Orlando Tech Community Support Pilot Program – Grant Awardees Announced

The City of Orlando has committed $65,000 to support local startup and tech events around our community. This Orlando Technology Community Support Pilot Program was administered by the Orlando Economic Partnership and voted on by a group of local tech leaders.

Today OEP announced the 16 winners!


To the City of Orlando & Orlando Economic Partnership: Thank you for taking the initiative and launching this pilot program to fund these wonderful local startup & tech events. It is a step in the right direction to advance our startup ecosystem. We at Orlando Entrepreneurs will be committed to supporting these various events, as well as other great entrepreneur support organizations across our ecosystem. Hopefully this grant program will increase overtime after demonstrating ROI and become a regular line item each year.

To the grant winners: First off, Congratulations! I have attended many of your events around the community and found them to be valuable. I also have the privilege to know many of you event organizers personally and am thankful to call you friends and close acquaintances. Know that we at Orlando Entrepreneurs are here for you – If there is anyway we can help support your organization, or specific events please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We maintain a Cross-Ecosystem Events Calendar at: www.OrlandoEntrepreneurs.org/events/ that auto-populates based on Meetup Events, or a public Google Calendar. We also have a resource center www.OrlandoEntrepreneurs.org/resources/ that lists many entrepreneur support organizations and events. If you do not have a profile already, please reach out to us (or me personally) and I will ensure that we create one for you.

To the Orlando Entrepreneurship Community: Be sure to support these wonderful events around town and get involved. We also encourage you to utilize us as a resource to help connect with the right resource or event at the right time depending on your type of business and stage (visit our resource center, or calendar). We also maintain an Orlando Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature local entrepreneurs and provide a platform for them to tell their stories, share lessons learned and help our community learn more about their business.

With that said…I am very excited about this initial pilot program and to see the great momentum that we as a community harness from the spark to advance our entrepreneurs, their companies and our local economy.

Now on to the winners…

Orlando Tech Community Support Pilot Program Winners

Central Florida Showcase ($10,000)- October 4, 2017 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Guidewell Innovation, Lake Nona Target audience: Accredited Investors that are currently making investments Expected attendees: 100 *The feedback we have received from investors is Florida so spread out that making a trip to see enough companies to make it worth their time is too time consuming. On a practical level, this event allows investors to come to one event and see a dozen investable companies in one day, where they can fly in and out from our easily accessible airport the same day.

Indie Galactic Space Jam ($10,000)- This event serves to bring in all parts of the community to connect on the topics of Space & gaming regardless of whether you are a developer or rocket scientist. Open to truly anyone that is intellectually curious and to spread knowledge of the impact that space and gaming technologies can do for all of us.

OrlandoiX ($10,000) – OrlandoiX is the Southeast’s Largest Gathering of Creators in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Video Games, and Digital Arts. Open to professionals and consumers alike, OrlandoiX sits at the intersection of creativity and immersive technologies, bringing together creators, investors, influential brands, and tech enthusiasts for industry-leading keynotes, speaker presentations, interactive exhibits, gameplay, and networking. OrlandoiX 2018 will be held August 17-18 at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Attendees Include Game Developers, Virtual & Mixed Reality Developers, Digital Artists, Designers, Venture Capitalists, Sound & Audio Engineers, Entertainment Media Students, Creative Directors, Executives in Digital Media. Some attendees are seasoned experts – while others are just getting started. 2,000+ attendees are expected for the 2018 event.

Startup Weekend Orlando ($6,200) – Startup Weekend Orlando is a 54-hour event planned for Friday evening November 16th through Sunday evening November 18th, 2018. The event will take place at the Catalyst coworking space in downtown Orlando on the 5th floor of the One South Orange Building at 1 S. Orange Ave. The target audience is entrepreneurs interested in learning how to start their own company, as well as entrepreneurial enthusiasts who are interested in engaging with the community. Specifically, the targeted audience includes Orlando-based entrepreneurs, developers, designers, engineers, community influencers, investors, and other business professionals interested in supporting our local community. Last year 85 people attended our event without any funding assistance, this year we are projected to expect 100 – 150 attendees.

Press Play Conference: Games & Accessibility ($5,000)  – The 2nd Annual Press Play Conference: Games & Accessibility with be held at UCF Downtown at the Center for Emerging Media and Orlando Marriott Hotel on Saturday January 19, 2019. The target audience is students (families) with disabilities and facilitators of the exceptional education community. The number of attendees is expected to be 150-200 participants and 40-50 volunteers and supporters.

Catalyst Startup Coalition ($2,700)  – Throughout the year the CSC will offer an ongoing series of monthly programs open to the Orlando entrepreneurial community on topics germane to high-growth entrepreneurs growing and scaling their startups. In addition, the group will offer open office hours as well as pitch review sessions. The dates for these monthly events are TBD. The location will be at the coworking space Catalyst in downtown Orlando. The target audience is high-growth entrepreneurs growing and scaling their startups.

Orlando Coworking Week ($2,450) -Orlando Coworking Week is planned for May 13 to May 17, 2019. The event will take place at all of the participating coworking spaces. In 2018 these were Catalyst, COLAB, Orlando Games Space, ScribbleSpace, and StarterStudio. The target audience includes entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, and creative professionals. Last year about 100 people attended the week without any funding assistance. Next year, with funding, we expect the event to attract 200 attendees.

