Space Florida and Innovation Coast Announce NW Florida Tech Business Plan Competition

space_florida_logoPENSACOLA, FL, April 1, 2014 (Space Florida PR) – Innovation Coast, Space Florida, and the Florida Small Business Development Council (SBDC) Network are joining forces for an exciting high-tech business plan competition that will help innovators jumpstart big ideas in a variety of tech fields.

Open to businesses and entrepreneurs across the Southeast, the 2014 Innovation Awards will showcase 10 semifinalists and 10 finalists in an event that will enable them to present their business cases to venture capitalists, angel investors and financiers. In addition to having the opportunity to present to potential funding sources, first place winners will be awarded $100,000 and second place winners will receive an award of $50,000. Both the awards will come from Space Florida sponsorship, the State of Florida’s spaceport authority and aerospace development agency.

Finalists selected by an evaluation committee will present to potential investors at the Innovation Awards event on November 7, 2014 at the Hilton Garden Inn on Pensacola Beach. Prior to their presentations, finalists will complete a mentoring and coaching program, which will be developed and delivered by the Florida SBDC Network.

Applications will be available online at www.innovationcoast.com/awards starting April 15 and will be accepted through May 31. Finalists will be notified by June 15.

“This is a great opportunity for businesses and a great opportunity for Northwest Florida,” said Tad Ihns, founder of Avalex Technologies and Innovation Coast Board Chair. “We have a rich and growing technology community and are excited about the chance to help new enterprises get off the ground.”

“Space Florida is pleased to contribute to the rapid evolution of Northwest Florida into a technology hub, which we believe will act as a catalyst for the future expansion of an innovation economy for the state,” said Space Florida President Frank DiBello.

“Entrepreneurs and innovators create new markets, transform communities, and stimulate economic growth,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC Network. “We look forward to partnering and supporting this exciting opportunity for Northwest Florida.”

More information on eligibility, applications and the complete 2014 competition schedule can be found at: www.innovationcoast.com/awards. Interested parties can sign up now to receive ongoing information and updates about the competition.