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Members of the communities of Tallahassee and Florida State University celebrated the groundbreaking of a new high-tech incubator on Tuesday.

They hailed North Florida Innovation Labs as a community-wide collaboration that will host startups and growing technology companies that need specialized lab space to continue their work and grow their businesses.

“North Florida Innovation Labs will provide facilities and resources to a diverse group of high-tech entrepreneurs to bring their research and innovation to market and create their own success stories,” said Bill Lickson, director of the incubator.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Kevin Graham, Chairman of the Leon County Board of R&D, Richard McCullough, President of FSU, Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Vice President of Florida A&M University, Vice President of Workforce Innovation, Tallahassee Community College, Kimberly Moore, Tallahassee- Leon County Office of, part Cristina Paredes, Director of Economic Vitality, John Dailey, Mayor of Tallahassee, and Kristin Dozier, Leon County Commissioner.

The 40,000 square meter building will have 31 laboratories and 20 offices, as well as coworking spaces, conference rooms and a machine hall for manufacturing product prototypes. The labs and their programs are expected to support up to 100 technology companies and ultimately create more than 600 full-time jobs in Tallahassee and throughout the region.

The facility will be located in the corridor of the Innovation Park, which already houses several high-tech laboratories and companies, as well as the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

McCullough, himself a founder of two companies, called the new facility a “tremendous opportunity” for the community and for entrepreneurs looking for space and support to grow their businesses.

“We at Florida State University are very, very proud to be a part of this project and it is my personal goal to help foster an entrepreneurial spirit in Tallahassee that will emanate from the university – and I want to do that with you.” everyone is doing as a partner,” McCullough told the crowd gathered for the groundbreaking. “We all agree that this is the right thing for this region. And I can tell you it’s possible.”

Providing space for startup companies will help both FSU and FAMU develop technologies that could be brought to market.

McCullough’s vision for the university’s research enterprise includes a major investment in fostering a culture in which new businesses and established companies alike leverage the university’s patent arsenal, develop new technologies and commercialize products.

The university already has an impressive research portfolio and connections to the private sector, but the development of NFIL is a critical tool to help the university empower startup companies.

The nearly $25 million facility was funded through a partnership of local entities, including FSU. The university provided a $2.6 million gift and a $3 million loan to help build the facility. The partnership also secured a $12.6 million federal grant from the US Economic Development Administration.

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