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State and Local Workforce Activities

(September 4, 2013)
Workforce Innovation Fund: Florida Entrepreneurial Creativity Unleashed

The Jacksonville Business Advantage Magazine has recently given marquee coverage to an Employment and Training Administration-funded Workforce Innovation Fund grant activity in Florida.  Excerpts:

After 10 weeks of preparing and training, ten teams comprised of under- and unemployed degree-holding professionals pitched their business ideas for new startup companies to a panel of nine judges as part of Startup Quest, a program that is one of the first of its kind in the U.S. Startup Quest is a partnership between Florida Works, the University of Florida, the JAX Chamber and WorkSource and is among the accomplishments achieved during the first year of the Innovate Northeast Florida strategy. Innovate Northeast Florida is designed to spur growth in the region. The Startup Quest program increases the availability of highly technical assistance.

Startup Quest drives economic transformation by providing opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators and the investment community to assess and develop the commercial potential of new ideas” said Bruce Ferguson, CEO at WorkSource (First Coast Workforce Development, Inc.). “The Startup Quest program provides vital support and innovative training to the professional workforce while supporting the local economy with business growth and job creation.”

With ideas ranging from augmented reality eyeglasses to seal testing, the teams were judged on their business plans and their pitch presentations. Three teams won and were awarded cash prizes.

Airvolution, the world’s first real-time, handheld, airborne pathogen identification device won first place. Second place went to Unforgettable for its diagnostic tool that is a noninvasive, easy to administer, and inexpensive way to detect Alzheimer’s disease in less than 10 minutes. Hydro-Gen was the third place winner. It uses hydrogen generation and fuel cell technology to generate on-demand electricity to power or recharge small electronics when grid power is not available …

Click here for the complete article.