$1M Grant Bolsters Tampa Bay Startups, 245 New Jobs

A $1 million dollar federal grant has been awarded to USF and its regional partners as part of the U.S. Commerce Department’s i6 challenge. The purpose of the grant is to support new web and mobile app startups, with the goal of creating high-wage jobs.

USF along with Tampa Bay WaVE, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, the University of Tampa and other private companies have come together in a partnership to support local tech entrepreneurs in their efforts to get their ideas and products to market.

"We are partnering with Tampa Bay WaVE and working with them to provide participants of our program with educational workshops, mentoring and access to existing programs here at USF,'' says Tracey Swartz, assistant director of the innovation and incubation program of USF Connect. "We will also be working with Tampa Bay WaVE to develop educational content for the program.''

With the money from the i6 Challenge grant, the partnership expects to help at least 50 Florida-based startups secure funding and grow into viable tech companies, creating an estimated 245 high-wage jobs. The grant money will also be used to open and operate the FirstWaVE Venture Center, which will be an innovation and incubation facility headquartered in downtown Tampa.

The next step for the partnership is to attend a one-day conference for all i6 Challenge winners in Washington D.C. on Oct. 2. USF President Judy Genshaft has also been invited to participate in a panel discussion hosted by the Department of Commerce at the White House the day before. President Genshaft will be a panelist discussing student and faculty innovation and entrepreneurship.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Tracey Swartz, USF Connect

Read more articles by Kimberly Patterson.

Kimberly Patterson is a news editor for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.