It’s been nearly one year since Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) introduced its 35 Mules innovation hub based out of the company’s Juno Beach headquarters in Palm Beach County.
Since its February launch, six startups were chosen to join 35 Mules out of 70 applications from around the world:
Hygge Power, Inc. – Hopes to transform energy storage and control through products designed to address the increasing need for grid reliability, behind-the-meter control, demand flexibility and access to affordable backup power for renters, small businesses and homeowners.
Neptunya – Is working to change the fact that ocean energy currently accounts for a fraction of global electricity generation by developing technologies that will make ocean-sourced renewable energy generation a viable solution.
pUriVy – After being laid off during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, these entrepreneurs designed a product that sanitizes PPE, helping reduce waste associated with disposable protective equipment.
SustainaBase – Is building a flexible suite of tools to empower organizational sustainability efforts, allowing companies to plan, inventory, forecast and report their efforts in a tailored way.
Switched Source – Developed technology originally sponsored by the Department of Energy through ARPA-E for controlling power flow on high voltage systems and has since scaled the technology to medium voltage systems for distribution applications.
Synergy Research Labs – Specializes in the responsible manufacturing of next-generation electronic materials capable of low-cost efficient solid-state power transformation.
“The startups are each at different stages of company development and all have been great sources of inspiration,” said Crystal Stiles, senior director of economic development at FPL.
35 Mules offers each startup a 12- to 18-month opportunity, which includes a grant, dedicated workspace on FPL’s campus, executive coaching, and subject-matter expertise from FPL professionals and community members. Overall, it’s a commitment of more than $2.5 million from FPL.
“This is the latest example of FPL’s holistic economic development approach focused on bringing innovative businesses to Florida, helping them grow and keeping them here,” Stiles said. “The innovation hub will help companies flourish and make a significant and lasting contribution to our local entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The program’s unique name comes from FPL’s humble beginnings in 1925 when the company started with an ice plant, a sponge boat and 35 mules. Today, 95 years later, FPL provides Florida with America’s best energy value, energy that is not just the most reliable and the cleanest, but also the most affordable, as we continue to move Florida forward.
Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development, has announced his retirement after 17 years of service with Pinellas County government. His last day in the office will be April 30, 2021.
“Mike’s leadership at Pinellas County Economic Development has helped local companies during the pandemic, brought new employers to our community, assisted with local business expansions and positioned Pinellas County as a destination for growing companies and innovation,” said, Barry Burton, Pinellas County Administrator. “His work has diversified our economy, advanced redevelopment and strengthened community partnerships to focus on collaborative economic development efforts. On behalf of Pinellas County, I’d like to thank Mike for his service.”
Meidel has served in the role since August 2004. During his time with the County, he directed successful initiatives focused on redevelopment, entrepreneurship, job creation, employer retention, business recruitment, workforce development and the implementation of the Penny for Pinellas IV for economic development.
After a nearly 40-year career in economic development and as a community leader, he is looking forward to enjoying more time with his family, especially his nine grandchildren.
The Summit will host four engaging virtual segments with Florida’s manufacturing ecosystem stakeholders. The goal of the event is to advance Florida’s economy through innovation and talent development by leveraging resources to accelerate the productivity and technological performance of the state’s manufacturing sector.