Startup Quest® is a 10-session hands-on learning experience for educated professionals who are under-employed or unemployed. The program provides an introduction to forming a startup company and developing a commercialization strategy for innovative technologies. Participants walk away with a greater understanding of entrepreneurship, business startup knowledge and skills that will help them achieve self-employment or employment with a new or existing company.

Who Participates?

Startup Quest® is a community-wide collaboration of participants, mentors, successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, and community decision-makers. The program is renowned for its ability to bridge gaps across different sectors to instill the entrepreneurial drive and spirit into the participants as well as the communities in which the programs take place.


Startup Quest® participants are the lifeblood of the program. Whether someone is looking to start their own business, looking for experience in a new role at a new company, or looking to be the lead innovator in their current company, Startup Quest® has the training curriculum to help community residents as a participant.

Participants are recruited to the program by local leaders or the Community Coordinator. They’re placed onto teams and are guided through the 10-session program under the tutelage of experienced business mentors. They close out the program with well-known business and entrepreneur figures in the community who act as judges for a pitch contest, oftentimes with cash and in-kind prizes provided by sponsors and the community.


Mentors are critical to the success of the Startup Quest® Program. They are successful business people and entrepreneurs, often serial entrepreneurs, motivated to engage in the program. Some are interested in giving back to the community while others are exploring future business opportunities from seeking new hires to scouting future investments or exploring new technologies with a team.


Judges score the final investor pitch contest. Judges are investors, CEOs of successful companies and other experienced individuals in business development. Like mentors, they often participate as a way to give back to the community and seek out new opportunities for leadership, investment, or new hires.

Community Coordinator

The Community Coordinator is typically a well-networked individual with established relationships with community leaders . They are the lead for convening and hosting a Startup Quest® program in partnership with the Startup Quest® team. They work actively with recruiting and engaging mentors and judges, holding collaboration meetings, and developing community relationships. This person is typically a community leader that can organize and lead the community involvement and local collaboration which is at the heart of Startup Quest® and the community’s ecosystem.

Get Started

There are a number of other positions for each Startup Quest® initiative. Explore how to host Startup Quest® in your community.