Incentivizing Marine Innovation

Philanthropy

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY FEB 26, 2015

Could Southwest Florida harness the ocean of possibilities in the marine science sector? A new program spearheaded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation aims to incentivize innovation in the so-called “Blue Economy,” a cluster of institutions and businesses active in aquaculture, fisheries, biomedicine, engineering and other water-related fields.

“Thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity are already tied to the businesses, resources and habitats of our region’s waters,” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “By incentivizing our region to think big, form new partnerships, and create innovative ideas, Gulf Coast aims to inspire and fund new business approaches that can further diversify our regional economy while conserving coastal resources and feeding our communities in sustainable ways.”

The Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge, announced this week at a Venice event featuring a lecture by X Prize founder Peter Diamandis, will offer up in its first year $500,000 in grant incentives to individuals, business and nonprofits competing.  A new Cambridge Systematics report released by Gulf Coast highlights significant economic potential in the marine sciences field.

The Challenge will take place in phases, first with initial submission, then a winnowing process to name five finalists who each will get a $25,000 grant for prototyping, and then concluding with the Gulf Coast Board naming a winning effort and awarding up to $375,000 to fully develop the solution. Find out more at GulfCoastChallenge.org.

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