Tallahassee public and private sector leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of a new high-tech hub that will serve entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.
Holding a ceremony at Innovation Park, community leaders broke ground on the North Florida Innovation Labs (NFIL). The 40,000-square-foot business incubator will house startups and other tech companies in need of specialized lab space to continue their work and grow their businesses.
“North Florida Innovation Labs will provide a diverse group of high technology entrepreneurs with facilities and resources to bring their research and innovation to the market, to create their own success stories,” said Bill Lickson, director of the incubator.
Located in the Innovation Park corridor, the new facility boasts 31 labs and 20 offices as well as coworking spaces, conference rooms and a machine shop to create product prototypes. The labs and their programs are projected to support up to 100 technology companies and will pave the way for over 600 full-time jobs in Tallahassee and across the region.
The groundbreaking celebration featured a host of community leaders, including Leon County R&D Authority Chair Kevin Graham, FSU President Richard McCullough, Florida A&M University Vice President for Advancement Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Tallahassee Community College Vice President for Workforce Innovation Kimberly Moore, Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality Director Cristina Paredes, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey and Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier.
Set to open in 2024, Lickson said that local entrepreneurs can join the tech network by stopping by the Collins Building or by joining the waitlist for their 2024 laboratory opening.
McCullough added that the hub will be instrumental in attracting innovators that could aid both FSU and FAMU.
“We are very proud at Florida State University to be a part of this project, and it is my personal goal to help drive the entrepreneurial spirit in Tallahassee and at the university — and I want to do that with all of you as partners,” McCullough noted. “We all agree that this is the right thing to do for this region. And I can tell you it can be done.”
The $25 million facility was fully funded through a partnership of local entities, including FSU. The university provided a $2.6 million gift as well as a $3 million loan to support the construction of the facility. The partnership was also able to secure a $12.6 million federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.