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Plugging In: How to Better Connect Yourself to Orlando’s Startup & Tech Community -Part II

The startup and tech scene is currently one of the most prominent scenes here in Orlando, and everyday, it continues to grow. Just like the music and art scenes here in the city, there are events you can attend, places you can go, and people you can meet, to get plugged in.

Plugging In is a response to new and old residents of Orlando who are dying to know how to get better connected to the burgeoning tech community in Central Florida.

PART II: Places

Church Street Exchange

The Church Street Exchange has coincidentally become the epicenter of the downtown Orlando tech scene. The Exchange building, which was repurposed from an old mall, was barron just a few years ago.

Now the Exchange is home to Canvs, the Iron Yard (a code school), PowerDMS (a document management firm), and PlanSource (a hr and benefits tech firm). Not to mention, many of the tech scene meetups and gatherings take place in the lobby of the Exchange.

Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces are ever increasing in popularity, and quantity. Downtown Orlando coworking space Catalyst opened in April. Canvs (open since 2014), another downtown coworking space, announced in August that they would be expanding into Winter Park, adding to its first and third floor presence in the Church Street Exchange.

The downtown coworking spaces are just blocks apart, and though they have similar models, they are far from in competition. Many entrepreneurs and techies bounce between the two spaces, whether it’s for meetings or to attend events. As one successful Orlando entrepreneur put it, rising water lifts all boats.

Canvs houses around 70 startups in its Church Street locations, along with Echo Interaction Group and Topps. Canvs is also home to Starter Studio, a startup business accelerator. Catalyst, though more of a freelancer’s haven, is home to established companies such as Tropo (Cisco-owned) and the VentureScaleUp accelerator.

Factur is a maker space on the fringe of downtown Orlando in the Ivanhoe Village. The space offers makers and hardware techies the space, and resources they need to manufacture, complete with 3D printers, CNC machines, and woodworking tools.

Each each of the spaces offer tours, as well as free day passes.

Melrose Center

The Melrose Center is an excellent utility for Orange County techies. Located in the Central Orange County library, the Melrose Center houses a schlew of creative resources such as prototyping tools, 3D printers, and sound booths.

Before you can work in the Melrose Center space, you must complete the Melrose Center orientation. After that, you’re good to go, and can begin creating and collaborating.

Coffee Shops

Designers and developers are to coffee as wildlife is to water – they tend to set up shop within a careful proximity. Between stops at various coworking spaces, and the library, make sure to drop in on the local java joints – you’re almost guaranteed to see someone you know.

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