Startup Quest Teaches More Than How to Start a Company
Robert Green was invited to be a mentor for the first class of Startup Quest® participants in Brevard County in 2014 by Lisa Rice and Erica Lemp of CareerSource Brevard (formerly Workforce Brevard).
He was initially impressed by the large number of participants and their desire to learn how to start a business. Over 10 weeks, the 100 participants managed to have a crash course in the major functions required of a business while competing for the mock investor pitch.
His team, Solarflex, learned how to structure a simulated business commercializing existing intellectual property from the University of Florida and took first place in the mock investor pitch. It was one of three exceptional projects that continued with further business planning and organization after the program as “we had some amazing talent led by the charismatic Jeffery Gilchriest.”
Figure 1 including Robin Jones, Rupert Hector, Scott Campbell, Robert Green, Jeffery Gilchrist, and Winsome Sharpe.
The experience taught Robert as much about leadership in entrepreneurial settings while coaching the team through the business planning, research, and organization guided by the Startup Quest® program of study as the team members learned in all the breadth of subjects from legal entities, accounting principles, marketing, market analysis, and corporate finance.
Startup Quest® taught that even in the absence of a job, we can be inspired to create opportunities for ourselves and for our community by commercializing existing technology or even creating something entirely new. We are not limited by the opportunities provided by others, but can generate our own opportunities to serve.
Following Startup Quest® in 2014, Robert finished his MBA from the University of Central Florida and further completed a graduate program in nonprofit management from American Public University. Seeing the opportunity to provide an additional solution in the fight against food insecurity, he created the nonprofit startup “The Mobile Grocer” (www.themobilegrocer.org), modeled after Amherst Wilder Foundation’s Twin Cities Mobile Grocer, to bring fresh foods and the dignity of choice and purchasing opportunities to communities that suffer from food insecurity and/or inaccessibility.
Social entrepreneurship is about creating opportunities to impact the community, just as Startup Quest® suggested that we can create our own opportunities for success. We can apply the same principles towards social issues. The same skills are required to run startups of all types, including the leadership skills required to mentor a group of talented individuals towards any successful endeavor.
About the author:
Robert Green is a Florida native and longtime resident of Palm Bay with his wife and children. He pursues passions for engineering and social entrepreneurship while working for General Electric and founding a nonprofit, The Mobile Grocer, which fights food insecurity by providing fresh, stable food items to at-need communities. Learn more about The Mobile Grocer mission at www.themobilegrocer.org.
You can contact Robert by phone at 321.252.9283 or via email at [email protected]