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Cenfluence: Your Connection to Industry Cluster Collaboration

22 Aug | Resources

Industry cluster collaboration is at the core of Cenfluence’s business support services, and our team works to connect each of our Cluster Members with vital resources and prospective partners who can help accelerate their company’s growth. Through working groups and trusted relationships, our Cluster Members build a support network of like-minded research and development professionals, innovative founders and tech company leaders who are invested in learning from each other and are willing to put their competition aside and cooperate to tackle industry-wide issues for the greater good. Decades of experience have taught us several lessons for making these types of partnerships fruitful.

Establish trusted and informed support.

Cenfluence fosters strategic partnerships by taking a 50,000-foot view of the cluster community, actively listening to understand the needs of each company, and serving as a trusted and informed connector between Cluster Members. Cenfluence looks across clusters and serves as a convener to help industry competitors develop collaborative and aligned partnerships from a neutral perspective.

Every new Cluster Member’s journey begins with a needs assessment conducted by the Cenfluence team. We learn about your business’s strengths, identify the resources you may need, understand the challenges you’re facing and identify areas for growth. The assessment is confidential and serves as a guide for Cenfluence as we strive to provide services tailored to the needs of each company.

“I’m an advocate for our Cluster Members and our team as connectors,” said Amy Beaird, Ph.D., Cenfluence program director. “We understand what individual companies need, their ideal partnerships and foster connections where others don’t see them.”

Build relationships.

You’ve been introduced to a fellow Cluster Member, have a list of potential research partners or have your sights set on collaborating with an industry leader – what happens next? Before kicking off any project, it’s imperative to understand what you are trying to achieve and build the right relationships. Not every expert out there will be the best partner, just as not every connection will serve to benefit your company. Cenfluence provides guidance on structuring research and innovation partnerships, and support on fostering connections to aligned partners whether they are in your industry or at top research universities including the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida.

Building relationships with other Cluster Members or regional stakeholders before you jump into a business relationship is critical for creating a foundation of trust. Cenfluence offers several opportunities to network with other Cluster Members including working groups, monthly webinars, collaborative events and participation in regional innovation conferences. Cluster Members get out of Cenfluence what they put into it; members who benefit the most from Cenfluence services are usually our most involved and proactive.

Understand intellectual property nuances.

For formal collaboration, documenting roles, responsibilities and partnership goals in a memorandum of understanding, contract or subcontract is essential to long-term success. Knowing who owns what, especially when there is collaborative development of joint intellectual property (IP) is especially important for partnerships in the tech and innovation space where navigating IP can make or break the success and long-term sustainability of a venture. This is an area where the Cenfluence team can offer expertise, either by providing guidance on industry norms, connecting Cluster Members with expert resources or providing a trusted place to discuss potential concerns to ensure you make the best decisions for your company.

People first.

As an innovator, ideas are invaluable, and creative, inspired people are the best conduit for bringing those ideas to life.

“It can be easy to get caught up in the technology and intellectual property, but your people are your greatest asset,” said Ian McClure, Cenfluence cluster manager.

Competition for skilled talent is just as fierce as competition for customers. It’s one of the reasons Cenfluence works closely with the workforce development and academic institutions in Central Florida to connect companies with the region’s best talent.

Reach out for help.

The Cenfluence team offers decades of experience helping businesses with partnership opportunities and developing successful collaborations regionally, nationally and internationally.

Among the many services we provide, industry working groups leverage the power of the collective for Cluster Members to tackle industry-wide issues and opportunities collaboratively, and with greater impact. Current working groups include:

We also support Cluster Members in their pursuit of new partnership opportunities overseas. Since Cenfluence launched in 2021, we have initiated communications with 28 international cluster management organizations to share information about Cluster Member companies for potential collaboration. We offer matchmaking opportunities for our Cenfluence companies to connect with international firms with aligned interests.

Thanks to the generous support of Orange County Government, membership in Cenfluence is completely free. If you’re considering whether Cenfluence is right for you, contact our team.

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