Gainesville-based entrepreneurial program to launch in Fort Lauderdale

Startup Quest, a free training program for aspiring entrepreneurs, will begin in Fort Lauderdale in September.

Participants gather for a workshop at Brevard County’s Startup Quest program.

With Florida in support of the innovation economy, the University of Florida has been working to strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial industry. This fall, it’s taking its efforts to Broward County.

Startup Quest, a 10-week program focused on training budding entrepreneurs and connecting them to professionals, is launching in Fort Lauderdale Sept. 12.

Any unemployed or underemployed degree-holders are eligible to apply for the free program. Applications are available at http://startupquest.org or during the introductory workshop Aug. 22 from 1-5 p.m. All applicants must submit completed applications by this day.

By participating in a series of courses and workshops, participants increase their confidence and knowledge of emerging industries, market analysis, management and the technology development process.

The program is based on an initial effort by UF’s Office of Technology Licensing, Florida Works and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. The pilot class of 95 students ended with 68 finding jobs and 19 becoming self employed.
Startup Quest previously launched programs in Jacksonville, Daytona, Brevard, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee. The Broward program, the first of its kind in South Florida, will be led by Michael O’Donnell (BSBA ‘80), an entrepreneur with 25 years of experience starting and building tech companies.

He says compared to other major urban areas, South Florida isn’t as strong of a technology hub, relying more on real estate, construction, tourism and retail services to drive the area’s economy. The goal of the program is to change that.
– Stefanie Cainto (BSJ ’13)