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Successful entrepreneurs to share stories at local high school

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Successful entrepreneurs to share stories at local high school

Published: October 28th, 2013


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Florida’sWarrington College of Business Administration is partnering with Buchholz High School to present the second annual panel discussion featuring local successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The free event titled “Mind Your Own Business,” or MYOB, starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Buchholz High School auditorium.

Organized by students in Buchholz’s Academy of Entrepreneurship and DECA, a business-marketing student organization, the panel discussion aims to educate students and business professionals about the tools and skills necessary to establish and sustain a successful business.

Scheduled panelists are:

Aidan Augustin: CEO and co-founder of Feathr, a Gainesville-based mobile software startup. Feathr harnesses big data to help form the right connections at a conference and provides an intuitive, actionable interface to streamline post-event follow up. Feathr developed the app for UF Tech Showcase and the TEDxUF event.

Byron Young: Owner and founder of CordaRoys. He quit the UF building construction program in 1998 to pursue what makes him happiest- CREATE. After a couple of semi-successful ventures, CordaRoys has now grown and has even been featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” this year and struck a deal with one of the “Shark Tank” investors.

Rich Blaser: A graduate of Buchholz, he is CEO and co-founder of Infinite Energy in 1994.  Infinite Energy sells natural gas and electricity in five states and has  more than 375 employees.  The company has been recognized by the Florida Trend Magazine four of the last five years as one of the best large companies to work for in Florida.

Trevor Abbott: Founder and chairman of Gator Innovators, co-founder and CEO of Spin Chill, co-founder of StartWhys Co-work, and mentor for HackerHouse. Trevor is a UF student pursuing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering wile bringing together students and startups to better connect the community and provide resources for hopeful entrepreneurs.

Valerie Sheehan: President and CEO of ToneRite, world’s most advanced and premier play-in device.  ToneRite significantly accelerates the play-in process and provides increased tone, playability, and balance, for musical instruments. She is highly involved with the Gainesville Community including the UF Entrepreneurship Club, Gainesville Area Network, Innovation Hub and more.

The panel discussion will be moderated by David Whitney, entrepreneur in residence at UF’s College of Engineering.

Last year, Maria Vargas & Emma Stetter co-produced the first annual MYOB event. They were awarded first place at the DECA State Competition and third place at the International Competition in California. This year, Maria Vargas, now a senior at Buccholz, is working with Jaydin Leslie, senior and Welsey Lopez, sophomore to produce the second annual MYOB event.

Proceeds of $500 from the first annual MYOB were presented as a donation to the UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability: Gainesville Summer Service Project (http://ufyoungentrepreneurs.org/gssp).

“It’s exciting to see how a few bright, motivated young leaders can create such an engaging and impactful event,” said Kristin Joos, director of the Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program for High School Students.  “Last year they had a full house, and with growing energy and enthusiasm around entrepreneurship in our community, as evidenced by the outstanding panelists, I’m confident MYOB will be another educational and inspirational evening this year.”

For information about the MYOB program, visit http://buchholzdeca.com/myob/ or contact Maria Vargas atmyob@buchholzdeca.com.


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