For so many nonprofits this year, best laid plans had to change to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on communities. Club Esteem, a nonprofit organization offering free after-school and summer programs to economically disadvantaged children in grades 1 through 12 who live in the South Melbourne/Palm Bay area, that meant cancelling their annual Rock the Casbah fundraiser, and shifting the way they delivered their services from face-to-face sessions to virtual tutoring and curbside food pickup.
It all started in February of 2019 when Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) reached out to Shannon Landin, CEO/Founder of Codecraft Works, to collaborate on a technical training program. Together, they piloted a program funded by Vocational Rehabilitation, Fibonacci, focused on bringing technical skills to individuals with disabilities, with the goal of removing barriers, ensuring access, and practicing inclusion for all people. As a referral from BAC, Landin met Carl, who joined the program’s first cohort and made an impression on everyone he interacted with along the way.
Meet Charles Chen and Antonio Correas, Cofounders of Skymantics. Having recently been awarded a contract from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to lead a project under the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)—creating a reference guide for transformations in wireless connectivity for airports—Skymantics is leading the way in identifying needs for new connectivity technology and supporting emerging applications for travel health management.
Dylan Cross is on a mission: to bring the first performance wear made completely from recycled ocean plastic to market. What started as a college business venture with a few friends to sell eco-friendly clothing has quickly shifted into a startup focused on solving one of the most pressing issues of our time—getting plastic out of the world’s oceans and doing something good with it.
If you come to Groundswell Startups seeking help with a product, the first person you’ll likely meet is Pawan. A Groundswell Mentor since the organization was founded in 2016, Pawan has been a trusted advisor to our startup community, helping entrepreneurs and founders turn their ideas into prototypes.
Johnathen Warren is no stranger to the defense industry, having worked at Harris and Lockheed Martin for over 14 years. When he identified a market need for companies specializing in optical communications, he thought, “If I can win big contracts for the companies I work for, why can’t I do it on a smaller scale for myself?” So he sold his house, took the plunge, and with his wife, Rebecca, founded Critical Frequency Design.
Groundswell Startups prides itself on being a Give First Community, a culture that looks to collaboration and innovation to bring resources to the founders and startups we support. To do that, you need a pretty awesome mentor network willing to dedicate its time to help others succeed.