Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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April 08, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Dates for annual Florida Venture Forum announced

Four education and community organizations in the Southeast among 18 awarded grants to address the nation’s shortage of skilled cybersecurity employees.

From Orlando, FL:

The Florida Venture Forum, the Sunshine State’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, recently announced that its 16th annual Florida Early Stage Capital Conference will feature a record $300,000 in award dollars and capital investment from Forum members Space Florida, DeepWork Capital, and Florida Power & Light’s Innovation Hub, 35 Mules. Applications to present are now open.

The Early Stage Capital Conference, taking place June 4-5 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, will include the Space Florida AeroTech Summit, which will feature presenters and programming relevant to the space and aerospace industries, and the Forum’s Statewide Collegiate Start-up Competition that includes teams from 10 Florida colleges and universities.

The “Accelerating Innovation Award,” with a prize of $75,000 from Space Florida, is open to companies with a focus in the aerospace and related industries. The $50,000 Grand Prize, from Florida Power & Light, is open to the presenting start-ups of any sector, as are the two Runners Up who will receive $20,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida. Two winners in the Statewide Collegiate Start-up Competition will recieve $5,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida.

In addition, the Orlando-based venture firm DeepWork Capital will make a minimum $125,000 equity investment in one of the winning companies.

There is no cost to apply or to present. Start-ups can apply here. The final deadline is May 10 but applicants are encouraged to apply sooner.

From Charlotte, NC:

Charlotte Inno reports that the Bank of America (BofA) has expanded its partnership with the Tory Burch Foundation to launch a new online resource to help women business owners thrive. It is a virtual program that offers education on a variety of entrepreneurial topics, a business plan builder tool, fellowship and capital programs, and business webinars, among other resources for women entrepreneurs. Charlotte-based BofA said the new initiative is expected to be the largest free online learning space available for female business owners.

From Huntsville, AL:

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology was recognized as the Large Company of the Year in the annual Business Alabama Awards program organized by Business Alabama. The Institute was also recognized as a finalist in the Project of the Year category for the Discovery Life Sciences Global Headquarters project.

“The Business Alabama Awards are an opportunity to recognize some of the best that the Alabama business community has to offer,” said Alec Harvey, Executive Editor of Business Alabama magazine. “The winners and finalists show the depth and breadth of Alabama business, from North Alabama down to the Gulf Coast.”

From Baton Rouge, LA:

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) is now accepting applications for its fourth annual “Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative,” the small business program that helps local companies overcome challenges unique to rural communities. Program participants must be second-stage businesses, which typically have 5 to 99 employees and are poised for further growth, often spurred by expansion to out-of-state markets. The initiative, conducted in partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation, is designed to address issues that are common to all small businesses but often magnified in rural areas, such as targeting new opportunities, sustaining growth, expanding a team, and marketing digitally.

Following a virtual retreat, companies will have the opportunity to work with LED’s System for Integrated Growth, which provides one-on-one access to expert specialists who generate customized information aligned with specific company needs. Upon completion of the program, participating companies join the LED Growth Network, a statewide alumni group that consists of more than 700 companies generating nearly $4.2 billion in annual sales and employing more than 22,700 full-time equivalent employees.

From Across the Southeast:

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded cooperative agreements totaling nearly $3.6 million that are aimed at building the workforce needed to safeguard enterprises from cybersecurity risks. The grants of roughly $200,000 each will go to 18 education and community organizations in 15 states that are working to address the nation’s shortage of skilled cybersecurity employees. Winners in the Southeast include:

  • Benedict College;
  • Digital Promise Global in Alabama;
  • RTriad Enterprises Inc. in North Carolina; and
  • The University of South Florida Board of Trustees.

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