The Florida High Tech Corridor Expands its Partners and Work, Welcoming Two New Investors and Three New Hires to Accelerate Industry Clustering Success

April 15 | news

Cenfluence Adds the City of Orlando and Seminole County Government as Strategic Partners and Expands Capacity with Dedicated Cluster Managers


ORLANDO, Fla. (April 15, 2024) – Cenfluence, the industry clustering initiative launched in 2019 by the Florida High Tech Corridor (The Corridor) and Orange County Government, experienced tremendous growth in the first quarter of 2024, expanding its capacity to forge globally competitive industry clusters with the addition of new strategic partners and team members. 

Cenfluence makes it easier for Central Florida entrepreneurs to access tailored resources, funding and partnerships that will spark and sustain their growth. Its services are free thanks to generous investors and supporters, including Orange County Government, Orlando Economic Partnership, Duke Energy, and now the City of Orlando and Seminole County Government. Cenfluence is also funded, in part, by grants secured from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Strategic Partners Expand Cenfluence’s Capacity to Serve More Entrepreneurs

Decisions earlier this year by City of Orlando Council Members and Seminole County Commissioners to support Cenfluence underline commitments by local government leaders to position Central Florida as an ideal location for entrepreneurs and innovative companies seeking to start, expand or relocate. 

The additional investment significantly increases Cenfluence’s capacity to serve entrepreneurs and innovative small businesses, making it possible to add three new team members who can meet the rising demands for tailored business support. It also enables the city and county to gain greater visibility as an ideal place for foreign company expansion through Cenfluence’s ongoing outreach to international business networks. 

Cenfluence Members Benefit from Dedicated Cluster Management

Each of Cenfluence’s five industry clusters now have a dedicated Cluster Manager responsible for nurturing the success of its members while recruiting others to join the initiative. Cluster Managers empower entrepreneurs to overcome common barriers to business success by identifying funding opportunities and readying them for grant applications or pitches, linking them with trusted entrepreneurial programs and resources, and creating partnerships with suppliers, vendors, contracting agencies, university researchers and more.

New Cenfluence Cluster Managers include:  


  • Amanda Allen, Learning Sciences + Human Performance Cluster Manager: Allen’s new role is an exciting progression in her eight-year career with The Corridor. Previously, she served as program coordinator, managing special projects and processes to enhance organizational efficiency, providing administrative support for grants and partnerships, and managing communications for Cenfluence. Allen was also instrumental in shaping The Corridor’s early STEM education programs. She came to The Corridor following service as a technology education teacher and Technology Student Association adviser for Brevard Public Schools. Allen earned her M.A. in Communication, and B.S. in Visual Arts and Emerging Media Management, Political Science and Digital Media from the University of Central Florida. 


  • Carol Nasseh, Life Sciences Cluster Manager: Nasseh joined Cenfluence from the Orange County Government Office of Economic Trade and Tourism Development, where she developed international trade and investment partnerships within Orange County. Nasseh also served as the protocol officer for the mayor and as a liaison between the Orange County Convention Center, Orange County Government and the Orlando Economic Partnership. In 2016, Nasseh co-founded the nonprofit SER Colombia, which works with more than 80 companies on a local and global level to support the creation of renewable energy resources. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.A. in International Studies and from the University of Central Florida with a Master of Public Administration. 


  • Lisa Rain, Energy + Environmental Sciences Cluster Manager: Rain joined Cenfluence from Duke Energy, where she managed marketing and communications for economic development activities, and partnered with economic development organizations and government agencies to make Florida’s communities more competitive and attractive for business. Rain previously served in various economic development and community outreach roles for the City of Orlando, and as a STEM education specialist for the Rochester AmeriCorps. She earned her M.S. in Science, Technology and Public Policy from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

“Our strategic growth at Cenfluence reflects the region’s appetite for collaboration and commitment to help a growing number of high-tech entrepreneurs who recognize the unique strengths Central Florida offers,” said Cenfluence Director Steve Nakagawa. “We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of our strategic partners and proud to be one of the teams making Central Florida a connected community where entrepreneurs receive the support and resources they need to shine.”

Since its launch in June 2021, Cenfluence has grown to directly support more than 170 companies in four industry clusters – Energy + Environmental Sciences; Gaming, Entertainment + eSports; Learning Sciences + Human Performance; Life Sciences – and the affiliated Semiconductor cluster managed by the Orlando Economic Partnership. More than one-third of Cluster Member companies are women or minority-owned. Combined, Cluster Members are responsible for infusing over $14 million into the regional economy through private investments, federal grants and other funding sources. 

For more information about Cenfluence, visit Connect with Cenfluence on LinkedIn.


About the Florida High Tech Corridor

The Florida High Tech Corridor (The Corridor) is an initiative of three research universities – the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida – created to catalyze an ecosystem that supports the needs and aspirations of innovators who are driving high-tech economic growth in a 23-county region. The Corridor galvanizes a network of economic developers, academic researchers, elected officials and others to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses, helps businesses navigate available resources and provides direct support through several programs: the Cenfluence industry clustering initiative, matching grants for university research partnerships, and education and coaching for businesses pursuing federal research awards. Learn more at and connect with The Corridor on LinkedIn