Startup Quest Program Returns to Gainesville

The Startup Quest program began right here in Gainesville, and it’s returning for round two. Startup Quest is an innovative 10-week, hands-on entrepreneurial training program for unemployed and/or underemployed, degree-holding individuals. FloridaWorks is holding an introductory workshop for the program on Aug. 28, from 12:30pm to 4:30pm at the Gainesville Country Club, 7500 SW 35th Way.

In 2011, FloridaWorks developed Startup Quest in partnership with the University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, 14 entrepreneurs and 12 investors. Initially funded through a Workforce Florida, Inc., grant of $175,000, the Startup Quest pilot was successful. 83 participants entered the final round of training, which consisted of 13 teams each led by an entrepreneur mentor. In 2012 the U.S. Department of Labor awarded FloridaWorks a $12 million grant to create a consortium of eight workforce regions to replicate the success throughout Florida.

“Startup Quest is a great example of the innovative and forward-thinking mentality of our community,” said Kim Tesch-Vaught, executive director of FloridaWorks. “The success of the FloridaWorks pilot program in partnership with the University of Florida is allowing us to share it with seven other workforce regions across the state.”

In the experiential, laboratory-training program, participants form teams led by an experienced entrepreneur mentor to develop business plans for simulated companies based on real technologies. Each team is matched with a technology generated by a Florida university, federal lab or NASA. 

Those interested are encouraged to attend the workshop to learn more about Startup Quest, eligibility requirements, and hear past participants’ and mentors’ experiences in the pilot program. Presenters include key organizations involved in building the innovation community, such as FloridaWorks, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing and the UF Innovation Hub.


Individuals can register for the workshop at For more information about Startup Quest and an application link, visit or call 352-244-5109.

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