The Tech Sassy Girlz Day Conference ($2,650) -The Tech Sassy Girlz Day Conference is scheduled for Saturday, 10/2018 from 10am – 4pm at UCF’s College of Engineering & Computer Science. Our target audiences are girls in middle and high school and their parents. The conference was created to improve awareness of education, career opportunities and services for middle and high school girls by increasing participation, retention and advancement of girls and women in STEM. With the support of the Orlando Tech Pilot grant, TSG can reach more “girlz” this year. We anticipate hosting 125 girls and introducing them to various computer science, engineering and tech concepts. Additionally, funding for this conference will allow us to host at least 30 parents of the “girlz” who are not aware of the lack of women in STEM professions and what career opportunities are available. This will allow them to experience first hand what their daughters will learn at the conference. The conference also includes a UCF Campus Tour.

Stetson University’s Annual Tech Faire + Hackathon ($2,000) – Stetson University’s annual Tech Faire + Hackathon is a weekend event with an overnight coding session hosted by Stetson’s Math and Computer Science department. Attendees build apps, services, hardware integrations, virtual & augmented reality experiences, and we have hosted hackers from: UCF, UF, FSU, FIU, ERAU, UM, FGCU, FAU, FIT and Florida Polytechnic University. Our next Tech Faire + Hackathon will be in April of 2019. We expect more than 300 attendees, including hackers, graphic designers, engineers, app developers, and more. We also expect to attract a significant number of beginning coders by providing 101 crash courses in coding languages and adding opportunities to win prizes. We are plan to hold the event in the Edmunds Center, a 5,000 -seat multi-purpose arena at Stetson University, with ample space and classrooms for attendees to connect personally with Stetson’s faculty and event sponsors.

Venture Scale Up Orlando Angel Investing Forum ($2,000) – The VSU Orlando Angel Investing Forum is an all-day event: Date: TBD – targeting October 2018 Location: TBD – targeting University Club, Citrus Club,The Mezz, Orlando Science Center, UCF Executive Development Center Target audience: By invitation only, Orlando accredited investors Number of attendees expected: 100

B.O.T. Community Development Program Black Orlando Tech aka B.O.T. ($2,000) – The B.O.T. Community Development Program comprises in-person, engaging meetup events consisting of local tech leadership talks, tech-focused workshops, and tech professional development activities. These events happen on a monthly recurring basis with a target audience of ALL local professionals who have an interest in the subject matter or activity being facilitated.

Build to Stay: Orlando Innovation Challenge ($2,000) –  Our community should not focus on building businesses that can only grow if they leave Orlando so at OTAB we are proposing a challenge called “Build to Stay | Orlando innovation Challenge”. This goal of this challenge is to provide solutions through technology for the following focus areas; Smart City, Sports Entertainment, Healthcare, Hospitality, Gaming, and Education. The participants from surrounding areas will have 60 days to build viable solutions for these themes. We will be offering a prize of $10,000 to the winning solution. This prize amount and the allotment of 60 days to come up with a viable solution will allow teams to deliver some exceptional solutions. The finalists will present their solution to the judges and the entire tech community during tech week in October. Our goal at OTAB is to make this the largest demo day in Orlando each year. The “Build to Stay” challenge will become an annual challenge and celebration.

IMMERSE Innovation Expo ($2,000) – The IMMERSE Innovation Expo is a public-facing experience that showcases the innovations of tech innovators from across the region. There are 4 primary engagements to create compelling, “wow” moments for the 40,000 guests of IMMERSE 2018, on October 19-20 : 1. Compelling Demos : Orlando’s tech companies demonstrate the innovative tech they are working on in a publicly accessible way. 2. Art and Tech : Showcasing artists who use programming and math to create real-time interactive projection installations. 3. Large -Scale Projection Installations : Work with industry partners to create large-scale projection installations on buildings in Downtown Orlando both before and during the annual IMMERSE event. 4. Game-play Experiences and Competition : Working with some of our tech partners in the gaming space, we will showcase the innovations in gaming taking place in Central Florida.

Indienomicon Pro-Series ($2,000)  – Indienomicon proposes to develop a “Pro Series” of game development workshops and Open Forums around advanced topics to support 2nd stage development. These events would be held in a variety of formats and would act as an additional series on the top of the traditional Indienomicon Meetups. We have learned over the past several years that the needs of growth-stage game development studios are more specialized from traditional startup companies.

NEXUS Orlando Events ($2,000)  – Update on what’s driving innovation in your region + showcase metrics and success stories (presented by City/OEP), pitch event for investors (2 -3 full company pitches, 1-2 elevator pitches), networking with expo area, dinner nearby. NEXUS commits to promote the event, to line up the companies pitching, to bring in the investors, to coach the companies presenting, and to coordinate next steps between companies, investors, and referrals. The City of Orlando and the OEP can support by convening the conversation, bringing in new relationships, sponsoring the NEXUS to conduct the above logistics for each event, and event promotion. NEXUS will also conduct educational workshops to better inform both investors and entrepreneurs in order to facilitate the deployment of capital.

nonPareil Orlando Autism Training Program ($2,000) – nonPareil Orlando will offer a self-paced training program for adults with Autism. We train our students to build digital products through courses in 3D modeling, animation, programming, level design, etc. These courses are taught 1:1 or in a small group environment. Students are also taught life skills and work -readiness skills. We are looking for space in a central location in Orlando, with access to housing, transportation, and shopping for our students, many of whom do not drive. our target audience must be at least 17 years of age; or a Senior in high school; or have completed high school, have an official diagnosis of Autism, possess fundamental communication skills, does not require 1:1 intervention and/or prompting for safety, behavioral support or comprehension.

About the author:

David Brim

David Brim is a marketing strategist, entrepreneur and investor living in Orlando, Florida. He is the founder of Orlando Entrepreneurs and founding partner of the Orlando Opportunity Fund. His primary professional focus areas include business model development, online lead generation, Software as a Service (SaaS) products, angel investing, and commercial real estate. Learn more at his blog Filled to the Brim.


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