Four business groups land tech grants in Orlando

A grant program meant to expand the city’s reputation as a tech hub and fuel its talent pipeline in the space announced the four 2024 recipients on Wednesday.

Indienomicon, Tech Sassy Girlz, Orlando Devs and the Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative will each receive grants of $16,250.

“This year’s recipients reflect the importance of inclusion and representation in the tech community and impact various audiences and stakeholders,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said at a luncheon at City Hall. “Our community-driven tech organizations play an important role in Orlando and will be even more important as we move forward.”

The program is a collaboration between the City of Orlando, Innovate Orlando and Orlando Tech Community.

For the recipients, the extra money allows them to launch new programs, support existing ones or build connections.

“Beyond the funds, this gives us an opportunity to work with the city of Orlando and the Orlando tech community,” said Ricardo Garcia, cofounder and director of programs for the Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative. “We are thrilled to be recognized. It’s a big milestone we targeted when we launched (last year).”

The tech grant program required organizations to have had at least one year of programming, a regional draw and 10 percent match of funding.

Orlando Devs Vice President Caitlin Augustin said the grant will allow the organization to provide, among other things, stipends for attendees at their events that could help offset childcare costs.

“It will allow individuals who often cannot participate a chance to fully engage,” she said.

The grant will support Indienomicon’s series of game jams, which bring people together to build video games and tech-based products that support several industries, including space, military and healthcare, often in a single weekend.

“Having a program that supports us like this has a trickle-down effect to hundreds if not thousands of people,” Indienomicon organizer Kunal Patel said after the presentations. “This is a practical way we can build events where you will rub shoulders with people in those important industries. There are a lot of people out there who have ideas and who are innovative.”

Judges for the grants included Paul Sohl of Florida High Tech Corridor, Orlando tech community leaders Donna Mackenzie of LM3 and Dawn Haynes of StarterStudio, Daniel Perez of Crummer Center and consultant Amy Beaird.