TAMPA — Hillsborough County leaders are hoping their first grant of $300,000 to 14 local organizations will help them jumpstart high technology and entrepreneurialism in the area.
Led by County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, the Hillsborough County Commission in February set aside $2 million to fund a new program called the Economic Development Innovation Initiative. The idea was to steer grant money to community organizations that nurture startup companies and encourage technology education.
The county has since awarded the first $300,837 of that money to 14 groups, and it’s taking applications for the next round of grants.
More information and instructions on applying can be found at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/edi2. The deadline for applying for the second round of grants is Nov. 15.
The biggest grant winner was the Tampa Bay WaVE, a nonprofit that runs an entrepreneur accelerator program. Its FirstWaVE Venture Center, at 400 N. Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa, offers inexpensive rent and expert help for startups. It won $50,000 from the county.
Other organizations winning awards include a group called Learning is for Everyone, which exposes students to robotics among other functions. It won $43,250 in two awards.
The Tampa Bay Technology Forum won $29,500, and the county awarded $25,000 to a group called Technova Florida to help it sponsor the annual tech event Barcamp Tampa.