We’re grateful to announce that the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, which founded and operates AMRoC Fab Lab, has received a $30,000 grant from Truist Financial Corporation to support our Equity in Entrepreneurship program. The Equity in Entrepreneurship program is a collaborative project of Grow to Greatness Ventures and FCDI’s AMRoC Fab Lab, in partnership with the Hillsborough County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and local area business leaders.

The project aims to help bridge the race and gender equity gap in early stage entrepreneurship access in the Tampa startup ecosystem. Participants learn how to take an idea and build it into a business model, pivot a small business that’s experiencing stagnant growth or stuck on what to do next. The 16-week session features a different Entrepreneur-in-Residence each week from local and minority-owned businesses, sharing real-world experiences and expertise.

Students bank seed funding for their business as they progress through the program, culminating in a 1 Million Cups Tampa pitch session and the award of funding up to $5,000 to start or further develop their business.

“FCDI is very grateful to Truist for their support of this powerful economic development initiative,” said FCDI Executive Director Terri Willingham. “The Equity in Entrepreneurship program is a critical part of our mission to build capacity and personal empowerment in the most inclusive ways possible.”

“Truist is excited to partner with FCDI and empower a cohort of diverse young entrepreneurs to explore and develop early-stage business ideas,” said Timothy Schar, Tampa market president at Truist. “Together with Hillsborough County Small Business Development Center and FCDI, we’re proud to help provide the leadership and guidance that minority-owned businesses need to thrive in this economy, fulfilling our Truist purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.”

About FCDI

The Foundation for Community Driven Innovation is a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs and active learning projects. FCDI is the founder and developer of the Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab, hosts ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, an annual youth STEAM Showcase event and Gulf Coast MakerCon, Tampa’s original Maker Festival, and facilitates fiscal sponsorship of competitive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing/Math) K-12 teams.

About Truist

Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspire and build better lives and communities. With 275 years of combined BB&T and SunTrust history, Truist serves approximately 10 million households with leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is the sixth-largest commercial bank in the U.S. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.