Small City Grants Can Help Tiny Tech Companies Buy Time To Grow

By Marco Santana
Orlando Sentinel

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Orlando has spread $65,000 among 16 ventures, including the student coding group “Tech Sassy Girlz.”

ORLANDO, Fla.

A city program that recently handed out money to tech groups would hardly make an impact on most companies’ budgets, with the highest award being $10,000.

But to the small groups that actually received money, these grants, which ranged from $2,000 to $10,000, can buy the thing they might need most: time to grow.

“If we are stuck in the minutiae of spending all of our time thinking about how we are going to pay for pizza, when will we have time to get it all organized?” said Kunal Patel, organizer of the space-related video game building event called Indiegalactic Space Jam. “It helps buy time.”

Patel landed two of the 16 grants on the list, with Indiegalactic getting $10,000 and his independent video game development group Indienomicon receiving another $2,000.

The City of Orlando’s new Technology Community Support Pilot Program is meant to boost the city’s budding tech scene.

On Aug. 17, the city announced that it had spread $65,000 among 16 efforts, including the student coding group Tech Sassy Girlz, University of Central Florida’s Press Play Conference and the downtown coworking space Catalyst.

Raising money to support these kinds of programs has been more successful elsewhere, with other cities bringing large organizations on board to fund specific efforts.

Last year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation poured $1.2 million into Blacktech Week and other programs with a goal of supporting black entrepreneurs in Miami.

Blaire Martin, CEO and co-founder of the early stage company investment group Florida Angel Nexus, says Orlando’s grant program could become a jumping-off point to future funding efforts.

“Over time, we will have the support the entrepreneurial community needs,” she said. “It’s not like anyone is saying we don’t want to do it.”

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