accelerating orlando’s economic recovery

About the Grant Program

The Orlando Technology Community Support Grant Program expands the City of Orlando’s continued commitment to creating an environment for entrepreneurship as a critical component of the region’s innovation ecosystem. In collaboration with the Orlando Economic Partnership’s Orlando Tech Council (OTC), the grant program provides funding support for Orlando technology focused activities and programs.

Five key goals provide a framework for the program:
1) Increasing the connection and collaboration among start-up and existing tech companies
2) Building the tech talent pipeline
3) Catalyzing private capital investments
4) Increasing Orlando’s reputation as a tech hub
5) Supporting diverse representation across the local tech ecosystem


The Program will provide lump-sum, matching grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 from a total pool of $65,000 to help organizations and companies develop tech-focused activities and programs that will unite the tech workforce and community. Partial awards may be made according to the judges’ determination based on the merit of the application and in consideration of the full portfolio of awards to be given. Concurrent grants cannot be funded.

And the Winners are…

Black Orlando Tech Program: BOT Tech Cohort Project
Award: $15,000

The BOT Tech Cohort Project is an accelerated applied training program for participants to gain intro to intermediate level skills and certification (if applicable) within a particular topic in technology resulting in increased opportunities that will socio-economically benefit the local minority community.

The cohort will comprise of up to 10 Tech Cohorts, each taught over a 10-week duration, recurring in trimesters.

The BOT Tech Cohort leadership team will facilitate the training sessions through introductory level knowledge, topics, exercises, and activities, which lead to more advanced levels of training activities to create a stronger pipeline to a relevant certification.

DataKind Program: DataDive
Award: $10,000

DataKind proposes to unite the Orlando-based Data for Good community by hosting a regionally-focused ‘DataDive’ event. This high energy, marathon-style event rallies together teams of volunteer data scientists, developers, and designers that tackle the data challenges of local mission-driven organizations in 48 hours or less. Having run these events both in person and virtually for nearly a decade, DataKind anticipates bringing together up to 150 pro bono technologists to work with three or more social impact organizations to build data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that amplify their ability to do good in the world.

Foundation for OCPS Program: Ignite Ingenuity Challenge
Award: $5,000

Ignite Ingenuity: Innovate for Today and Tomorrow Challenge will activate the tech talent pipeline by exposing and engaging hundreds of Orange County Public Schools middle school students to the compelling world of computer science. This event allows students to explore their creativity, problem solving and team building skills as they develop solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development. This engaging, interactive event hopefully will ignite their imaginations and ultimately lead to a career in technology; thus increasing the much needed technology talent pool.

Intern Pursuit Program: Skills-based Hiring Study
Award: $5,000

Intern Pursuit is an intelligent intern management platform marketed to employers. The platform increases workplace diversity and inclusion and accelerates the hiring selection process using our proprietary AI machine learning algorithm. The algorithm matches employers to student candidates based on six key trending Future of Work skills, job preferences, and culture fit. The six key trending skills are tracked from initial sign up, assessment of candidates, and the performance development plan.

Orlando Science Center Program: Otronicon
Award: $10,000

On Presidents Day Weekend, February 18-21, 2022 , Orlando Science Center (OSC) will host the largest in-person and virtual gathering of Orlando’s modeling, simulation, and video game communities. Otronicon is a technology expo filling all four floors of the Science Center with the latest tech advancements. Attendees are immersed in the future of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and art, interact with industry leaders and educators, discover STEM career possibilities, learn from industry pros, and engage in workshops and presentations. Community led sessions start before the expo, highlighting partner businesses in Orlando and Central Florida.

StarterStudio Program: Investment Education Series
Award: $10,000

StarterStudio has historically hosted annual investor showcase events upon graduation of its Seed Cohorts, introducing newly fundable companies to the local investment community, in spite of a shortage of tech-knowledgeable Angel/Early capital for Central Florida startups. In 2021, StarterStudio will deliver an experiential education series introducing novice investors to local investment entities, allowing qualified, investment-curious individuals to become acquainted with the practices, processes, and people who lead local investment clubs, groups, and funds. This will be accomplished through two hybrid events and a semi-monthly podcast series targeted at regional accredited investors not already engaged in tech investing.

Award Process

Applications must be submitted by midnight on Friday, February 25, 2022.

Judges will evaluate all applications and final award determinations will be made by April 1, 2022.


