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Tampa Bay Wave receives $2M federal grant

Veronica Brezina



Linda Olson, founder and CEO, Tampa Bay Wave. File photo.

Tampa Bay Wave Inc., the local accelerator aiding startups, has landed a $2 million federal grant to boost its cyber/finance and healthtech programs.

The $2 million comes as a three-year grant from the United States Economic Development Administration (U.S. EDA) to support its Tampa Bay Cyber/Finance and HealthTech Accelerator Innovation Network, known as TB CfHAIN, as part of the EDA’s 2022 Build to Scale grants program.

“These funds will enable Tampa Bay Wave to expand our programming and support for cybersecurity, fintech, and healthtech startups, thereby helping foster the region’s national reputation for innovation and talent across these verticals,” Tampa Bay Wave CEO Linda Olson said in a Wednesday news release. “This project should not only help strengthen industry-driven innovation clusters in Tampa Bay, but also lead to the creation of hundreds of new jobs in the region over the next three to five years.”

The U.S. EDA awarded a total of 51 Build to Scale grants, totaling $47 million, to organizations across the U.S. that support tech entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation and fuel economic growth while also fostering inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models.

“With this new grant funding, Wave will expand its programming by running nine 90-day accelerator cohorts specifically tailored for these industry verticals, supporting 180 new high-growth potential startups and fostering the creation and retention of 2,730 jobs. The project will also utilize Wave’s 150-plus mentor and 400-plus investor networks to support both accelerator participants, alumni from prior accelerator cohorts, and local tech startups. Given Florida’s persistent early-stage capital gaps, TB CfHAIN will also greatly expand investor outreach, launch an investor portal, and increase the region’s capacity for SBIR/STTR support,” the release read. 

In 2012, TBW was awarded $1 million through the i6 Challenge Grant for a collaborative regional partnership led by TBW that included the University of South Florida and a network of partners. 

Since receiving the first EDA grant, TBW has run 28 accelerator cohorts with programs such as the TechDiversity Accelerator (powered by the Nielsen Foundation); the CyberTech|X Accelerator, sponsored by leaders in space including Bellini Better World, A-LIGN, KnowBe4, Bank of America, Ernest and Young and others; the FinTech|X Accelerator in partnership with the USF; and also the TechWomen Rising Accelerator, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. 

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