Why You Need to Join Innovation Coast

By Mike Ensley, CREO Staff Writer

Innovation Coast’s purpose is to “address the specific challenges facing local technology organizations, including a shortage of highly skilled employees, insufficient investment capital, and gaps in supply-chain and supporting infrastructure. Our focus is spreading the news about our area, building interest within the national technology talent community, mentoring startups, networking, partnering and assisting with access to capital.”

It’s a noble and important mission for business in our area, but it’s only part of what makes joining Innovation Coast so valuable for businesses.

“Membership in Innovation Coast has helped begin creating a tangible technology- and knowledge-based community in Northwest Florida,” said Donovan Chau, executive director of Innovation Coast. 

The benefits of joining are many:

  • Networking events and opportunities
  • Increased visibility for your business and projects through Innovation Coast marketing and public relations efforts
  • Access to our job listing service and to our bank of job candidates
  • Mentorship program connecting experts and start-ups to the benefit of both
  • Insider news on projects, sites, employment, and other business developments in the IC network

But many members have also found kindred spirits through the organization and these meetings have led to new collaborations.

“Real and productive relationships have developed, among businesses and their leaders,” Chau said. “The more quality time tech leaders are able to connect and network, the more tech opportunities may be created. These are exciting times to be in the tech community in Northwest Florida.” 

One such pairing is leading to a new startup, Pensacola Socialdesk, from two collaborating Innovation Coast members.

“Through Innovation Coast connections, I’ve met people with similar technology and entrepreneurial interests to mine; one is David Musselwhite (founder of Pensacola Broadband LLC),” said Peter Nowak of Nowak Enterprises, Inc. “On July 1st, he and I will be open for coworking business at Socialdesk.”

In addition to creating new projects, Nowak said that membership in Innovation Coast has also been a cost-effective way to improve business overall.

“It’s been a good investment for my business and employees.  IC’s also a helpful community resource,” Nowak said. “I encourage innovative business owners to take a look.”  

Chau believes that the organization is important to businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve technologically and in business.

“If your company wants to be a part of growing the technology- and knowledge-based community in Northwest Florida, then you need to join Innovation Coast. If you're looking for real business opportunities and professional relationships, then join Innovation Coast,” Chau said. “If you'd like to be a part of an exciting and meaningful community shaping the future of the region, then you need to join Innovation Coast.”


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