Orlando, Fla. — Today, in collaboration with the Orlando Economic Partnership’s Orlando Tech Council (OTC), the City of Orlando announced it will once again offer the Orlando Technology Community Support Program. This program will provide lump-sum, matching grants up to $10,000 from a total pool of $65,000 to help organizations and companies develop tech-focused events that will unite the local tech workforce and community.
The full grant program overview and application can be found on the Orlando.org/TechGrant. Applications must be submitted through the website by midnight on January 8, 2021.
“As a city, we continue to focus on growing and nurturing a strong tech and innovation ecosystem in Orlando, especially since these are industries that have and are expected to continue to grow despite the challenges of COVID-19,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We are committed to our partnership with the Orlando Economic Partnership to offer programs that fuel our unique culture of collaboration, strengthen our tech talent pipeline and increase Orlando’s reputation as a hub for technology and innovation.”
Four key goals provide a framework for the grant program: increasing the connection and collaboration among startup and existing tech companies; building the tech talent pipeline; catalyzing private capital investments; and increasing Orlando’s reputation as a tech hub.
In 2019, the Orlando Technology Community Support Program selected 15 programs/events to receive a portion of the $65,000 matching-grant award. Due to the pandemic, several of the events have been postponed until they are able to accommodate in-person activity safely. Those applications will not qualify to apply again for this round of funding.
“Now more than ever the significance of gathering our tech community together, even virtually, is critical to the acceleration of the Orlando region’s economic recovery. From these kinds of interactions, comes innovation,” said Sheena Fowler, vice president of innovation for the Orlando Economic Partnership.
This year’s panel of five volunteer judges include industry and community leaders that reflect the breadth of expertise in areas considered critical to assessing the viability of the event:
Sydney Rossman-Reich – Managing Partner, PRN / Chair, Orlando Tech Council Programming Committee
Sydney Rossman-Reich is Managing Partner of PRN Real Estate & Investments, Ltd, a family real estate development firm that has been operating in Orlando since the 1950s. She is currently the Programming Committee Chair of the Orlando Tech Council and is a newly appointed Board Member of SeedFundersOrlando. She previously worked at Facebook, Khan Academy, and McKinsey & Co and has her MBA and Masters in Design Innovation from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering, respectively.
Kathy Chiu – Managing Partner, DeepWork Capital
Kathy Chiu is a managing partner at DeepWork Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in Florida-based, early-stage technology and life sciences companies. Previously, Chiu was a strategy and business development consultant specializing in new market entry and has clients ranging from U.S.-based Fortune 500 to foreign technology companies. She also ran an angel network and was an investment professional at Denver-based iSherpa Capital, a wireless technology venture capital firm. She served as a product manager at Lefthand Networks and Level (3) Communications and worked as a quantitative financial analyst at Cornerstone Research and in the corporate strategy department of Compaq Computers.
Stacie Ruth – Senior Vice President of Virtual Care, Best Buy Health
Stacie Ruth has recently joined Best Buy Health as Senior Vice President of Virtual Care after two decades of industry experience. in 2018, she founded local HealthTech start-up AireHealth alongside local Entrepreneur Dr. Jason Eichenholz. AireHealth is an in-home, virtual respiratory care company allowing persons with compromised lungs to proactively address their respiratory care with the support and oversight of their provider. Today she serves on the company’s Board of Directors.
Orrett Davis – Commander of Growth & Founder, Mighty Orbit
Orrett Davis is a growth marketer, startup advocate and technology enthusiast that works closely with high-growth technology companies. Davis has helped to foster startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the country, is the founder of the largest tech meetup in the Southeast and received recognition from the White House during the Obama Administration for his contributions to the Orlando tech community.
Matthew Broffman – Director of Innovation, City of Orlando / Co-Chair, Orlando Tech Council Marketing Committee
Matt Broffman is the Innovation Official for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. In this role, Broffman leads the Digital Platform and Service Design team focused on taking a user-centered approach to municipal services both online and in-person. Prior to joining the City, Broffman founded and operated Bungalower.com, a local news site for downtown Orlando and the surrounding neighborhoods. Broffman previous roles include consulting with newspapers across the country on helping them improve their user experience and finding sustainable business models, working as a product manager for local data startup Korrelate, which was purchased by JD Power and Associates, and as the senior product manager at Tribune Interactive where he was responsible for Tribune’s eight newspaper websites including LATimes.com, ChicagoTribune.com and BaltimoreSun.com.
All judges will submit written disclosures of conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from evaluating a specific application for which there is a conflict. Additionally, the Orlando Economic Partnership staff will not serve on the judging panel.
Announcements of awardees will be made by posting to the Partnership website, Orlando.org during the week of February 20, 2021.
About the Orlando Tech Council
The Orlando Tech Council, a critical component of the Orlando Economic Partnership, 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.
About the Orlando Economic Partnership
The Orlando Economic Partnership is a public-private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization that works to advance Broad-based Prosperity™ by strengthening Orlando’s economy, amplifying Orlando’s story, championing regional priorities, empowering community leaders and building a brilliant region. These five foundational objectives serve to improve the region’s competitiveness while responding to the needs of communities, residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.Orlando.org.