Local Expo Shows Off High Tech Advancements in Central Florida
By Jerry Olguin, Space Coast Tech Council director
The Florida TechXpo, a signature event of the Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida, now in its fifth year, once again proved to be a valuable venue for more than 1,000 guests and exhibitors, as they gathered together at the Eastern Florida State College Aviation Center to share and learn about new technologies across many industry sectors. The hangar facility at the Aviation Center was transformed into an exhibit hall for the event.
The Space Coast Tech Council (SCTC), a program of the chamber, proved to be the catalyst for bringing in a higher concentration of technology exhibitors than seen in prior years. The TechXpo featured 66 exhibitor booths, 20 TechMarket tables and a dozen outdoor exhibits.
“Like anything, it was an idea that needed to grow. It needed collaboration. This was a wonderful way to show what true collaboration and partnership can mean. Who knew that 20 years later it would have the kind of economic impact that it has had for our communities and the state of Florida?”
This is a quote from former Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings, describing the dream that later became known as the Florida High Tech Corridor.
Companies, communities and consumers around the globe are focusing increasingly on the need for sustainable energy solutions, and that is reflected here in The Corridor as well, where sustainable energy projects received nearly $1 million in Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP) funding last year alone.
The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, boasts more than 40 patents that have led to advancements in sustainable energy technologies. The Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida (USF) has been awarded more than $15 million in contracts and grants in the last 10 years alone, and the University of Florida has more than 30 institutes/centers involved in energy research. With the help of local Corridor businesses, these universities are “generating” the future leaders of the Florida high tech energy landscape.
Corridor-Based Company Develops Color-Changing Tape to Detect Hydrogen Gas Leaks
It’s one thing to have a great idea. It’s another when that great idea goes on to win hundreds of thousands of dollars in innovative business venture competitions, such as the Innovation Concourse of the Southeast, Mega Watt Ventures and other programs from the Department of Energy.
That great idea is color-changing pigment materials used to detect hydrogen gas leaks. The brainchild of a team of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and NASA-KSC, the technology is the basis for HySense Technology, based in Rockledge and founded by Nahid Mohajeri, a member of the research team.
Tech Accelerator Helps St. Petersburg Startups Find Success
Across the Florida High Tech Corridor, dozens of new, high tech startups launch every year with an innovative idea and aspirations to take that idea to market. But with any startup venture also comes a difficult set of challenges—lack of resources, capital, office space and mentors, just to name a few.
As the startup scene has continued to flourish in the region, a number of tech accelerators and co-working spaces have popped up as well to help burgeoning businesses overcome some of these challenges.
One example of a tech accelerator in The Corridor is the new TEC Garage, which opened last year in St. Petersburg. An initiative of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, TEC Garage provides an extensive list of services for tech entrepreneurs, ranging from an incubation program to state-of-the-art lab space. To learn more about how TEC Garage is helping to support high tech startups, we spoke with Tonya Elmore, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center:
The Corridor Continues Growth in High Tech Research and Technology Transfer
Silicon Valley, North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Austin’s Silicon Hills—these names are widely known as some of the country’s most established areas for high tech development. But thanks to Florida’s continued growth in high tech research and commercialization, the Florida High Tech Corridor is climbing the ranks in the areas of innovation and technology to rival these household names.
One key factor in the region’s high tech growth is the number of patents granted to The Corridor’s three distinguished research universities.
According to a list released by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association, The Corridor’s three research universities—the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF)—all individually ranked in the top 30 of worldwide universities granted patents in 2014.
By Randy Berridge
The Florida High Tech Corridor Council was celebrated for 20 years of economic development collaboration and achievement at the closing luncheon of the Florida Economic Development Council Conference July 15.
If you are seeking information about The Corridor or the initiatives of the Council, please contact:
We would be happy to put you in contact with industry experts who can speak to a variety of technology topics in their area of expertise. For a preview of the leaders who can share their experience in growing tech-based businesses in the Corridor, explore the videos of our Faces of Technology.