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Statewide Business Briefs - Jan. 2010

? TRADE

Cuba — A top trade official reported that Cuban purchases of food from the U.S. are expected to fall by at least a third this year, to less than $590 million.

? EDUCATION / ENERGY

Tallahassee — The National Science Foundation has awarded five Florida universities $600,000 over three years to promote the advancement of women educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The five are Florida State University, the University of South Florida, the University of Florida, Florida A&M University and Florida International University. Penny J. Gilmer, a chemistry and biochemistry professor at Florida State who is overseeing FSU's portion of the grant, says, "Each university plans to offer workshops for senior faculty, department chairs, administrators and human resource personnel on methods to enhance recruitment of women. In addition, senior faculty will provide mentoring experiences for junior women faculty in these departments."

» The Department of Energy has awarded Florida $30.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support clean energy projects across the state. The award to the State Energy Office will be used to support state-level energy efficiency priorities and to fund local conservation projects.

? VC FUNDING

Winter Park — The Florida Opportunity Fund announced plans to invest $4 million with venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. The money will be used to finance startup companies in Florida. The Florida Opportunity Fund, created by the Legislature as part of a state economic development strategy, aims to invest in venture funds that focus on seed and early-stage Florida businesses.