The Florida High Tech Corridor Council’s numerous entrepreneurial initiatives support small businesses and growing companies alike. Growing companies can apply for specific business help through GrowFL, a statewide initiative that provides technical assistance for second-stage companies. Using tools like the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center, visitors can find the resources they need to start, expand or relocate a business. Even the university and community-based incubators aim to nurture startup companies to grow into stable enterprises that contribute to the local and regional economy.
The Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center Web portal is designed to be a one-stop shop library for entrepreneurs who are looking for business resources all in one place. As an initiative of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council in partnership with local economic development organizations, the Virtual Entrepreneur Center offers a catalog of local, regional and statewide business resources organized by county, plus profiles of local entrepreneurs to facilitate connections. Whether starting a new business, looking to expand an existing business or considering relocating a business, entrepreneurs can easily find what they are looking for by logging on to www.flvec.com.
GrowFL was created in 2009 by the Florida Legislature as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies to prosper in the state of Florida. By providing strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth through strategic research and peer-to-peer CEO mentoring, GrowFL helps companies overcome obstacles to growth and leads them toward prosperity. Based on the philosophy of Economic Gardening®—to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state—GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute, is a critical component to the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GrowFL is funded in part by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation. Today, GrowFL has assisted more than 900 companies, representing more than 16,000 direct jobs and nearly $2 billion in statewide economic impact. To learn more, visit www.GrowFL.com.
The Florida High Tech Corridor Council supports the region’s business incubators in their mission to accelerate the growth of startup companies and ventures through extensive mentoring and monitoring processes. A 2013 study of the economic impacts of the University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Program found that the total economic output from client and graduate companies exceeds $355 million annually. The companies typically comprise of seven to 15 employees upon graduation, and earn between $1 million and $3 million in annual revenue. Graduates of the program have been recognized by the International National Business Incubator Association (InBIA) and the program itself has been honored as the 2013 “Incubator Network of the Year.” In Alachua, the University of Florida’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator was named the InBIA’s 2013 “Incubator of the Year” and the “Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year” in 2017, the highest award given by the organization. To find Corridor incubators, explore the interactive map on the Region page.