Gainesville, FL - Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program

Location: Gainesville, FL
Venue: University of Florida

The University of Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) has been developing student and community entrepreneurs for twenty years.  The home of one of the first master’s degrees in entrepreneurship, the program offers over 35 courses in entrepreneurship.  Their experiential learning and community engagement portfolio include the Jeff Gold Experiential Learning Laboratory, the GatorNest student consulting program, the Gator Hatchery student incubator and the IdeaGators Co-working Space, an annual business plan competition, and a women’s entrepreneurship symposium. For five years the CEI has coordinated the Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program, which provided the initial pilot for what has evolved in the UPBI program.

Regional Assets: Gainesville is the largest city and county seat of Alachua County, with a population of 134,661. It serves as the cultural, educational, and commercial center for the north central Florida region. The city is situated about a two-hour drive time between Jacksonville or Orlando, three hours from Tampa, and six hours from Atlanta or Miami. The University of Florida is the major employer in Gainesville; nearly a quarter of the population are employed in education.  Healthcare is the second most popular employer followed by hospitality and retail.  Gainesville hosts the state’s preeminent university, The University of Florida, the nation’s No. 1 community college, Santa Fe, and a K-12 school district ranked among the top 6% of Florida school districts.

Financial and Business Resources: Organizations in the Gainesville area established to provide financing to start-up businesses include: Accion Florida specializes in working with small business owners who cannot borrow from banks.  Community Bank and Trust of Florida’s Rebuilding Economic Vitality (REV) helps new and existing local businesses pursue start-up or expansion activities. Gainesville Area Women’s Network promotes cooperation and support among women and those who support or target women in business, providing a strong network of business contacts. 

Workforce: The workforce of Gainesville is relatively well educated, as 45.1% have at least a bachelor’s degree and 20% have a high school degree. Over the past year, 15,893 jobs were added.

Infrastructure: The area contains access to four major highways: I-75, U.S. 301, S.R. 26, and U.S. 441. CSX Transportation provides daily freight service, while Amtrak offers train-to-bus passenger service, and the Gainesville Regional airport offers service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, and Dallas. The Jacksonville Port Authority is 80 miles away.

Underserved communities: Gainesville has been named one of the best places to live in the US.  However, it also is a city with one of the greatest income disparities.  With a population of 134,661, over one-third of residents are living in poverty.  Of those in poverty, 33.84% are African-American, 39.34% are Hispanic; altogether 73.3% are non-White.  Even among those working full-time, the poverty rate is nearly 5%.

Stakeholders leveraged for UPBI (the Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program) include the City of Gainesville, Alachua County Government, GNV Homegrown Businesses, Career Source North Central Florida, Sante Fe Community College, the Small Business Development Center, the Gainesville Housing Authority, the Florida Community Design Center, Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations at UF, and the Community Arts Coalition.

University of Florida
Bryan Hall 100
PO Box 117150
Gainesville, FL 32611-7150

UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center
Telephone: 352.273.0330