This is a competitive grant program. Applications will be assessed by a panel of five volunteer judges recruited by The Partnership to reflect breadth of expertise in areas considered critical to assessing the viability of the activities and programs. Judges’ expertise will represent at least two of five areas:

• Entrepreneurial ecosystem building: Increasing Orlando’s reputation as a tech hub
• Access to capital: Catalyzing private capital investments
• Cross-sector innovation development: Increasing the connection and collaboration among start-up and existing tech companies.
• Talent development and cross-industry integration and building the tech talent pipeline
• Marketing and Communications: Impact to the community


Sydney Rossman-Reich Managing Partner, PRN
Chair, Orlando Tech Council Programming Committee

Sydney Rossman-Reich is Managing Partner of PRN Real Estate & Investments, Ltd, a family real estate development firm that has been operating in Orlando since the 1950s. She is currently the Programming Committee Chair of the Orlando Tech Council and is a newly appointed Board Member of SeedFundersOrlando. She previously worked at Facebook, Khan Academy, and McKinsey & Co and has her MBA and Masters in Design Innovation from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering, respectively.

Kathy Chiu Managing Partner, DeepWork Capital

Kathy Chiu is a managing partner at DeepWork Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in Florida-based, early-stage technology and life sciences companies. Previously, Chiu was a strategy and business development consultant specializing in new market entry and has clients ranging from U.S.-based Fortune 500 to foreign technology companies. She also ran an angel network and was an investment professional at Denver-based iSherpa Capital, a wireless technology venture capital firm. She served as a product manager at Lefthand Networks and Level (3) Communications and also worked as a quantitative financial analyst at Cornerstone Research and in the corporate strategy department of Compaq Computers.     

Stacie Ruth Senior Vice President of Virtual Care, Best Buy Health

Stacie Ruth has recently joined Best Buy Health as Senior Vice President of Virtual Care after two decades of industry experience. in 2018, she founded local HealthTech start-up AireHealth alongside local Entrepreneur Dr. Jason Eichenholz.  AireHealth is an in-home, virtual respiratory care company allowing persons with compromised lungs to proactively address their respiratory care with the support and oversight of their provider.  Today she serves on the company’s Board of Directors. 

Orrett Davis Commander of Growth & Founder, Mighty Orbit 

Orrett Davis is a growth marketer, startup advocate and technology enthusiast that works closely with high-growth technology companies. Davis has helped to foster startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the country, is the founder of the largest tech meetup in the Southeast and received recognition from the White House during the Obama Administration for his contributions to the Orlando tech community. 

Sherry Gutch Business Development Division Manager, City of Orlando

Sherry began her career with the city of Orlando in 1994 starting as an intern and ultimately serving as the Mayors Business Assistance Team Director. In 2004, Sherry left the City of Orlando to serve as the CRA Director for the City of Winter Park and spend more time with her family.    

In 2017 Sherry was offered the opportunity to return to the City of Orlando and was appointed as the Business Development Division Manager. In that role, Sherry’s team is responsible for the recruitment, retention, and growth of businesses in Orlando, the creation of jobs for our residents and the strengthening of our neighborhood commercial districts.  

Sherry lives in Delaney Park and holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. 

All judges will submit written disclosures of conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from evaluating the specific application for which there is a conflict. Additionally, the Orlando Economic Partnership staff will not serve on the judging panel. 



Qualifying applications were evaluated across six categories with numerical scores to be assigned by each judge:

1) Technical compliance to application guidelines. In cases where a simple majority of evaluations finds an application to be outside the Program guidelines, the project will be disqualified
(1 point)

2) History of producing the activity/program or similar activity/program
(2 points)

3) Dedicated organization to plan the activity/program
(2 points)

4) Effective marketing strategies, having a significant and positive impact on the perception of the City of Orlando as a dynamic community and tech hub
(2 points)

5) A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
(1 point)

6) Proven audience seeking specific programming
(2 points)

 Total score potential: 10 points 

what must i have to apply?

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive a Program award, each applicant must have: 

• A minimum 1-year history of producing the activity/program or similar activity/program
• At least one dedicated (paid or volunteer) administrator
• A reputation for excellence and credibility and be capable of attracting attendees on regional levels
• 10% match of funds requested – may be in-kind. Proof must be shown with application. 

How will the award be granted?

Grant Payment

If deemed necessary to initiate the activity/project, a portion of the approved funding may be paid in advance as specified and validated in the grant application. Advance payment shall not exceed 50 percent of the total grant funding awarded. Subsequent to or in the absence of any advance payments, funding support shall reimburse costs already incurred and as payable upon successful milestone completion specified in the activity/project plan portion of the grant application or as determined by OTC staff in cases where awards are deemed appropriate by judges in the absence of predetermined milestones.  

Grantees are required to provide a report compile a report with pictures, receipts, etc. Details are listed in the rubrics attachment. OTC staff may inspect events on-site and throughout the planning duration, including as part of the milestone verification process. 

*If report isn’t submitted within 90 days from the completion of the event, awardee will be disqualified from ever applying to a City of Orlando grant.


Any questions regarding the Orlando Technology Community Support Grant Program may be directed to Lindsey Sandrin.

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Lindsey Sandrin

Director, Innovation & Orlando Film Commission

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Orlando Tech Council

Learn more about the Orlando Tech Council.