PINELLAS COUNTY (Dec. 11, 2013) – With the final StartUp QuestTM session just hours away, teams are finalizing their business plans and making sure they’re ready for today’s Pitch Day competition. This is what the program has been leading up to. The program’s 13 teams will compete against one another for first, second, and third place, which will be decided upon by a panel of simulated investors comprised of community leaders and entrepreneurs.
This program has prepared participants not only for the Pitch Day competition but for the entrepreneurial world and future career prospects.
“The StartUp Quest program has given participants entrepreneurial skills that will empower them to take ownership of their role in future careers,” said Susie Steiner, StartUp QuestTM mentor and Founder of Valet Boss and Fido’s Laundry. “Participating in the ten-week program gave them a hands-on approach to what it takes to make a business successful, from corporate structures to building a solid revenue model, I am certain these are topics they will consider in their future employment positions thus making them better employees.
These degree-holding un- or underemployed Pinellas County professionals have spent every Wednesday for the past nine weeks at the Feather Sound Golf Club learning what goes into starting a business. Led by a mentor and working in teams of professionals with varied backgrounds in marketing, IT, business, and more, each person has something to contribute.
“One of the things that drew me to StartUp Quest was the nature of the participants. Quite often I find entrepreneurial programs to consist of mostly young, inexperienced participants dreaming of becoming the founder of the next Facebook,” said Alfred Goldberg, StartUp QuestTM mentor and President of North American Operations, Absolute Mobile Solutions, LLC. “Working with experienced professionals, often with advanced degrees, was a rewarding experience.”
Jody Haneke, StartUp QuestTM mentor and President of Haneke Design, feels similarly about his own team.
“The quality of ideas and collaboration among the members of our team has been incredible,” said Haneke. “Their diversity of skillsets and expertise has enriched the product development process, and we are moving from concept to testing at a fast pace. Our business plan is coming together equally well. Startup Quest has been much more than an exercise for us. I really believe we’ve created something with tremendous commercial potential.”
Beginning in week two, each of the13 teams began creating a go-to-market plan for a technology that had been developed at a local university, federal laboratory, or NASA. These technologies included a non-invasive glucose monitoring system, an animated software for learning to read, and a new monitoring system that can detect driver fatigue, to name a few.
This is one of the ways the WorkNet Pinellas StartUp QuestTM program differs from other area programs. Participants do not develop these product ideas and concepts, but rather create a working business plan for products that have already been conceptualized.
Today, attendees, participants, mentors, and judges will have the opportunity to see the time and effort each team has put into creating their plan. After all teams have finished presenting, the investor panel will chose a first, second, and third place winning team. All winning team members will be awarded a cash prize and a three-month pass to the Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s Launch Lab where members will have access to an entrepreneurial environment to work out their business and network with other entrepreneurs.
“The difference between our program and other programs in the area is our focus on connecting not only area professionals to the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed in starting their own business, but also connecting our program to local entrepreneur organizations so participants may continue their entrepreneurial endeavors after the program has ended,” said Ed Peachey, President and CEO of WorkNet Pinellas.
Anyone who is interested in attending this no-cost event may do so by registering at the StartUp QuestTM Pitch Day Eventbrite page: https://startupquestpitchday.eventbrite.com. The competition will take place at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa at 105 N. Bayshore Drive, Safety Harbor, FL 34695 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
About WorkNet Pinellas
WorkNet Pinellas is a member of the Employ Florida statewide network of workforce services and resources. To locate WorkNet Pinellas’ One-Stop Centers visit, www.worknetpinellas.org or call (727) 524-4344. WorkNet is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities by calling TTY/TDD 711.