Embracing the Innovation Economy
Startup Quest is an innovative program that provides entrepreneurial training to qualified professionals by connecting them with highly successful entrepreneurs who guide these professionals through the process of creating business plans to bring new inventions and technologies to market.
Using inventions and discoveries from Florida’s state universities, federal labs and NASA a connection occurs in an intensive hands-on laboratory training program environment where participants are introduced to advanced technology industries discoveries. A simulated company and business plans will be created to develop the products or services that comprise those real technologies.
Successful entrepreneurs who have experienced every aspect of what it is to start and grow a new venture share their knowledge and wisdom during this program. As mentors, their knowledge will assist the design and development of business plans around these cutting edge technologies to develop into products.
Local Workforce Investment Boards in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Daytona, Brevard, Ft Lauderdale, Tampa, St. Pete and Tallahassee have joined together in a consortium to implement this innovative program. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor through a nearly $12 million dollar five year grant.
As of June 2013 the following outcomes from the original pilot program have been achieved:
- Number of participants who have become employed = 73
- Number of participants who have become self employed = 19
- Number of companies that have formed as a result of the program = 14 (1 of these companies has a provisional license from UF, while 3 of these companies are in process)
- Amount of investment dollars for startups from private sector funds = $124,400
- Number of jobs created from startups = 26
- Existing businesses that hired these participants = 17
- Additional educational attainments Certificates = 58 + 71 + 55