Meredeth Rowe finalist for Florida IDEA grant

USF’s Meredeth A. Rowe, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, was selected as finalist in the inaugural selection process for a Florida Innovative Development for Economic Advancement (IDEA) grant, which offers early-stage financing to promising technology companies in central Florida that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital funding.

Dr. Rowe, who is professor and the Lewis and Leona Hughes Endowed Chair in Nursing Science at the USF College of Nursing, submitted Caregiver Watch, a small business she owns that produces AlzAlert™, a night home monitoring system that she developed.

Out of an initial field of nearly 50 applicants, Dr. Rowe received word that she made it to the 16 semi-finalists and then, was excited to learn that she was one of the six final outstanding innovators to be chosen to compete for the two grants given this year.

“As a new company, to make it to the final competition the first year Florida has given the IDEA grants against a very competitive field was a great boost for me and AlzAlertTM,” Dr. Rowe said.

Dr. Rowe’s national renowned research and work with people with cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease or autism, and their caregivers led to the development of AlzAlert™. The system can be used to manage nighttime activity of those with cognitive impairment, thus reducing injuries and giving the caregiver peace of mind. Dr. Rowe’s work has been instrumental in the development of the Silver Alert program, and she is often consulted by law enforcement agencies to train officers in what to do in a Silver Alert situation, as well as what resources they could provide families who are dealing with an elderly family member who has the tendency to wander.

“Additional tools and techniques for caregivers of cognitively impaired people will be an enormous benefit to everyone,” said Dr. Rowe.

Florida IDEA grants provide seed and early-stage financing to technology companies. The organization helps young, innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants.

Florida IDEA grant finalists were chosen from 48 applications received from Central Florida-based entrepreneurs and companies focused on information technology, medical devices or material sciences. Grant winners were announced November 14th by FL IDEA. The two grants of up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment.

The Florida IDEA grants program was introduced by IDEA Fund Partners, a venture capital firm providing seed and early-stage financing to technology companies throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Rollins Crummer School of Business, Orlando, Inc. and Metro Orlando EDC to find and accelerate new high-growth companies in Central Florida.