Florida High Tech Corridor Collaboration Wins National Prize
to Elevate Underserved Women-Owned Businesses
University-Based Entrepreneur Support Organizations Collaborate to Encourage Women’s
Involvement in Florida’s Research and Innovation Economy
The U.S. Small Business Administration selected a multi-institutional collaboration led by the Florida High Tech Corridor (The Corridor) among eight winners of its first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst Competition, established this year to recognize model partnerships addressing the gaps for underrepresented entrepreneurs nationwide.
With its $150,000 prize, The Corridor team aims to elevate the role of underrepresented women-owned businesses across the 23-county region’s innovation ecosystem by enhancing the inclusivity and participation of women entrepreneurs in the SBIR program.
Four university-based entrepreneur support organizations across the state are partnering with The Corridor to establish a structured network of mentors and role models, equip women entrepreneurs to develop competitive SBIR grant applications and streamline commercialization pathways for their resulting STEM innovations. Available data shows just 13% of SBIR grant recipients nationally are women – a statistic The Corridor team eventually hopes to change through this intentional partnership approach.
“I have met and worked alongside many fiercely talented women entrepreneurs and tech industry leaders since joining The Corridor, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to remove barriers preventing more women from securing their rightful place in our innovation community,” said retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Paul Sohl, CEO of The Corridor. “Just as the name of this prize implies, The Corridor is a catalyst for boundary-breaking collaboration. We welcome the responsibility to serve as a convener, bringing the expertise and resources of our partners together to fulfill a shared mission around such an important issue.”