Isabella Johnston, Founder and CEO of Intern Pursuit details how the collaborative spirit of the local tech and innovation ecosystem has helped her business grow and what she thinks will make Orlando the place to live and work.

The Orlando innovation ecosystem is rich with high-caliber tech talent and boundary-pushing entrepreneurs. In an effort to foster a more connected community, the Orlando Tech Council presents “Profiles in Tech,” a new series highlighting the region’s top executives, innovators and movers and shakers whose ideas and companies are changing the world right from our own backyard.

This edition of Profiles in Tech features Isabella Johnston, Founder and CEO of Intern Pursuit. She details how the collaborative spirit of the local tech and innovation ecosystem has helped her business grow and what she thinks will make Orlando the place to live and work.

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Have you experienced an “only in Orlando” moment? If so, what was it? 

Only in Orlando can a person launch their business with a burgeoning group of feisty fierce entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and those that live and breathe startup life while enjoying a beautiful year-round climate.

What brought you to the Orlando region? What’s kept you here? 

My family moved here when I was a teenager when my dad landed a job with Martin Marietta (at the time that was the company name). I have lived all over the US and I LOVE living in Orlando. It is because of the people first, weather (I love warm climates), educational institutions (Go Rollins College (my alma mater), Valencia College, UCF, Full Sail and Seminole State, AND economic incentives and the development opportunities in Central Florida. 

What makes Orlando the right place for your business? How does being in Orlando contribute to your business success or personal growth?

The startup community – StarterStudio in particular – was instrumental in helping me launch my company, Intern Pursuit. Giving a shout out to UCF I-Corps also. 

In terms of growing the business, no state tax returns are a big help first and foremost. I appreciate that a LOT. Beyond that, the community here has given me incredible opportunities to grow. In particular, the Orlando Tech Council has done a lot of work in bringing together a group of passionate people that are moving at a rapid pace to pull in amazing innovation that are changing Orlando’s presence and how the region is perceived. It also highlights the collaborative spirit of the entire region. The opportunity to be part of a community that wants to drive business to Orlando in BIG ways has been amazing. 

What makes the Orlando tech ecosystem unique? 

The support and passion of the individuals. There are brilliant minds across the region that all have a common mission: to grow Orlando and be recognized as a place others want to live and work. Being part of Orlando Tech Council really opened my eyes to the ability to connect with others that share the same vision and hope for the O-town innovation community.

What‘s one thing you wish Orlando had? What will it take to make that a reality?

I would love to see ties to funding outside of Orlando to launch and grow startups. In order to get there, we need to build our investor partnerships with funding groups such as Female Founders Funds and educate others about investing in technology, simulation, defense, robotics, and training. I believe this will move the thermometer to a blazing hot temperature and will make Orlando the place to live and work.  

If you had to describe to an out-of-town friend what it’s like to live, work, learn and play in Orlando, what would you say?

Manhattan with better weather and San Francisco without cost of living.  Orlando is the perfect place to grow your business due to economic development incentives, low tax base, job opportunities, with wonderful weather, experiences, and feeling of community.  

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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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