Entrepreneurs in the cleantech field now have access to a one-stop shop of professional mentors and programs, thanks to a statewide initiative led by the Florida Cleantech Acceleration Network program (FL-CAN.)
The mentor network offers entrepreneurs access to scientists, business leaders, professional service providers, and investors.
“FL-CAN is accelerating innovation in cleantech areas by providing entrepreneurs with the benefit of expertise earned from years of success,” said Thomas O’Neal, associate vice president for research and commercialization at UCF, and the principal investigator on the FL-CAN project.
The mentor network is designed to fill experience gaps common to most technology startups. These often include but are not limited to business scale-up, fundraising, and identifying a strategic path.
Mentors offer a seasoned veteran as a resource that has “been there, done that” and can help a first-time entrepreneur focus on core efforts critical to success.
To take advantage of the benefits that the FL-CAN program has to offer, those interested should head to www.flcleantech.com to browse the services and send in a contact form for more information. Examples of services offered include market assessment, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal development, and market research expertise to assess Cleantech technologies and develop strong marketing plans for the most promising projects. Many additional services are also available.
FL Cleantech entrepreneurship programs include quarterly entrepreneurship courses, SBIR proposal development workshops, and ongoing seminars in capital formation, business planning, and marketing/sales.
“Our ultimate goal is to help entrepreneurs through the challenges of starting a company and to benefit the citizens of Florida by creating cleantech companies and jobs,” O’Neal said.
About FL-CAN: FL-CAN program links Florida-based universities, incubation networks, investors and industry resources together to create a network of Proof of Concept centers to accelerate the creation and commercialization of innovative clean technology research into new technology companies or to license into existing firms. FL-CAN is administered via a partnership between the University of Central Florida, The Technological Research and Development Authority, and the Florida Energy Systems Consortium.
UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 58,000 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development. UCF’s culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy.
The Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA) works with early-stage technology companies and entrepreneurs to accelerate their business planning, fundraising efforts, business development strategies and growth. Since its inception in 1987, TRDA has mentored hundreds of technology entrepreneurs and has supported over 175 new technology companies that have created more than 1,350 high wage jobs throughout Florida. In May 2007 TRDA opened a 31,000 square foot incubator in Melbourne that currently provides facilities and business development services to early-stage technology companies in sectors that include clean energy, software, wireless, IT, semiconductor, biotechnology and other high tech industries.
The Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC) was created in 2008 by Florida statute to promote collaboration among the energy experts at Florida’s 11 public universities for the purposes of sharing energy-related expertise and assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive energy strategic plan for the state. The Consortium was charged with performing research and development on innovative energy systems that lead to alternative energy strategies, improved energy efficiencies, and expanded economic development for the state. To kick off this program, the legislature provided approximately $40M for energy research, education, outreach, and technology commercialization at five of the Florida universities.
This article and all content within was prepared by The University of Central Florida in partnership with the Technological Research and Development Authority and Florida’s Energy Systems Consortium under award #04-79-06583 from Economic Development Administration, and U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.