UNF center in Downtown Jacksonville helps new entrepreneurs

Victoria Reed

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A Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, located downtown, is providing students with a place to live and an office space as they work to start their new business. 

The entrepreneurship program that ended this week is a learning lab that offers entrepreneurs help in areas like financial statement creation, engineering prototypes, developing software and more. 

Tre Gregory, a recent UNF graduate who served as president of UNF’s student entrepreneur society said this about the Center in a UNF Journal article

“There has been a need for a hub where people could congregate for entrepreneurship. Unless you are on an entrepreneur track in school, most people generally aren’t taught about all the pieces that are necessary to get a project off the ground.” 

Student entrepreneurs can pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts through an application and interview process with the goal of being selected into the program and receiving space and support in the Center. 

Karen Bowling, the Center’s director, says those selected will gain access to mentors, advisors, and workshops. Expert speakers will be brought in to talk to students in the program. Bowling, a UNF alum, says students will also have her there cheering them on. 

“The most important thing is going to be helping to vet and create a business plan for the venture,” said Bowling. 

The Center will also give paid internships to the students at UNF, who will receive real-world experience. 

“They will gain experience thinking strategically, working with entrepreneurs and business leaders to solve problems. It is an ideal opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to the real world,” said Mark Dawkins, dean of the Coggin College of Business. 

The Center is open to the community, so UNF graduates or any aspiring entrepreneur can apply to be part of the program. 

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