Tampa Bay Wave, Inc. (Wave) a nonprofit dedicated to building, launching, and growing tech companies in Tampa Bay, has been awarded a $25,000 grant to continue fostering the growth and development of diverse tech startups in Tampa Bay and beyond. Florida Business Development Corporation (FBDC) is a private, non-profit Certified Development Company that administers the Small Business Association (SBA) 504 Loan Program. FBDC utilizes this program to fulfill their mission of promoting economic development throughout the communities they serve. In addition to their SBA lending, each year FBDC provides grants to institutions that support the same economic development mission. FBDC has awarded this grant to fund the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Development Program at Tampa Bay Wave.
Wave’s most recent diversity initiative, the TechDiversity Accelerator Program is powered by the Nielsen Foundation. The program is designed for early-stage tech companies that are 51% owned, controlled, and operated by a minority; woman; veteran; or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person or combination thereof. Selected companies are provided invaluable resources, such as a dedicated TechDiversity Cohort Director, one-on-one mentoring with notable tech founders, sales procurement training, pitch coaching, and investor introductions. “Wave is committed to startup inclusion and continuously enhancing our services to provide value for underserved entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay” said Linda Olson, president and founder of Tampa Bay Wave. “The tremendous support from the FBDC is a testament to the crucial role our accelerator program plays and allows us to address the last major hurdle for our local tech community – the critical early stage seed capital gap.”
Since its launch in March 2013, Tampa Bay Wave has grown into a locally recognized resource for tech entrepreneurs and a nationally recognized tech accelerator program. Wave’s innovative accelerator program has helped local tech startups create and retain over 1,200 new jobs and raise over $150 million in early stage capital. “We believe strongly in helping small businesses grow and thrive. We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues at Tampa Bay Wave to help scale diverse businesses and ignite new possibilities for entrepreneurs across Tampa Bay,” stated Bill Habermeyer, CEO of Florida Business Development Corporation. “FBDC is committed to the mission of further developing the small business community and looks forward to continuous growth in this endeavor.” “It’s the perfect time to invest in Tampa Bay’s budding tech community,” added Olson.
Since launching its programs and services in 2013, Wave has worked with over 200 startups in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. Today, Tampa Bay Wave currently works with over 100 tech startups and 250 entrepreneurs annually. Wave recently concluded their first TechDiversity accelerator program which is Wave’s seventeenth cohort and comprises 10 companies, all of whom are led by diverse teams.