Startup Quest® Gainesville

Startup Quest logo, arrows

Go from “find my job” to “create my job”

Startup Quest® is back in Gainesville to help you transition from “find my job” to “create my job.”

What is it?

Startup Quest® is a nationally-recognized 10-session weekly entrepreneurship program that pairs participants with seasoned entrepreneur mentors to create a business plan and investor pitch. Eligible participants will engage in a hands-on, team-based laboratory training experience. They will form teams led by an experienced mentor to develop business plans for simulated companies based on real technologies generated by a Florida university, federal laboratories, or NASA.

Eligible participants* will be selected to engage in this unique training program where they will:

  • Gain valuable entrepreneurial skills
  • Learn how to write a business plan
  • Collaborate in a team environment
  • Meet, network and learn from experienced entrepreneurs
  • Compete in an investor contest with awards

When is it?

Startup Quest® is a 10-session, once weekly training program. This year, Startup Quest® kicks off with an Introductory Workshop on April 5. Participants will begin sessions on April 12 with the final community-wide session to be hosted on June 8.

Key Dates

March 6, 2017: Applications for Startup Quest® open
April 12, 2017: Introductory Workshop (Open to the Community – Reserve Your Seat)
April 19, 2017: Session 1 for Enrolled Startup Quest® Participants Begins
June 8, 2017: Session 10 – Community Pitch Content & Celebration

Class Sessions & Locations

Session 0: Introdutory Workshop – The Introductory Workshop is open to the public and will be hosted at the Wyndham Garden (formerly Paramount Plaza) at 2900 SW 13th Street
Session 1-9: Training Sessions – Participants accepted into Startup Quest® will meet at the CareerSource NCFL Gainesville career center at 10 NW Sixth Street.
Session 10: Pitch Competition – Open to the public. Location to be announced.

4/12/17 – Session 0: Introductory Workshop
Learn about Startup Quest and it’s goals, technologies, and eligibility requirements.

4/19/17 – Session 1: Technology Matching and Mentor Introduction
A four-hour event where you get to know your Mentors, fellow participants and the technology you’ll be using.

4/26/17 – Session 2: Understanding the value proposition of an idea
Become versed in discovering the market value and potential applications of your assigned technology.

5/3/17 – Session 3: Market analysis and strategy
Understand the applications of your technology; where it fits in the competitive landscape, its benefits, barriers to entry, and it’s potential customers.

5/10/17 – Session 4: Commercialization strategies and Intellectual Property
Learn the processes required for successful commercialization; steps for product development & testing, regulatory requirements, milestones, and timelines.

5/17/17 – Session 5: Financial requirements for bringing a product to market
Develop a 3-5 year financial projection based on written assumptions about development costs, product pricing, market acceptance and profitability expectations.

5/24/17 – Session 6: Company pitch examples
Take a detailed look at the structure & organization of an Investor Presentation

5/31/17 – Session 7: Corporate structures and forming the management team
Learn about different corporate cultures and adopt what’s most appropriate for your technology.

6/7/17 – Session 8: Sources of funding
Explore the various funding opportunities available for startups wanting to commercialize a technology.

6/14/17 – Session 9: Business Plan Submission and Work Session
Meet on-site with your mentors to finalize the business plans and practice for the Investor Presentations.<

6/21/17 – Session 10: The Investor Pitch Contest
Present your chosen technology and business plan to a panel of judges representing investors, successful entrepreneurs and other experts in the gala finale of the Startup Quest program.

How do I participate?

To participate in the 2017 Gainesville Startup Quest®, you’ll need to complete three steps:

  1. Confirm you are eligible
  2. RSVP for the Introductory Workshop
  3. Secure financial assistance through STEM Ready (details below)

Am I eligible?

Startup Quest® exposes educated professionals the processes required to form a startup company and develop a commercialization strategy for innovative technologies. Applicants should have:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher or
  • Associate degree with relevant real-world business or entrepreneurship experience
  • Those seeking financial assistance should be long-term unemployed or underemployed (27 weeks or more)

How do I apply? Does it cost anything?

Startup Quest® is provided at no cost to eligible participants courtesy of scholarships through STEM Ready.

Each Startup Quest® cohort starts with an Introductory Workshop. This workshop is open to the public and anyone interested in the program. At this workshop, you will:

  • Review eligibility criteria
  • Hear from past participants
  • Learn more about the curriculum and training schedule.

Next Introductory Workshop:

April 12, 2017 (Open to the Public)
Wyndham Garden Gainesville
2900 SW 13th Street

Current STEM Ready Participants

If you’re currently a CareerSource NCFL customer or a STEM Ready participant, contact your staffing specialist today to see if you’re eligible for a scholarship for Startup Quest® through STEM Ready. If you are currently in a STEM Ready internship, participating in Startup Quest® typically does not affect your eligibility to receive scholarship support for training.

Once you are deemed eligible, your staffing specialist will walk you through the application process.

Not sure who your staffing specialist is? Email Valerise Dukes Valerise Dukes, CareerSource NCFL Program Manager, today.

New to CareerSource North Central Florida?

If you have never worked with CareerSource NCFL, but believe you are eligible for Startup Quest® and a scholarship through STEM Ready, join us for a CareerSource NCFL Training Services Information Session. CareerSource NCFL team members will walk you through our training programs and guide you through the application process for STEM Ready and Startup Quest®.

Training Services Information Sessions are held every Tuesday beginning at 10:30am at both the Gainesville and Starke career centers.

Not sure who your staffing specialist is? Email Valerise Dukes Valerise Dukes, CareerSource NCFL Program Manager, today.

You can also get a headstart on your STEM Ready application prior to meeting with a staffing specialist.

Not eligible for scholarship support? You can still participate. Visit for more details on how.