It’s All About Collaboration

All around the world, communities are coming to realize collaboration is key to economic sustainability and growth. Chamber of commerce boards and executives, university officials, workforce board leadership, and economic development agencies are all transitioning to a common vision for their communities. At the center of many of those visions is entrepreneurship. Why work together? Because silos don’t work in the gig economy.

Startup Quest® empowers communities to thrive and grow in the entrepreneurial economy.

Startup Quest® has pioneered community collaboration to host nearly 30 programs in 9 cities since 2011, with new programs coming in 2016 in Texas and California.

By integrating Startup Quest®, communities can:

Diversify their workforce

The gig economy is coming, and residents need to be prepared. Startup Quest® empowers residents with real-world training to thrive in the entrepreneur economy,

Instill the “entrepreneur” mindset

Meanwhile, companies are increasingly looking for the next wave of talent with that “entrepreneurial spirit.” Startup Quest® helps small and large businesses alike with cultivating that mindset. Companies with an entrepreneurial culture see more accountability, productivity, and innovation across employees and teams. Startup Quest® helps uncover new “intrapreneurs.”

Bridge Community Institutions

Chambers, higher education, community, and policy leaders across the nation are looking for the same thing: more jobs and greater economic prosperity. But they know they can’t do it alone. They know they need to work together, utilizing the strength of each. Collaboration is woven into the Startup Quest® culture. By partnering with top leaders across the spectrum of the community, Startup Quest® is designed to help establish economic alignment, solidify a common vision, and bridges trust and relationships between common silos in the community.

How to Get Started

After almost 30 programs in nine Florida communities, the Startup Quest® team has refined and solidified a process to quickly and easily roll out Startup Quest® in any community in the U.S. and Canada.

Startup Quest® depends on leadership at the community level.

We’re here to partner with and empower those leaders. Here’s how we do it:

Assess (4 weeks)

Every Startup Quest® opportunity starts with an assessment phase. During this phase, we will:

  • Identify key community stakeholders that need to be involved
  • Assist with recommending and securing a local Community Coordinator
  • Establish a timeline, budget, and project management team to implement and execute the program
  • Collaborate (6 weeks)

    Once we have the right plan in place, we’ll work together to begin preparing the community to host Startup Quest®. During this phase we’ll:

  • Confirm the program date, location, and time
  • Begin recruiting sponsors, secure venues, and train mentors, judges, and volunteers
  • Promote the program to prospective participants through community partners or direct marketing

Execute (10 weeks)

By now, we have a roster of students, mentors, and judges. At this point, we’re ready to run the program. During this phase, we’ll:

  • Run the curriculum and provide support to participants, volunteers, and the community manager.
  • Secure data and feedback from participants, partners, and volunteers
    Work with area media and partners to host a pitch contest open to the public.
  • Identify success stories and testimonial for use in follow-up media and advertising
  • Using feedback and data collected, establish a plan for the next Startup Quest®

Ready to get started?


“Startup Quest® helped changed the identity of our community. We’ve learned we are full of entrepreneurs ready to help grow businesses, grow jobs, and grow our region’s economic prosperity. It’s become a critical part of our identity and has helped us grow our collaborations with the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, NASA, and our area chamber of commerce.”

-Kim Tesch-Vaught, 2011-2015 Executive Director, CareerSource North Central Florida – The Alachua/Bradford, Florida Regional Workforce Board