Entrepreneurship – Startup Your Career

UF is ranked sixth nationally in number of startups launched. If you are entrepreneurial minded, there are tons of ways to explore entrepreneurship and network with existing startups, right at your fingertips.

The Career Connections Center meets you where you are during your career journey. We are here to help you gain a position with a Fortune 500 company, join a cutting edge tech startup team, or get connected with Gainesville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to help you create your own venture.

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What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur is defined as one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. Very simply, an entrepreneur is someone who sees an opportunity to fill a need and takes the initiative to fill it. The term “entrepreneur” is sometimes associated with the tech industry. However, entrepreneurs start organizations across industries, including fashion, financial services, education, and non-profit.

So what are a few traits that entrepreneurs typically possess? This can vary, but many demonstrate the following skills:

  • Accepting of risk
  • Not afraid of change or challenging the status quo
  • Resourceful
  • Leadership/managerial
  • Problem solvers
  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Persistent
  • Desire to learn new skills

Does this sound like you? If the answer is yes, let’s get started.

Do I Have What It Takes to be an Entrepreneur?

UF students have combined their passions with an interest in business to create startups across industries. There is an ecosystem of support in the campus and the local community to help you transform your idea into a commercial venture.

The best way to determine if entrepreneurship is the right career path for you is to explore it. Consider participating in:

Getting Started: Resources for Student Entrepreneurs  

So you’ve decided you are ready to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. There are a variety of campus resources to support you in the process.

UF Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI)

CEI was created to teach, coach, and inspire students across all majors to be entrepreneurial in their lives. CEI provides students the tools and experiences necessary to creatively pursue new opportunities and innovations in the start-up, social, and corporate venture arenas. Tools and experiences include:

  • Gator Hatchery
  • Speakers
  • Business plan and pitch competitions
  • Mentorship
  • Experiential learning programs
  • Academic programs or course electives

Infinity Hall

The Entrepreneurial Living Learning Community offers student innovators access to the tools and resources for their own entrepreneurial journey. This interdisciplinary living learning center connects academic coursework, internship experiences, professional and peer mentorship, and experiential learning to create a dynamic academic and business incubation environment. Resources are available to residents and non-residents and include:

Innovation Academy

The Innovation Academy (IA) is a living learning community that pulls students from more than 30 majors into a spring-summer cohort filled with energy, collisions that become ideas, and one common minor: Innovation. IA allows students to attend classes during the spring and summer semesters, and in turn pursue other experiences, such as study abroad programs and internship opportunities, in the fall semester.

Engineering Innovation Institute

The Institute provides opportunities for innovation education to all engineering undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty through seminar series, workshops, courses in innovation and entrepreneurship, an entrepreneur-in-residence program, and a faculty program aimed at engaging industry leaders.

The Innovators Series at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

The Innovators Series will bring six leaders in the information industries to the University of Florida over the next two years whose inventive outlooks have propelled them to the leading edge of data, mobile and community engagement. These speakers will focus on media innovation and new ways of communicating.

Did you know the Gainesville region boasts the most business incubators per capita than anywhere else in the United States, two of which are part of UF?

UF Innovate | The Hub

UF Innovate | The Hub, named the World’s Best Mixed-Use Entrepreneurial Center in 2019, offers space, resources, and a network of support for technology and other startups.

UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech

UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, named the Global Incubator of the Year in both 2013 and 2017 by the International Business Innovation Association, offers space and support for early stage biotech companies. It is located in Alachua and features quality labs, animal facilities, greenhouses, and more than $1.5 million of shared scientific equipment.

The network of entrepreneurial support extends beyond the UF campus. There are a variety of community resources at your fingertips to lend support, resources, professional development, and networking opportunities.

Santa Fe Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED)

Santa Fe College is also an engine for entrepreneurship.  Located in the Santa Fe College Blount Center in downtown Gainesville, Florida, the CIED Entrepreneur Incubator serves early-stage startups across a broad spectrum of sectors, from traditional service-oriented businesses like catering and furniture moving, to training, education and exam preparation businesses, as well as more technology focused businesses like web, app and game development.

Santa Fe Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Incubator (GTEC)

Serving startups in technology and light manufacturing, as well as providing outreach and education to entrepreneurs in East Gainesville, the GTEC incubator program is managed by Santa Fe College.

Starter Space

Artists and entrepreneurs. Members are provided a co-working space, access to mentors, education, and workshops.

Gainesville Dev Academy

Interested in training on web development? Gainesville Dev Academy offers 8-week or 12-week intensive courses on web development and programming. Gainesville Dev Academy is a partnership between the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Santa Fe College, and the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.

Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN)

GAIN is a great way to get connected with a social network for entrepreneurs, scientists, students and innovators. With a reduced-rate student membership, you can attend speaker series, networking events, and a variety of other learning opportunities surrounding science, business, and other areas.

Startup Digest

Keep a pulse on the local startup scene by signing up for Startup Digest, a free weekly newsletter, that shares a events and workshops going on in the local startup community.

These are just a few of the community resources to support you in your entrepreneurial journey. For additional resources, visit GainesvilleConnect.com

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