for their service with UCF’s business incubator program, one nominator said, “I don’t know of two people doing more to change our economy than these two.” High praise and we couldn’t agree more. Read more and see the full list here.
Orlando, One of America’s Biggest VR/AR Centers
A new feature in the publication AR Post examines how Orlando is gaining notoriety as the global epicenter for VR/AR technology. The article highlights how the assets that helped Orlando power America’s space race have fostered an innovation ecosystem catalyzed by the collision of defense, simulation, education and entertainment. This creative collision laid the foundation for Orlando to develop one of the world’s densest and most mature clusters of VR/AR companies. When combined with our low cost of living and operation along with our collaborative business environment, concentration of tech talent and defense offices, this cluster delivers unparalleled value and potential to top tech firms. It’s the primary reason Red 6 chose Orlando for its technology hub. We couldn’t agree more with statement that, “organizations like the Orlando Economic Partnership, the VR/AR Association, companies like Red 6 and Luminar, Orlando educational institutions and the larger community are building the future of a generation of science and computing that has yet to fully materialize.” Articles like this help amplify our region’s tech story to global audiences and help the world see that Orlando is no longer an underdog but a frontrunner destination for innovative companies seeking a business environment where they can grow, scale and succeed. Read the full story here.
Stax co-founders honored with Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award
In August, Ernst & Young (EY) announced that Stax CEO and Founder Suneera Madhani and President and Founder Sal Rehmetullah received the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Florida Award. The awards program is one of the most competitive for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies and recognizes those who are “unstoppable entrepreneurial leaders excelling in talent management, degree of difficulty, financial performance, societal impact, building a values-based company, originality, innovation and future plans.” As the Florida award winners, Suneera and Sal are in the running for EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 National Award. This recognition reflects the immense impact Stax, one of America’s fastest-growing fintech companies, and its founders continue to make within our community through their values and innovation. Please join me in congratulating them on this prestigious honor.
Momentum builds for Orlando’s tech migration
A recent survey by Chief Executive Magazine revealed 44 percent of CEOs are now, more than ever, considering new locations for their business, with more than one-third considering shifting or opening significant operations or facilities in a new state. What’s more, Florida ranked the No. 2 “Best State for Business” in the same survey thanks to executives seeking more supportive business policies and a better, more affordable quality of life. These data points and rankings are supported by a Q1 Tech Job Report by Dice, a leading database for technology professionals, which highlights how Orlando’s tech job postings grew by 21 percent from February to March, outpacing top tech markets like New York City and Dallas. And, Real Estate Consulting’s 2020 STEM Job Growth Index report found Orlando boasts more potential for STEM job growth than traditional tech hubs like San Francisco. With our powerful combination of tech talent density, strong and supportive education ecosystem and collaborative business environment, our region continues to emerge as one of the hottest destinations for tech companies to grow, scale and succeed.
Orlando’s economic development wins are off the charts
Major IPOs and big business announcements continue to demonstrate the incredible momentum of the Orlando business community. From innovative cleantech companies like PureCycle Technologies ($PCN), maker of lidar for autonomous vehicles Luminar ($LAZR), the only U.S. pure play semiconductor foundry Skywater ($SKYT), air taxi maven Lilium ($LILM) to leading destination company Travel + Leisure ($TNL), the pace of innovation and digital transformation here is off the charts. That’s not to mention relocations and expansions from InnovaCare Health, Conti Federal Services, Grant Thornton, KPMG, TogetherHealth, AssuredPartners, Sonesta and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products – all within the past six months, alone. Combined, these projects account for a projected 2,900 new jobs for our region. Given our booming population, stellar regional assets and an attractive, collaborative environment, the Orlando region’s steady climb to the top of companies’ short list proves it is no longer an underdog, but a contender and, often, a frontrunner.
Save the Date | Upcoming Events
September 8 – Entrepreneurs Alliance of Orlando – Fireside Chat with Dayne Williams
September 14 – Synapse Florida – Libate & Learn Episode 35: Fostering Corporate Innovation and Community Impact
September 14 – National Center for Simulation – NCS Hall of Fame Ceremony
September 16 – GrowFL – East Central Florida Chapter Membership Mixer
September 29-October 1 – VR/AR Global Summit
October 9-10 – Startup Weekend Orlando (more info to come)
October 9-15 – Innovation Week
October 15 – Synapse Orlando
October 15-17 – Creative City Project – Immerse
October 19 – Florida Simulation Summit
October 22 – GrowFL – Statewide Membership Meeting
November 3-4 – GrowFL – Florida Companies to Watch Leadership Institute
ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region
- Artificial intelligence innovation startup AI Exosphere opens their headquarters in the heart of downtown Orlando, FL – EIN Presswire
- Exclusive: UCF business incubator to move to new space in downtown Orlando – Orlando Business Journal
- Kodezi, the innovative online coding and learning platform relaunches with brand new design and features – Intrado Globenewswire
- Mitsubishi Power and UCF develop NOx tracking tool – UCF Today
*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.