Meet Ian McClure: Tech-Savvy Cluster Manager Driving Semiconductor and Small Business Innovation

March 27 | insights

In the vibrant world of The Corridor’s innovation and technology landscape, Ian McClure is a standout leader and ecosystem architect.

McClure offers a dynamic background that melds technical expertise with a profound commitment to fostering collaboration and growth across Central Florida’s regional innovation ecosystem. His career path through research, manufacturing and entrepreneurship showcases a multifaceted skill set and positions him ideally to serve like-minded innovators.

Along with spearheading The Corridor’s collaboration with the Orlando Economic Partnership to build and manage a Semiconductor Cluster, McClure also manages The Corridor’s efforts to engage entrepreneurs from underserved areas of the region – an initiative powered by a prize from the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Additionally, he applies technical expertise and a passion for building to lead special projects that improve The Corridor’s operational efficiency.

Learn more about McClure’s perspective on innovation ecosystem building and how he serves as a bridge between The Corridor and the region’s entrepreneurs:

How do you define ecosystem building?

Ecosystem building is the process of connecting stakeholders, businesses and entrepreneurs to create a productive network of collaboration.

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

The networking aspect is the most important component. Build strong relationships with your ecosystem and create warm connections.

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

It’s breadth! The capability within the ecosystem in Central Florida is huge and isn’t limited to hospitality and entertainment.

What is the resource you wish more entrepreneurs knew about?

The Small Business Administration is such a valuable resource for small businesses and can provide a lot of value without dilution of equity. If you haven’t already, check out our SBIR/STTR support for small businesses.

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

Synapse Summit in Tampa has a great energy!

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

One question I’m frequently asked is, “I need capital, what should I go after?” Cenfluence’s weekly “Collisions” email is a great resource, containing freshly collected opportunities that we believe are most relevant to our Cluster Members (ask me how to become a Cluster Member and gain access to this exclusive member resource). Beyond that, the best options are government contracts and grants via SBIR/STTR, venture capital, angel investment and crowdfunding.

I’m also asked a lot about SBIR/STTR resources. The SBA provides free online courses to help navigate and write grants. Cenfluence has provided multiple webinars on this topic, including SBIR/STTR basics, leveraging MGRP and a federal funding deep dive. You can also learn more by joining The Corridor’s FL FAST network – it’s free for entrepreneurs thanks to a grant from the SBA.

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

If you haven’t already, ask yourself this: Have I identified my target market’s pain point?

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

Whether it’s bookbinding or engine repair, I’m usually deep into a project working with my hands.