Space Florida Gets $400,000 Grant for Space Coast Development Plan

SPACE FLORIDA PROGRAM UPDATE
September 30, 2010

On September 22, 2010, the Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded Space Florida $400,000 for development of a strategic economic development strategy for Florida’s Space Coast Region, to include Brevard and surrounding counties. Space Florida will provide an additional $100,000 in matching funds to the project.

On August 15, the Presidential Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development issued a report to President Obama calling for government support of the Space Coast region throughout the transition of the Shuttle program. Recommendations in the report included engaging a public-private partnership (such as Space Florida) to work with the federal government, private sources of capital, and corporations to spur new business creation.

Grant funds cover a 12 month period, where the following strategies will be initiated by Space Florida:

  1. Cluster Analysis, Asset Mapping and Network Fortification – Space Florida will work with consultants to assess the region’s current innovation and entrepreneurial strengths and weaknesses in the clean/alternative energy, bio/life sciences, aviation/aerospace, information technology and homeland security and defense clusters through regional forums. These forums will generate a catalog of existing market assets, space industry transition opportunities and identify possible joint investment initiatives that are scalable and sustainable.
  2. Flagship Florida Capital Resource Program – As Phase 2 of this initiative, Space Florida will facilitate the formation of an investment qualification board that will vet advanced-stage small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) for financing potential. Space Florida will also develop a network of mentors who can assist investment-ready companies to prepare for solicitations. Additionally, Space Florida will host an Annual Flagship Florida Aerospace Investment Showcase, bringing together promising firms and key investors.

“We are thankful for this EDA grant, which will fuel enhanced collaboration among public and private sectors – as well as business incubators and universities – to help grow the regional economy through innovation and strategic investment,” stated Space Florida President Frank DiBello. “This program directly addresses the needs of the EDA and Space Florida to leverage critical assets and attract more investment capital to the state. We look forward to showcasing companies that we believe have significant potential to contribute to Florida’s space-related economy in the near term.”

Requests for Proposal (RFPs) tied to cluster evaluation, financing committee development and program administration functions for this grant will be posted on Space Florida’s website within 90 days.