Last week, I spent time on the University of South Florida’s campus meeting with faculty and campus officials from The Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida), the Institute of Applied Engineering, the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and the incubators for Tampa Bay Technology and Student Innovation.
Last Congress, I sponsored, and President Trump signed into law, a bill to help small businesses better address their cybersecurity risks to help them survive – and thrive. At Cyber Florida, we discussed how small businesses are more susceptible to cyber-attacks due to the limited access to the tools and expertise they need to prepare for such an event. Cyber Florida is not only training the next generation of leaders in the cybersecurity industry, but they are also leaders in workforce development and community outreach as well. We also discussed ways to improve coordination amongst the state university system and expand community outreach to ensure some of our most cyber-vulnerable populations – small business owners and seniors – are receiving the information needed to protect themselves.
As a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I supported USF’s recent application to be designated a National University Transportation Center. I was thrilled that USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao awarded them the designation and grant funding to conduct research and innovation focused on reducing congestion on our roadways. It was great to spend time at the CUTR, see the projects they’re working on, and learn the latest developments and challenges in their research.
Earlier this year, my colleague and fellow engineer, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois), and I introduced the Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2019 (H.R. 539). This bill expands the successful National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program and provides additional training for innovators to learn how to turn their research into new products and businesses. It also creates a new course that focuses on the essential skills of starting a successful and scalable business. At the USF Incubators, I met with students who are currently in the I-Corps program. They shared their incredible innovative ideas, and I saw firsthand how this additional course will help them take their innovations from the idea stage to becoming scalable, profitable businesses. I am very proud of these students and wish them success and happiness as they turn their ideas into realities that will benefit our communities and create jobs.
Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.