Startup Quest® teams pitch business plans, Mayor Ed Braddy to announce winners

Startup Quest® teams pitch business plans, compete for awards at May 12 Investor Pitch

Keynote speaker Mayor Ed Braddy to announce winners

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Startup Quest® teams will unveil technologies from NASA, University of Florida and Florida International University as they pitch business plans and compete for awards Tuesday, May 12. CareerSource North Central Florida will host the Investor Pitch and Awards Presentation at the University of Florida Harn Museum of Art, 3259 Hull Rd. from 2 – 7 p.m.

Keynote speaker Mayor Ed Braddy will discuss the role of entrepreneurship in the Gainesville community and announce the winners to kick off the reception beginning at 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees can RSVP at

Startup Quest® is a nationally recognized workforce development model that grows self-employment through entrepreneurship, shifting the mindset from “find a job” to “create my job.” During the 10-session entrepreneurship training program, teams led by entrepreneurs/mentors created simulated companies and developed business plans based on real technologies.

“Entrepreneurship training is becoming a staple in workforce development,” said Thomas McIntosh, CareerSource NCFL board chair and president and owner of Berkshire Hathaway Trend Realty and Trend Management Solutions. “Startup Quest® not only empowers participants to seriously consider self-employment as a viable option; it also gives them the tools to succeed in any position.”

Since its statewide launch in 2012, nearly 1,300 Floridians have graduated from Startup Quest®. 848 trainees have become employed or self-employed, working in a variety of industries, including healthcare, biotechnology, marketing, education and manufacturing.

Startup Quest® began as a pilot program in Gainesville funded by the state workforce board, CareerSource Florida. Its success led to a $12-million U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund grant to expand the program to 17 Florida counties. Although this is the last Gainesville cohort as part of the grant-funded program, Startup Quest® is preparing to launch the program nationwide to expand entrepreneurship and support program sustainability.

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:

  • Eric Buffkin – Co-Founder, President & COO, eTect, Inc.; Founder and CEO, Pelagic Group, LLC
  • Glenn Ladwig – Partner & Patent Attorney, Saliwanchik, Lloyd & Eisenschenk; Board of Directors Member, BioFlorida
  • P. Kathleen Lovell – Chairman of Emergent Growth Fund, LLC; Board Member, AerovectRx Corporation
  • Joe Reddy – Entrepreneur in Residence, Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research
  • Randy Scott – Partner, HealthQuest Capital Fund, Sofinnova Ventures
  • Daniel White – Managing Member, The Commerce Law Group, LLC; CEO, Visuum, LLC