The pitch contest, awards ceremony, and networking event will be held at the Best Western Gateway Grand at 4200 NW 97th Blvd and will feature guest hosts and serial entrepreneurs Carlee and Chris Marhefka of Eat the 80, B3 Gym, and most recently Crush Couple.
Doors open at 2:00 p.m., pitches begin at 2:45 p.m., and the awards presentation and networking reception will start at 6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees can RSVP online here or through the event on CareerSource NCFL’s Facebook Page.
Startup Quest® is a nationally-recognized self-employment training program that has helped over 1500 Floridians shift their mindset from “find a job” to “create my job.” The 10-week, hands-on program pairs technological innovations developed at public universities, federal laboratories and NASA with highly successful entrepreneur mentors who help qualified participants learn how new inventions and technologies are brought to market. The program has been presented to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the National Governors Association, and the World Bank as a promising best practice for workforce development.
During the 10-week Startup Quest® training program, which kicked off Wednesday, April 19, participants formed teams led by entrepreneur mentors, created simulated companies and developed business plans based on real technologies. Teams selected technologies from NASA, the University of Florida, Florida International University, University of South Florida, and the University of Central Florida.
Unlike previous years, Startup Quest® was made available to any eligible participant. Scholarships were provided through STEM Ready, a program that trains unemployed and underemployed individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based functions funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Teams will be drawn in random order to present to the judges’ panel. Startup Quest® judges are carefully chosen for their ability to judge business plans and proposed business ventures. This year’s judges include leaders in the business community:
- Richard Allen – CEO, BluAzu
- Paul Prusakowski – CEO, Opie Software
- Jackson Streeter – CEO, Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research
- Randy Scott – Partner, HealthQuest Capital
Startup Quest® strengthens communities by creating new pathways for employment, giving participants the tools and training they need to create new businesses and stimulate job creation.