Impact Forum meeting

October 2013 Newsletter

Impact Forum meeting

Click here to read our October 2013 newsletter.

Space Florida

CAT5 Awards will Distribute $150,000 to Top Two Florida Companies

Space FloridaSpace Florida and the University of Central Florida (UCF) Office of Research and Commercialization (ORC) are joining forces to bring the state an exciting small, high-tech business plan competition.

The “CAT5 Awards,” (Capital for the Acceleration of Technologies in early stage companies) will showcase 10 selected companies in an event that will enable them to present their business cases to venture capitalists, angel investors and financiers, among others. In addition to having the opportunity to present to potential funding sources, the top two business plans will receive $150,000 in monetary awards – with first place receiving $100,000 and second place receiving $50,000, both through Space Florida sponsorship.

Finalists will present at the Innovation Concourse of the Southeast (ICSE) Manufacturing and Safety event on June 3, 2014. Prior to their presentations, the University of Central Florida’s Venture Accelerator will match finalists with expert mentors that will provide business strategy coaching leading up to the event.

The application window for this opportunity began September 30 and closes November 8, 2013 at 5PM EST. Finalists will be notified by mid-November, 2013. More information on eligibility, applications and the complete 2014 competition schedule can be found at:



Tampa Bay’s Hottest Startups Are…

LilyPad Solutions – Using gamification, coaching, social, and cloud principles, LilyPad provides a unique set of tools for both sales management and reps.

Valet Boss – Valet Boss fixes the way your valeted vehicle is retrieved by allowing the user to request the car as while staying indoors.


Virginia Barnett
Director of Operations
Florida NEXT Foundation

The Impact of What We Do

Virginia Barnett Director of Operations Florida NEXT Foundation

Virginia Barnett
Director of Operations
Florida NEXT Foundation

Have you ever had one of those moments where your heart swells with pride and you know what you do matters, at least in some form or another? Most of us get distracted by the day-to-day aspects of our work and forget that there really is a big picture beyond the daily grind.

I saw a glimpse of my big picture Wednesday while at the iSummit 2013 in Orlando. Organizers played a trailer for a film that came out of a Florida NEXT Impact Forum in Orlando back in May.

During that Impact Forum, a group came up with the winning idea about how to make Orlando a more livable place to work, live, and play. The idea was to produce a film showcasing another face of Orlando aside from its famous theme parks.

A company called FilmScape, with help from David Glass of Florida Technology Journal, stepped up to produce the documentary, called “Orlando Rising.”  You can see the trailer and get updates on the progress of the documentary at

Once I saw the video yesterday,  I fell into that moment  – the one where I felt that what I do matters; that I can make a difference.

The trailer was a beautiful telling of the lives being lived in a vibrant, connected community. Anyone who knows me, knows I am Disney to the core and would never say that the parks are not a key component to fueling the creative growth in Central Florida. Legoland, Disney, and Universal allow for opportunities, which is never a bad thing. I can’t wait to see the finished film because I know it will be impactful. This team also put together a short for us about the Impact Forums, and as soon as we get all the permissions, we will post it to our site.

Thank you, FilmScape, for giving me my amazing moment, and reminding me that I am going to have many more like them with all of the momentum being generated with the Impact Forum projects.