Our primary objective is to help diversify Northwest Florida’s economy by organically growing the number of private sector technology startups.
By expanding our tech ecosystem we’re helping to create more high-paying jobs which in turn will make it easier to attract larger firms to our region.
RECOGNIZING THE NEED FOR A TECH ECOSYSTEM
In 2007, Steve Millaway returned to his hometown in Panama City after spending most of his career in Arizona.
Although Panama City and Panama City Beach had both experienced considerable growth, the growth was primarily centered on tourism and the expansion of DoD contractors supporting the local Navy Base and Tyndall Air Force Base.
What was still missing were the high paying private sector jobs like those found in Silicon Valley, Austin, and Phoenix. As he later discovered, the same situation existed for much of Northwest Florida where the local coastal economies were driven largely by tourism and the Military.
ATC BRINGS TECH TO PANAMA CITY
Steve soon discovered that Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) was thinking about building a state-of-the-art technology center on campus where students could receive training in a wide range of areas including advanced manufacturing, computer science, cyber security, and digital media.
The plans included facilities that allowed hands-on training with emerging technologies such alternative energy systems, electric
cars and additive manufacturing using 3D printers. For the next 6 years, Steve served on various advisory boards at the college that focused on the development of the new technology center and on launching various entrepreneurial programs.
Finally, in late 2013, GCSC’s new $35M Advanced Technology Center held its grand opening, and in doing so, ushered in a new era where students could now receive training on advanced technologies, design and build prototypes, and receive entrepreneurial training.
TECHFARMS IS CREATED
What was still missing in the community was a technology incubator where both students and residents of the community could take their ideas from concept to prototype and receive advice and mentoring while they start their new businesses.
To address this need, Steve founded TechFarms in early 2015.
Once TechFarms built its facility, outfitted it with prototyping equipment, and staffed it with experienced mentors and partners, members of the area's entrepreneurial ecosystem began to converge.
TechFarms' tenants, partners and mentors know we are more than just an incubator. We are a group of like-minded entrepreneurs and business leaders who belong to and contribute to a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Before TechFarms was established in early 2015, local organizations that provide business resources didn't have many common places to collaborate. Similarly, local entrepreneurs had to hunt for the right resources from many different organizations.
STEM educational curriculum in our schools, colleges, universities, and tech schools.
Military institutions and universities providing a path for technology transfer.
Existing tech companies providing more internship opportunities for students.
More funding for promising startups.
Our members benefit from the network of successful business leaders who comprise our regional ecosystem.
WITH TECHFARMS AS YOUR STRATEGIC PARTNER, WE CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW.
One of the most important aspects of starting a new business is aligning yourself with people you can trust.
Selecting the right business partners for your startup is critical since they can save you time and money. They also help you outmaneuver your competition. Partners can provide valuable introductions to individuals and businesses and can help with critical functions such as accounting, legal, website design, social media, advertising, marketing, sales, IT, fundraising, and more.
We know that most startups have limited financial resources and we carefully select strategic business partners that can provide their products and services at an affordable price. Then, as our startups graduate and move out of our incubator, our partners will have a greater chance of retaining a loyal, long-term customer. It’s a win-win for everyone!
The relationships we're building with outside communities are laying the foundation for an expanding technology and manufacturing industry in northwest Florida and beyond. What we do today determines where we go tomorrow, and where our companies and employers go in the future.
To accomplish TechFarms' mission, we are working together with all our friends, partners, institutions, and other entities in our expanding ecosystem. We're sharing ideas, connections, strategies, and resources to help each community accomplish their own mission and goals. Building a Tech ecosystem is a team effort.
We’re always searching for strategic partners that can provide products and services that our members need. We can even offer your business affordable office space within our incubator where you’ll have direct access to our members, partners, and our many other amenities.
Through our ecosystem we can broaden your outreach and introduce a new client base to your business.
If you’re interested in becoming a TechFarms partner, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, OR call us at (850) 233-0058