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Entrepreneurial Excellence Program Continues at Innovation Park
Ten-class course offers entrepreneurs critical training on core business functions
TALLAHASSEE, FL – On Thursday, April 7, 2016 the Leon County Research and Development Authority’s (LCRDA) Board of Governors unanimously approved the transfer of the Entrepreneurial Excellence Program (EEP) from the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, Inc. (EDC) to the LCRDA. The EDC launched the program in 2011 with Larry Lynch directing the program that provides valuable insights to early-stage start-up businesses and entrepreneurs as they navigate through the vulnerable stages of business development. Larry Lynch will continue to serve as director of the program for the LCRDA.
The 10-week program provides an interactive classroom setting where entrepreneurs engage with local business professionals who have expertise in a wide range of skills and experiences in the legal, marketing, sales, team-building, and financing areas. All the sessions are led by local business experts who share their knowledge, expertise and experiences with the class members.
“It is hard to believe that we have now conducted 11 sessions of EEP since 2011 with over 130 new business enterprises having gone thru the program,” Lynch says. “The type of business entity that will benefit from EEP is one that is either in the initial start-up phase or has recently started and wants to move to the next level of success. We have had all types of businesses attend EEP, from high-tech University research related startups to low-tech service related businesses and everything in between.”
Until 2014, the EEP was funded as part of a federal grant of $450,000 to assist and implement entrepreneurial activities in the local Tallahassee community. The EDC received a Knight Foundation Grant in 2014 for $50,000 that allowed the program to continue in 2014-15. The Knight Foundation awarded additional funding for the 2015-16 classes.
Ron Miller, Executive Director of the LCRDA, notes “the Entrepreneurial Excellence Program fits perfectly within our mission as it helps to nurture the growth of more local entrepreneurs, many of whom will be able to commercialize locally developed technologies, and create more companies and jobs. We are very excited about the opportunity to keep this valuable program alive in our community.”
The next EEP class, scheduled to begin in October, will be the first class managed by the LCRDA and Lynch. The program will be hosted at Innovation Park, a 208-acre research and development campus they manage in southwest Tallahassee. The campus is also home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Danfoss, and others. Additional information, and an online application form can be found on Innovation Park’s website at http://innovation-park.com/entrepreneurial-excellence-program/
Five Start-Ups Selected to Compete for $25,000 in Technology Commercialization Grants
Annual Innovation Park competition, presented by Hancock Bank and Danfoss, gives early-stage companies access to critical funding and networks.
The Leon County Research and Development Authority, which manages Innovation Park Tallahassee, has selected five finalists who will compete for one of two prizes awarding up to $15,000 in grant funding at the annual Innovation Park TechGrant Elevator Pitch Night, presented by Hancock Bank and Danfoss Turbocor. Winners of the TechGrant will also receive scholarships to the Innovation Park Entrepreneurial Excellence Program and exclusive access to the TechGrant Winners’ Circle, an elite networking group of past grant recipients.
The finalists will present five-minute elevator pitches to a panel of judges and an audience of established investors, mentors, and researchers on May 19, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at Goodwood Museum and Gardens. Two winners will be chosen at the end of the event.
The Innovation Park TechGrant was first launched in 2005 to demonstrate its commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Leon County. Since 2005, 20 companies have benefitted from $362,000 in grants awarded for the commercialization of their technologies. Most of those companies are still flourishing in the local community today.
The 2016 finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
- Efficient Systems, LLC (Bicycle Capital) has created an electric bicycle (eBike) sharing system as an alternative form of transportation
- Inner Harbor Partners for Improved Performance, Inc. has developed a water purification membrane using nanotechnology to extract clean water from septic systems, agricultural processes, and storm water runoff that is simpler and more cost-effective than existing systems.
- NP Group, Inc. has developed an optical fiber sensor with in-situ, real-time, and distributed impact damage monitoring and load sensing for active control in composite structures.
- PointCatcher, Inc. has built a network-styled loyalty points program for small and micro-businesses currently absent from the loyalty landscape to help increase local spending.
- towBuddy has developed an app that informs Tallahassee’s student drivers of any towing within their radius, assists those who have been towed, and prevents others from being towed.
Innovation Park’s April Update includes:
- Spotlight on FSU’s Applied Superconductivity Center
- Editorial: Innovation Park Headed in Right Direction
- 2016 Elevator Pitch Night: The Countdown Begins!
- Achieving the Perfect Pitch at 1 Million Cups
- FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Will Host One of a Kind Design Day
- Innovation Park in the news