Councilman Robert Weinroth on Boca Business


By: Robert Weinroth Special to the Boca Newspaper
It’s a message to be repeated and communicated throughout; the City of Boca Raton is Open for Business!
We are a city not satisfied with merely attracting business relocations (something we have done well with fully half of the Palm Beach County corporate headquarters selecting Boca Raton as their venue of choice) but we are a city actively engaged in the creation and growth of new businesses in our own backyard.
During a recent visit to the FAU Tech Runway®, its managing director, Rhys L Williams, treated me to a tour of the facilities. Williams joined Florida Atlantic University last April after serving as the president and co-founder of a managed angel investment group.
His background allows him to take a kernel of an idea and turn it into a viable company. This skill dovetails with the mission of the FAU Tech Runway.
The Tech Runway is a public-private partnership formed to foster technology start-ups. At the Tech Runway, entrepreneurs find a complete ecosystem to house, educate, mentor and fund their companies from inception through venturing.
Rhys went on to explain the Tech Runway mentors entrepreneurs and their ventures based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Venture Mentoring Service.
The focus of the initiative is to combine the Venture Mentoring Service and Stanford’s Lean Launch pad curriculum with University resources and local community expertise to create an environment conducive to the development of successful technology and growth industry start-ups. The FAU Tech Runway® is supported by The Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Research Park at FAU.
Ideas launched at the Tech Runway are nurtured and developed at the FAU Technology Business Incubator.
The Technology Business Incubator is designed to assist companies in the early stages of development and to lighten the burdens of running a business for the entrepreneur thus allowing attention to be focused on developing the technology and finding new customers.
The Technology Business Incubator offers its residents the tools to operate effectively including conference facilities and access to its data center. It currently hosts 20 technology companies in the early stages of development in various industries such as pharmaceutical development, software and app development, and advanced electrical engineering applications.
Eventually, companies graduate to be fully operational as a tenant at the Research Park at FAU. The Research Park is overseen by it president and CEO, Andrew Duffell.
Duffell recently released a report card for 2016 to demonstrate how the Research Park’s economic development efforts are creating employment opportunities.
He reported the Research Park created over 3400 jobs (direct and indirect) with an average annual salary just south of $60,000 and with a total economic impact to our region exceeding $600 million!
Employment of student interns at the Research Park exceeds 100 with another 150 FAU alumni employed by the Research Park and Technology Business Incubator companies.
Clearly, the City of Boca Raton is not just waiting for people to appear on our doorstep. We are aggressively working to create meaningful careers while the city’s Economic Development Manager, Jessica DelVecchio, works to attract corporate relocations to our community.
There are plenty of success stories. Modernizing Medicine is just one of them. Another, spotlighted by a gubernatorial visit several months ago, is Aerospace Technologies Group, under the leadership of its president, Simon Kay. Governor Rick Scott honored ATI for creating hundreds of jobs for families in our community.
The synergy between the FAU Tech Runway, Technology Business Incubator and the Research Park at FAU has created an ecosystem where smart people with the next big idea can come, collaborate, and find solutions to gaps in the market place. To learn more about the accomplishments of the Research Park at FAU, go to: