Florida Techcelerator Summit

SBA 2024 Growth Accelerator Competition

Florida Tech was awarded Phase I funding from the US Small Business Administration 2024 Growth Accelerator Competition for its impactful and inclusive approach to nurturing a collaborative national innovation ecosystem to advance small business research and development from ideas to the market.

This funding will be used to host a summit to showcase the Space Coast innovation ecosystem for advanced manufacturing and other technological innovations. With a special focus on female founders, this event will attract and showcase innovators from across the state and connect them with local resources to support their success.

Learn more about the SBA Growth Accelerator and America's Seed Fund

Learn more about our winning proposal.

About the Summit: Igniting An Inclusive High Tech Ecosystem

Florida Tech's weVENTURE Women's Business Center (WBC) and the Florida Tech Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design (CAMID) are collaborating to create a new Florida Techcelerator program that combines business expertise and engineering excellence to help nurture a more diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem. 

This two-day summit will strengthen ecosystem partnerships, showcase the unique resources available to high-tech innovators at Florida Tech and on the Space Coast, engage mentors and investors, and identify founders for the first cohort of the Florida Techcelerator program. 

Founders are invited to attend the summit to network and connect with resources on the Space Coast and pitch their businesses live on stage.  The hope is to identify three companies that will be awarded full scholarships to participate in the inaugural Florida Techcelerator Mentorship Program and compete for funding from the weVENTURE WBC IMPACT Grant. Please use this link to apply to pitch your business during the Business Showcase.  Read more about the IMPACT Grant here. 



Monday July 15th Open House is an opportunity for businesses interested in applying to the Florida Techcelerator program to meet our coaching team and see our facilities. We also invite subject matter experts and experienced founders interested in serving as mentors to support businesses participating in this new program.  This session will begin at Florida Tech CAMID facility 2-5pm, then transition to Groundswell Start Ups for brews and bites. 

Tuesday July 16th Techcelerator Summit 

8:30am       Check in

9am             Keynote Speaker - Megan Wolfgram, Founder and CEO, SwiftPaws, Inc.

9:45am       Panel Discussion on Leveraging Partnerships

Hear from founders who have successfully leveraged STTR/SBIR funding, prototyping/design collaborations, or other key partnerships as part of their growth strategies.  Panelists:  Jessica Gomez - Founder/CEO, Rogue Valley Microdevices; Rebecca Warren, CEO, Critical Frequency Design; Maria Tirado, Business Operations Manager, Improving Aviation; Stefanie Catania, CEO, Catania Enterprises.  Moderated by:  Jack Henkel, Senior Cluster Manager, Florida High Tech Corridor.

10:45am     Break

11am           Panel Discussion on Diversifying our Innovation Ecosystem

Engaging in conversation with representatives from local, state, and regional business development organizations about how we can support a diverse innovation ecosystem, by gender, race, and industry. Panelists: Paul Sohl, CEO, Florida High Tech Corridor; Chris Slater, Business Development Consultant, SBIR Advisors; Kimberly Rosier Jean-Louis, CEO, MBDA; Ravel Bonilla, Program Director, Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council.  Moderated by Kathryn Rudloff, Executive Director, weVENTURE Women's Business Center. 

12pm           Lunch: SBA Guest Speaker Jennifer C. Shieh, PhD                                  

Dr. Shieh is the Chief Scientist & Program Manager, Ecosystem Development Division, in the Office of Investment and Innovation of the US Small Business Administration. She will discuss the impact of SBA programs designed to help launch and grow innovative small businesses.

1pm-2pm    Networking/Break/Transition to Gleason Auditorium (10 minute drive or shuttle transport)

2pm             Business Showcase*

Founders are invited to pitch their business to the audience of investors, mentors, and members of the innovation ecosystem support community. This is a supportive environment to share your work and vision with others eager to help you succeed. Three businesses will be selected for the inaugural Florida Techcelerator program starting in Fall (pending Phase II funding award) and considered for the 2024 IMPACT Grant, awarded in October.

3:30pm       Break/Networking 

4pm            Screening: Show Her The Money 

Show Her the Money

Exclusive screening of a new documentary that addresses how women receive less than 2% of venture capital funding and demystifies what venture capital is. Featuring rock-star female investors who invest in diverse women entrepreneurs with innovations that will change the world, Show Her The Money reminds us that money is power and women need it to achieve true equality.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with film producers, featured investors, and female founders.  Note that the screening is open to the public and guests may attend the screening, without attending the full-day summit but must still register in advance.

6:30pm      Networking Reception