Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Orlando, FL

Orlando

Orlando is not only known as the Theme Park Capital of the World, the city also has a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurs to live and launch their business.

One of the most popular cities in Florida is known as the Theme Park Capital of the World. Orlando is the fourth-largest city in the world and the 73rd-largest in the country. The city ranked 19th in WalletHub’s 2017 rankings of the best large cities to start a business and 15th in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2016 article “The 15 Best U.S. Cities for Entrepreneurs to Live and Launch.” As a whole, the metropolitan area ranked 29th in entrepreneurial growth and 22nd in startup activity in the Kauffman Index’s 2017 research.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Orlando’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

A group dedicated to helping Hispanic entrepreneurs and professionals find success in their business lives.

A networking group for artists as well as entrepreneurs, investors, and small business owners.

The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce hosts monthly networking events for small business owners and professionals in the area.

The Orlando branch of Business Network International, a large worldwide networking group for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

OEN hosts inexpensive seminars and networking events to help small business owners. Entrepreneurs, and marketing professionals find success.

Hosts regular educational workshops and networking events for aspiring and active entrepreneurs.

A community organization that creates connections and promotes the growth of Orlando technology startups and small businesses.

OWIB is a group that aims to help Orlando businesswomen find success by networking and forming relationships with one another.

Hosts workshops and seminars to help educate attendees about technology creation and development.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

An annual awards ceremony that honors successful Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs in Orlando and Central Florida.

An annual week-long cruise out of Orlando with workshops, seminars, and networking opportunities throughout the week to help passengers learn the necessary tools to succeed.

An annual three-day conference dedicated to helping established and aspiring entrepreneurs develop the proper mindset and tools to succeed.

 

Startup Competitions:

A competition in which teams of university students leading cleantech startups compete for the $50,000 grand prize.

The National Association of Women Business Owners’ Orlando branch hosts an annual pitch competition for female-led startups in Central Florida.

A 90-second spitch competition for students at Rollins University in nearby Winter Park, FL.

 

Co-working Spaces:

A co-working space specifically designed to help its clients start a new business, specifically those related to the technology industry.

Provides flexible co-working and a wide array of business resources and amenities to help clients find success and comfort.

Provides co-working space and a variety of events with an emphasis on collaboration between coworkers.

A co-working space that aims to bring together companies from all industries with membership by invitation only.

Engine Spaces offers a variety of membership levels, with the upper levels offering customers 24/7 access to their working space.

Co-working space in Southwest Orlando that offers event space to reserve and the ability to rent a furnished private office.

 

Maker spaces:

In addition to flexible membership options for the maker space, Factur also offers co-working space, workshops, and events to members.

FamiLAB is a maker space and hacker space in Orlando that offers members and their immediate families 24/7 access to their wide array of tools and equipment.

A 3,500-square foot maker space located in South Orlando that hosts OpenMake events open to the general public.

A large creative workspace in the Orlando Public Library that features video, photo, and audio studios as well as a fabrication lab.

 

Incubators:

An incubation for promising video game developers headquartered in Orlando.

An innovation and incubation center with a 92,000-square foot facility to help companies with healthcare solutions find success.

The University of Central Florida offers several programs depending on the stage of the company, including both pre-incubation and incubation.

 

Accelerators:

A three-month accelerator program for early-stage technology startups in the Orlando area.

Provides capital, education, and mentorship to seed- and early-stage technology companies in Florida through their accelerator program.

The Central Florida Social Enterprise Accelerator provides access to mentorship and education for social startups during their 6-month customized accelerator program.

An accelerator program that connects high-growth entrepreneurs with workshops, mentorship, inspiration, and access to funding opportunities.

Find the Accelerator that’s right for you

 

Colleges/Universities:

Full Sail University offers a one-year online Master of Science degree in Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Through the Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship, Rollins University offers students experiences and opportunities for success both in and out of the classroom.

Seminole State College offers an associate’s degree as well as a pair of certificates in entrepreneurship.

UCF’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship provides a number of resources to students around the University, including academic programs.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

With several locations around the country, Arsenal invests in execution-stage technology companies in large markets.

Provides capital and support to post-product, pre-revenue technology startups in a variety of sectors.

An angel group that invests in early-stage technology companies in Florida, specifically in the sectors of SaaS, AI, Analytics, Healthcare IT, financial technology, and HR tech.

Provides funding to early-stage startups in Florida that use technology to succeed in a variety of industries.

An early-stage venture capital firm that invests in Florida companies with the potential for high growth.

An early-stage venture fund that provides capital and support to companies in Central Florida.

8 Things the Founders Must Know for their Pitch to an Angel Group

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Florida Trend, a business magazine in Florida, offers a variety of newsletters with different focuses.

The Orlando branch of the National Association of Women Business Owners offer news and update e-mails.

The Orlando Economic Partnership is dedicated to supporting economic growth in the Orlando area and offers several newsletters to subscribers.

The Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce offers a weekly newsletter with updates on business news in the area.

An organization dedicated to advancing the technology and entrepreneurial community in Orlando offers updates and news on their events.

 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights? Check out our other articles:

Augusta, GeorgiaPortland, ORGreensboro, North Carolina

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Orlando not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Article by Quinn Pilkey


Rebecca Cox

Rebecca Cox is a seasoned international traveler and Digital Marketing Specialist at Intellithought. She executes social media and marketing strategies for Funding Sage, which provides valuable information, tools, and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.