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Tech Matching Grant Pilot Program


The Orlando Technology Community Support Pilot Program expands the City of Orlando’s continued commitment to creating an environment for entrepreneurship as a critical component of the region’s innovation ecosystem. In collaboration with the Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership), the grant program provides matched-funding support for Orlando technology focused events and programs. Four key goals provide a framework for the pilot effort and applications will be scored against each other:

  1. Increasing the connection and collaboration among start-up and existing tech companies;
  2. Building the tech talent pipeline;
  3. Catalyzing private capital investments; and
  4. Increasing Orlando’s reputation as a tech hub


The Orlando Technology Community Support Pilot Program will provide lump-sum, matching grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 from a total pool of $65,000 (pilot year) to help organizations and companies develop tech focused event and programs that will unite the tech workforce and community. Partial awards (amounts other than those requested in the application) may be made according to the judges’ determination based on the merit of the application and in consideration of the full portfolio of awards to be given.

Grants are awarded on a matched-funding basis. That is, an applicant awarded funding of $5,000 is required to also contribute $5,000 towards the project either from current funds in hand or matching infusion of private capital. The matched-funding component can comprise purchased goods and services (cash expenditure), in-kind contributions (i.e. the value of the rental space) or a combination of both.

Award Process

The application process will be announced on June 1, 2018. Only complete applications conforming to the specified format and requirements will be evaluated and eligible for funding. Applications must be submitted through the designated page within the Partnership web site by midnight on Friday, June 29, 2018.

Judges will complete and submit their individual evaluations of qualifying applications to the Partnership support staff by noon on Monday, August 6. Compiled evaluations will be returned to the judges accompanied by a tally sheet reflecting the scores for each application. Final award determinations to be made by consensus agreement among the judges present at a called meeting during the week of August 10, 2018. Announcements of awardees will be made by posting to the Partnership website during the week of August 17, 2018.

To see the list of award recipients, click here.


This is a competitive grant program. Applications will be assessed by a panel of five to seven volunteer judges recruited by the Orlando Economic Partnership to reflect breadth of expertise in areas considered critical to assessing the viability of the event.

Panel of Judges:

Tom Carbone | Technical Director, FIEA/Studio Director, Iron Galaxy 
Before joining FIEA, Tom was one of the lead programmers on Madden Football, produced by EA at its Orlando-based Tiburon Studios. He is also currently Studio Director of Iron Galaxy Orlando.

Katrina Deleon | Business Development, Gravitational Marketing
Katrina is in business development for Gravitational Marketing, focusing on Partnerships and Emerging Markets. Also, as the President of the local American Marketing Association, Katrina strives to bring together the marketing community to learn, grow and connect to reach their fullest individual potential.

Tomas Diaz | Chief Executive Officer, flexReceipts
A seasoned leader and visionary expert on what grabs – and holds – that attention of consumers, Tomas is flexReceipts’ founder and chief executive. A passionate, enthusiastic, and energetic leader, he holds people to a high standard precisely because he expects everyone – from employees to vendors and customers – to hold him to one as well.

Phil Dumas | Founder, Unikey Technologies
An engineer by degree, but entrepreneur by practice, Phil has played key roles in several startup and early-stage companies. Most recently, he founded Unikey Technologies, a secure mobile key platform and experience company focused on smart enabling leading access control company’s portfolios. Phil is also known for his appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Jacques Fu | Chief Technology Officer, & Co-Founder, Fattmerchant
Jacques is a technology leader experienced in executing new technology products with early revenue and traction. As the current CTO and technical co-founder at Fattmerchant he and his team have built a payment platform processing over $1B annually.


Qualifying applications will be evaluated across six categories with numerical scores to be assigned by each judge:

  1. Technical compliance to application guidelines. In cases where a simple majority of evaluations finds an application to be outside the program guidelines, the project will be disqualified (1 point)
  2. History of producing the event or similar events (1 points)
  3. Dedicated organization to plan the event (2 points)
  4. Effective marketing strategies (1 points)
  5. Proven audience seeking specific programming (2 points)
  6. Exceeding two or more of the goals listed in the Introduction (3 points)

Total score potential: 10 points

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive the grant, each event must have:

  • A minimum one-year history of producing the event or similar events
  • At least one dedicated (paid or volunteer) administrator
  • Proof of matching funds

Grant Payment

If deemed necessary to initiate the project, a portion of the approved funding may be paid in advance as specified and validated in the grant application. Advance payment shall not exceed 50 percent of the total grant funding awarded. Subsequent to or in the absence of any advance payments, funding support shall reimburse costs already incurred and as payable upon successful milestone completion specified in the event plan portion of the grant application or as determined by the Partnership program staff in cases where awards are deemed appropriate by judges in the absence of predetermined milestones.

Grantees are required to provide evidence of all expenditures tied to the grant and matching funds, such as receipts. The evidence of expenditure must show that payment has been made as supported by photographs, screenshots, diagrams and/or demonstrations where relevant to demonstrate milestone completion. Each milestone claim will require a written report of activities undertaken and outcomes achieved and must include suitable evidence of completion.

The Partnership program staff may inspect events on-site and throughout the planning duration, including as part of the milestone verification process.

Events must take place within one year from the award.

For in-depth details on Tech Matching Grants funding, eligibility requirements, the award process, evaluation and grant payment, please visit the Orlando Economic Partnership

Please contact Sheena Fowler at sheena.fowler@orlando.org for more information.