Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center Articles: page 1

UF MBA alumnus has the ‘Midas touch’ when it comes to helping build successful companies

When Jeff Gold (MBA ’78) started his life after graduating from Northeastern University with his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, there were two factors he knew would influence his next steps. One, even after all his schooling, he wasn’t sure he would be a great engineer, and two, he was determined to live somewhere warmer than Boston.  Luckily for the Brooklyn, New York-native, Gold was able to expand his engineering background into something more suitable for his skills and interests

Cocovana wins $25,000 in 2020 Big Idea Competition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Cocovana won first place at the 2020 Big Idea Gator Business Plan Competition. Founded and led by Sheldon Barrett, Cocovana is a tropical lifestyle company currently focused on creating innovative tools for opening coconuts and other fruits, which promotes a healthier lifestyle and sustainability. Its first product, the Coconut Twist, allows anyone to safely open coconuts in seconds without creating a mess, much like a can opener, but for coconuts. “Winning the Big Idea Competition makes me

Weathering the COVID-19 storm: Tips for small business owners

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues across the globe, small businesses are struggling with its impact. According to a survey by Goldman Sachs, 75% of small business owners said their business has already been impacted by fewer sales, with 51% indicating they will only be able to continue to operate for 0-3 months. “COVID-19 and the variable of the unknown ending has created much upheaval,” said Seyi Falade, Vice President of Gainesville-based Cornerstone Barricades. “Confirmed contracts have been postponed. Current projects

Warrington entrepreneurs showcased at Gator100 event

The University of Florida recognized the 2020 Gator100 honorees on Friday, February 28 at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Presented by the UF Alumni Association and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center at the Warrington College of Business, the Gator100 honors the 100 fastest-growing Gator-owned or Gator-led businesses in the world. The event serves not only as a setting where UF’s elite entrepreneurs can gather and share their talents and wisdom, but as an inspiration to fellow Gators to

Entrepreneurship students consult with local business owner to revamp marketing efforts and prepare for Guinness World Record attempt

Jill Davis (BSA ’09) has long been passionate about animals. You can see it across her business, non-profit organization and ideas for products that benefit our furry companions. But in the time since the University of Florida alumna and Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program participant first started her pet daycare Dogs Rule and her non-profit Animals Helping Humans and Humans Helping Animals (AHHHHA), a lot has changed. Shifting technology has outdated her website and social media platforms have altered the

Two Warrington staff honored with Superior Accomplishment Award

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Warrington College of Business is proud to announce Michelle Helmer and John Laibson as winners of University of Florida Superior Accomplishment Awards in Division 3. The Superior Accomplishment Awards recognize UF staff members who contribute outstanding and meritorious service, efficiency and/or economy, or to the quality of life provided to students and employees. Staff are nominated by their peers. Michelle Helmer is Director of Outreach Programs in Warrington’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center. She has worked at

Driven by passion: How a UF Warrington alumnus conquered his shyness and built a million-dollar business

When Erick Rodriguez (BSBA ’16) first started at the University of Florida, he was a shy kid – in spite of having already sold hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist (including a car). The budding entrepreneur looked down at the ensuing four years and knew that he’d be guided by two crucial values: first, to follow his passion for entrepreneurship, and second, the drive to better himself. These two values, coupled with a

WHOA GNV Podcast | A degree in entrepreneurship & innovation

Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center Director Jamie Kraft spoke with UF alumni Collin Austin and Michael Dees on the WHOA GNV Podcast about what it means to get a degree in entrepreneurship. Hear what Jamie had to say about the opportunities that UF offers in an entrepreneurial education on the podcast.  

Gator Hatchery graduates named to Forbes 2020 Class of 30 Under 30

Samyr Qureshi (BA ’14) and Dennis Hansen (BS ’16), leaders of Knack, which got its start in the Gator Hatchery and was the winner of the 2016 Big Idea Competition, were recently named to Forbes’ 2020 Class of 30 Under 30. The Knack founders, whose website connects college students with others on campus for tutoring and mentoring at a 20% cut, were named to the Education Forbes 30 Under 30 list. See Qureshi and Hansen on the Forbes list and read

Leveraging resources: campus and community

By Jamie Kraft, Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center We have all heard this one before from entrepreneurs: I plan to come up with a cool idea, attract a bunch of money and make a bunch of money! The reality is that this is faulty logic. It is hard enough to come up with product-market fit and even harder to find capital. There is always mom, dad, and Pappy Jasper, but the reality is that it is a long, hard slog…one