Local Entrepreneurs to Share Success Stories at Local High School

28, October 2013

A panel discussion taking place at Bucholz High School next Wednsday, November 6, will include local entrepreneurs that will share advice and stories with high school students. The event, a partner ship between Buchholz and UF's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will start at 7 p.m. and aims to educate students and business professionals about the tools and skills necessary to establish and sustain a successful business.

The local startup scene has been exploding in recent years and, highlighted by the recent Startup Weekend Gainesville event, is getting national attention. Office space in Gainesville, especially the Innovation Square community, has been seeing renovations to house these young, high-tech companies that want their office space to reflect their needs. These yound entrepreneurs are now taking their influence out of Innovation Square and into the surrounding local community.

According to Inside UF, scheduled panelists include:

Aidan Augustin:
CEO and co-founder of Feathr, a Gainesville-based mobile software startup. Feathr harnesses big data to help form the right connections at a conference and provides an intuitive, actionable interface to streamline post-event follow up. Feathr developed the app for UF Tech Showcase and the TEDxUF event.

Byron Young:
Owner and founder of CordaRoys. He quit the UF building construction program in 1998 to pursue what makes him happiest- CREATE. After a couple of semi-successful ventures, CordaRoys has now grown and has even been featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” this year and struck a deal with one of the “Shark Tank” investors.

Rich Blaser:
A graduate of Buchholz, he is CEO and co-founder of Infinite Energy in 1994. Infinite Energy sells natural gas and electricity in five states and has more than 375 employees. The company has been recognized by the Florida Trend Magazine four of the last five years as one of the best large companies to work for in Florida.

Trevor Abbott:
Founder and chairman of Gator Innovators, co-founder and CEO of Spin Chill, co-founder of StartWhys Co-work, and mentor for HackerHouse. Trevor is a UF student pursuing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering wile bringing together students and startups to better connect the community and provide resources for hopeful entrepreneurs.

Valerie Sheehan:
President and CEO of ToneRite, world’s most advanced and premier play-in device. ToneRite significantly accelerates the play-in process and provides increased tone, playability, and balance, for musical instruments. She is highly involved with the Gainesville Community including the UF Entrepreneurship Club, Gainesville Area Network, Innovation Hub and more.

Last year, proceeds of $500 from the first annual panel discussion were presented as a donation to the UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability.

“It’s exciting to see how a few bright, motivated young leaders can create such an engaging and impactful event,” said Kristin Joos, director of the Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program for High School Students. According to Joos, the event had a full house last year and people are only becoming more excited as the energy and enthusiasm around entrepreneurship continue to grow in our community.