CenterState Bank officials present a check to StarterStudio to support startup businesses in central Florida. Left to right are: CenterStateBank Senior Vice President Phil Zeman, StarterStudio Board Chair Terrance Berland, StarterStudio Executive Director Donna Mackenzie, CenterState Bank Regional President Michael L. Sleaford, and Mellissa Slover-Athey, FVP, CRA Officer at CenterStateBank. The group gathered May 30 at the John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex at Embry-Riddle Research Park.



Nancy Kinnally, Public Relations Consultant
(407) 375-2264

CenterState Bank Partners with StarterStudio through $50K Sponsorship

ORLANDO, Fla. May 31, 2019 – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University today announced that CenterState Bank has partnered with Central Florida-based nonprofit startup hub StarterStudio through a $50,000 sponsorship of programs to help early-stage entrepreneurs launch and grow their companies.

The partnership is part of CenterState Bank’s commitment to the region’s business community.

With programming in Orange and Volusia counties, StarterStudio offers resources to help tech-enabled companies start, scale and stay in Florida, including community education programs, accelerators, funding, and collaborative workspaces.

Rodney Cruise, senior vice president for administration and planning at Embry-Riddle, said the impact of CenterState bank’s investment will be felt by companies throughout Central Florida, including promising startup businesses at Embry-Riddle’s Research Park and incubator facility, the MicaPlex (John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex).

“CenterState Bank helps innovators hone their ideas, refine their products and services, attract investment and succeed,” said Cruise, who is also a member of the StarterStudio board. “Central Florida needs more entrepreneurs like Reamonn Soto, whose startup company, Sensatek Propulsion Technology, has generated jobs and a new cost-saving technology for businesses. StarterStudio has played a transformative role in accelerating startup companies like Sensatek. CenterState Bank’s leadership recognizes the importance of StarterStudio’s efforts to boost Central Florida’s economy.”

CenterState Bank Regional President Michael L. Sleaford said the collaboration of CenterState Bank and StarterStudio will enhance the entrepreneur experience.

“StarterStudio’s approach of training, mentoring and funding is all-encompassing and provides businesses all the resources they need to be successful,” Sleaford said. “They have an excellent support system in which collaboration is very evident.”

Sleaford said the bank has a history of serving small businesses by keeping decision-making local and addressing their immediate needs. He sees the partnership with StarterStudio as an extension of that.

“We feel we can provide value to the entrepreneurs via our local team of financial experts who are willing to assist them in understanding how to make their businesses financially sustainable,” Sleaford said. “We also hope that we have the opportunity to learn from the entrepreneurs what their financial services need to look like, so we see an opportunity for us to enhance or develop new products and services that are tailored to assist new entrepreneurs.”

Ultimately, CenterState Bank sees the relationship with StarterStudio as one that benefits the community at large.

“We know that entrepreneurs and small businesses create jobs that ultimately enrich the local economy and that if we think and support local, that translates into a better community and in the long run, makes us a better bank,” Sleaford said.

About CenterState Bank

CenterState Bank is a Florida based community bank and one of Florida’s largest publicly traded banks providing online banking, commercial lending, residential mortgages and investment services. CenterState has a history of quality service and community focus. Our core values at CenterState focus on themes of sustainability, a long-term horizon and the career development of our team. We believe that local ownership and local management translate into a better bank. For more information on CenterState Bank, please visit,

About StarterStudio

StarterStudio is a pioneering hub for innovative and tech-enabled entrepreneurs that empowers and provides resources for entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators to begin, grow, and flourish in Florida. Through community education programs, accelerators, funding, and collaborative work spaces, StarterStudio fosters a community—serving as a platform for the ideas of the future. For more information about StarterStudio, visit StarterStudio is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Per the IRS, bequests, devises, transfers, and gifts to the fund are tax deductible.

About Embry-Riddle

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, most comprehensive institution specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering and related degree programs. A fully accredited university, Embry-Riddle is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 100 associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations in the United States, Europe, Central & South America and Asia, and through online programs. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

Share This