FL: Lockheed Martin to Boost Orlando's Small Tech Firms with $100K Program

10 Feb, 2020

Lockheed Martin has created a $100,000 grant program that will award small tech companies in Orlando, Fla., with the money they need to pursue projects in areas like artificial intelligence, sensors and autonomy.
“Lockheed Martin Invests: Orlando” is one of the first by a private company to specifically target Central Florida companies and could be a major shot in the arm to Orlando’s technology community, which has been trying to position itself as an emerging tech hub, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
If it’s successful, company officials hope to expand it to other locations around the country.
“We [as a company] have thriving growth here in Orlando," Scott Roberson, Lockheed Martin’s director of advanced and special programs in Orlando, told the Orlando Sentinel. “At the same time, the tech community here is starting to grow. It’s a perfect time to start up an investment fund that will kindle the fire of the tech community.”
The projects chosen will be those that can support the defense giant’s research and development efforts.
How the company will distribute the money has not been determined. But Lockheed officials said they expect to fund between two and eight projects this year.
To apply, businesses can go to lockheedmartin.com/investorlando.
“The driving force behind this is to support our business growth and also enhance the tech community here,” Roberson said. “It’s an emerging tech hub. We see this as a chance to identify some new tech being developed here and increasing our supplier base.”
Companies in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties are eligible for the program, with applications due April 20. The winning companies will be chosen in May.
The program will be evaluated at the end of the year to see if it will return in 2021.
Lockheed Martin often partners with Central Florida suppliers on its contracts, with more than 300 companies contributing to subcontract work on its major Department of Defense deals.
“The whole idea is to grow that supplier base and capability, whether it’s new businesses we haven’t heard of or existing ones that have some capabilities we haven’t tapped into,” Roberson said.