Meet Amanda Allen: Passionate Cluster Manager Propelling Central Florida’s Tech Ecosystem Forward

April 26 | insights

Mental well-being, sports performance, organizational development and cognitive sciences. These are just a few of the important areas Amanda Allen is impacting in her new role as a Cluster Manager for Cenfluence’s Learning Sciences + Human Performance Cluster.

While Allen may be new to her role, she is a longtime member of The Corridor team. She has been contributing to the growth of the regional innovation ecosystem since joining the organization in 2014 as an intern. Her first five years were spent leading stemCONNECT, an initiative designed to cultivate the region’s high-tech workforce by inspiring K-12 students to pursue STEM careers. Before pivoting its focus to other areas of investment, The Corridor directly impacted over 125,000 students through stemCONNECT.

Allen has also served as The Corridor’s program coordinator, managing special projects and processes to enhance organizational efficiency, providing administrative support for grants and partnerships, and managing communications for Cenfluence. Previously, she served as a technology education teacher and Technology Student Association advisor for Brevard Public Schools.

Allen’s institutional and learned experience with The Corridor affords her the depth of knowledge required to propel Central Florida’s Learning Sciences + Human Performance companies forward.

Learn more about Allen’s passion for ecosystem building and how she can help entrepreneurs achieve their goals:

How do you define ecosystem building?

Ecosystem building is helping identify the trusted partners and resources that entrepreneurs can rely on and connecting them all. This is in addition to showcasing the amazing things happening in our ecosystem to help build up its notoriety, and that includes building up the amazing work many start-ups are creating.

What advice would you give people who are new to ecosystem building?

Keep learning. Not just about what is happening in your ecosystem but what are other ecosystems doing, how they are doing it, their impacts, and their lessons learned.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about our regional innovation ecosystem?

How interconnected it is and that many of our entrepreneurs will work through many of our resource partners at different stages to continue building their companies, which is a cool way to see the ecosystem working together to build up the companies instead of competing.

What is the resource you wish more entrepreneurs knew about?

SBIR/STTR awards. I find these awards to be so needed by entrepreneurs in our ecosystem, and yet often misunderstood. Many of our entrepreneurs can take advantage of these awards but need to first know what they are and how they work. That’s why we have our FL FAST program to help teach entrepreneurs how to take advantage of this opportunity.

Of all the events available to attend in our ecosystem each year, which is your favorite? Why?

Synapse Summit in Tampa. The vibes are always great, the energy is always high, and the possibilities are always endless. Synapse is a great blend of learning, networking, and showcasing. Furthermore, it really is a convergence of all the different aspects of tech and the innovation community.

In your role, what questions are you most frequently asked?

A question I get asked a lot is “What exactly is a cluster?” A cluster is basically an organizational system that allows us to focus on specific industries within the innovation ecosystem and the opportunities available in these different industries. In other words, the goal is to make Florida known for things other than hospitality and tourism. Through clustering, we can highlight the great things that are happening within tech industries.

I’m also asked what exactly I can do for entrepreneurs. As a cluster manager, I can connect you with the trusted information, partners and resources that you need to achieve your goals for your research and/or organization. It’s my job to identify opportunities for companies to capitalize on. If you ever want to chat about how I can help you reach those goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

What is the question entrepreneurs never ask, but they should?

Who should I meet or what resource should I connect with next?

When you aren’t working, where are we most likely to find you?

Hanging out by a pool or on the beach with my corgi Rory.