judges ask

After three years, the CareerSource Brevard program is proving its success.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA- CareerSource Brevard, the area authority on workforce development, hosted their third and final Startup Quest® Business Plan and Investor Pitch Competition at the Eastern Florida State College’s Simpkins Fine Arts Center in Cocoa on June 30, 2015. The event included six teams of aspiring entrepreneurs presenting commercialization plans to guests, peers and a panel of judges. All walked away with the knowledge to launch a business of their own and three teams walked away with awards and cash prizes.

Startup Quest® is a program made possible through an evaluative grant through the Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund. Together eight regions in the state of Florida, otherwise known as the Business Advocacy and Self Employment Consortium (BASEC) are producing the Startup Quest® program lead by the grant program’s lead entity in Gainesville.

Over a period of ten weeks, teams worked with experienced entrepreneur mentors to create commercialization plans around existing intellectual property from University of Florida, Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, and the Department of Energy.

CareerSource Brevard’s Community Resources Coordinator and Regional Project Manager for Startup Quest®, Erica Lemp said, “A program like this, which offers innovative entrepreneurial training, has many moving parts that are vital to ensure success. Our mentors are the linchpin for the program’s success. Watching these mentors work has given participants an incredible education into what it truly takes to be an entrepreneur, what makes them tick and what the “secret sauce” is to business success.”


CSB’s Startup Quest® Floating mentor and Managing Partner for Innovative Space Technologies, LLC, Michael Judith commented, “Community development of entrepreneurial eco systems is a passion of mine and I loved the opportunity to work with the other Startup Quest® mentors and NASA, the Universities and their talented people.”


This was the third and final round of the Startup Quest® program in Brevard County. In the last three years, more than 175 individuals received training, 100+ have gone back to work, and 36 have started their own companies. Additionally, two technologies have been licensed, and more than $20K in funding has been awarded.

Lisa Rice, CareerSource Brevard president added, “I have always been a proponent of entrepreneurship and this program does not disappoint. Taking people who have the desire to learn and teaming them with experienced, successful mentors and an education similar to a mini MBA results in great things– not only for the participants, but for our community.”

The Startup Quest® program will be expanding into Orlando beginning on July 30th, 2015. To learn more, contact:


2015 Winning Teams:

SUQ15 1st

The first place team, winning $750 each, TeamSpectrum Innovations – was based on Rapid Drug Identification Kit: Smartphone Spectrometer technology out of UCF. The team created simulated company Spectrum Innovations with their product the SI-100 Field Drug ID system, which is a simple, affordable, easy-to-use, accurate, rapid, and safe drug identification system utilizing a smart phone app. The team was mentored by Terry Pierce, Pierce Consulting

Team: Peggy Pigg, Theresa Stewart, Elizabeth Docherty, William Maguire, Gary Haas, and Peter Meyers.

SUQ15 2nd

The second place team, winning $500 each Team Guardian Scentsor Technologies – was based on ChIMES: A New Broadly Applicable Chemical Sensor technology out of the Department of Energy. Guardian Scentsor Technologies pitched their product the SNIFF Scentsor – a molecular sensor with an application designed to radically reduce fire and smoke alarm trigger times and ultimately minimize loss of life and property. The team was mentored by Dr. Greg Howes, Treaty Consulting

Team: Dewight Anderson, Tina Berger, Stephanie Douglas and John Erdogan

SUQ15 3rd

The third place team, winning $250 each: Team Swarm-X – was based on An Improved Formula to Isolate Bacteria technology out of the University of Central Florida. SwarmX pitched a low-cost culturing medium that offers increased accuracy to quickly isolate pathogenic bacteria and save lives. The team was mentored by Kenneth DeVeau, Finnett USA.

Team: Hella Aird, David Floyd, Deborah Jeffries, Sherron Lakeman, Myrna Lewis and Bernie Steer.




About Start-Up Quest

Startup Quest® is a program made possible by a grant from the US Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund.  The grant’s purpose is to provide innovative entrepreneurial training to unemployed and underemployed degreed individuals in eight workforce regions around the state.  The program provides eight weeks of curriculum in addition to participation in a simulated technology startup exercise.  Participants are teamed together with an experienced entrepreneur mentor to form simulated startup companies and create commercialization plans for existing technology Intellectual Property (IP) from universities and NASA labs.

Startup Quest® is part of an evaluation study funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration Workforce Innovation Fund.  Participants will be selected from among eligible applicants.  Data collected will remain confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only.  Startup Quest® is an equal opportunity program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.