ORLANDO, Fla. -- As Orlando looks to grow its tech community, they’re proclaiming this week “Coworking Week.”
- Orlando proclaims this week 'Coworking Week'
- Supports shared spaces between entrepreneurs, technologists
- Week showcases various coworking spaces in Orlando
The week is supporting the spaces that allow entrepreneurs and technologists to work together, renting a desk space on daily or monthly basis.
“A huge, huge opportunity awaits us," said Dennis Pape. “It’s almost like being at a networking event you might be going to at night, but you’re at a networking event during the day.”
Three years ago, Pape, a serial entrepreneur, founded the coworking space Catalyst in Orlando to address a problem he says Orlando has.
“We have a lot of start-up activity in Orlando. We don’t have a lot of scale up activity," he explained.
So, Pape opened his South Orange Avenue spot for entrepreneurs, creative companies and professionals alike, offering a more mature, yet collaborative environment filled with workspaces, glass-enclosed conference rooms and brick accents.
WiFi pumps, coffee and snacks are also abundant, and workers there engage in what Pape calls "serendipitous collisions."
“We are a real mecca of technology that Tampa doesn’t have, Miami doesn’t have, and I’m a big proponent that we need to harness and leverage that technology base we have," he said.
Recently, the non-profit joined five other spaces -- Hub 925, Starter Studio, CoLab, Scribble Space and the newest coworking space — Orlando Game Space, devoted to game developers -- and formed the Orlando Coworking Alliance. The group aims to share best practices of running such spaces, as well as raise the profile of coworking options in Orange County.
Their first event is this week's Coworking Week, featuring a different space each day with the hope that technologists will filter in.
“We’re encouraging people to go around to all of the coworking spaces this week and they’ll find different communities," Pape explained.
Spencer Elliott was one of them, stopping by Catalyst Wednesday morning.
The UCF grad founded his company, Beyond 360, four months ago. It creates interactive and immerse experiences for brands, employing virtual reality and 360 tours. But, Elliott was looking for a new space from which he and his business partner could work.
“Being able to collaborate with other like-minded individuals is key," he said. "I can't tell you how many times we've had creative friction and been able to collaborate with other companies."
In addition to the proclamation, Orlando approved a $65,000 fund they're calling the Orlando Tech Grant Pilot Program. The Orlando Economic Partnership is in the process of creating a committee who will judge applications for events which bolster the technology community in the city beautiful.
They hope to organize the committee in coming weeks.