The mentors are the heart of any successful Startup Quest® training program. These successful and experienced entrepreneurs volunteer their time, expertise and guidance for Startup Quest® participants. They serve as CEO of a simulated technology startup that develops a business plan/commercialization strategy for a real patented innovation or invention from one of Florida’s public universities or NASA. As part of the 10-session entrepreneurial training program, mentors’ teams deliver investor presentations in a lively and fun competition with judges, who are experienced investors and entrepreneurs. More importantly, Startup Quest® mentors are key in helping their team participants to learn and apply the concepts of business development and entrepreneurship that will lead to greater employability or self-employment.
“As an experienced entrepreneur, one of the most powerful and rewarding experiences is seeing highly-capable, skilled people – who prior to Startup Quest® were unemployed or underemployed – start their own venture and become job creators,” said mentor Rick Staab, president and CEO of Intermed Nuclear Medicine and Tyler’s Hope.
Mentors are successful business people and entrepreneurs — often serial entrepreneurs. Mentors typically come from technology-based industries such as software engineering, aerospace, robotics, bioscience and other technology sectors. CEOs, entrepreneurs and business people with backgrounds in advanced materials and coatings, intellectual property law, life sciences, marketing and academia also make up this elite group of more than 175 Startup Quest® mentors throughout Florida. Mentors should have experience in bringing a new technology to market.
COHORT #2 Mentors
Dwight Hulse, MBA, MPA, CPA.CITP, CGMA
Founder & Principal Business Advisor, D.L. Hulse Consulting, LLC
Managing Member, The Commerce Law Group; Co-Managing Director, The Visuum Companies; Chairman, Nuovo Biologics, LLC
Sean McCoy, Ph.D.
Vice President, uBrand Partners; Vice President of Business Development, Real McCoy Technology Solutions
COHORT #1 Mentors
Gerard H. Bencen
Corporate IP Counsel for Xhale, Inc. and Founder & Principal of Law Office of Gerard H. Bencen
David L. Bryant
VP, Strategy/Commercial Initiatives, M&A, New Ventures – Acosta Sales & Marketing; and CEO Council – the Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research
Dr. Joseph D. Reddy
Entrepreneur in Residence – The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research
Entrepreneur in Residence – Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research and Managing Partner – Scriptshot, LLC.
Sean McCoy, Ph.D. Mentor-At-Large
Vice President – uBrands Partners; Courtesy Assistant Professor – UF; VP of Business Development – Real McCoy Technology Solutions
Contact Makaya McKnight to learn more about becoming a Startup Quest® mentor and joining a group of more than 185 elite businesspersons, CEOs and successful entrepreneurs in Florida who are paying it forward!
Requirements for participating as a mentor are as follows:
- Experienced entrepreneur or accomplished upper level manager in a technology-based business;
- Successful at commercializing a technology;
- Knowledgeable about the industry applications of a selected technology;
- Willing to commit time and energy to the team and the entire program;
- Wants to give back to the community;
- Works well with people of diverse backgrounds and skill sets; and
- Willing to coach the team in developing the business