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Monday, May 23, 2022

Innovation Hub hosts entrepreneur bootcamp

<p>Brian Johnson, a "start-up evangelist" from Microsoft Corp., gives a presentation at the Technology Entrepreneur BootCamp.</p>

Brian Johnson, a "start-up evangelist" from Microsoft Corp., gives a presentation at the Technology Entrepreneur BootCamp.

Instead of climbing rock walls or running obstacle courses, participants in the Technology Entrepreneur BootCamp gathered Tuesday evening to hear business tips and learn how to pitch their products to investors.

The event, organized by the Office of Technology Licensing and UF Tech Connect, is the first of its kind at the Innovation Hub.

Technology Entrepreneur BootCamp will continue all day today and Thursday.

About 30 people attended Tuesday's meeting, including a handful of UF undergraduate students.

A majority of the boot camp participants came only with ideas, but a few had start-up companies already up and running.

The program is designed to give entrepreneurs the tools to create and run their own technology start-ups, said Jane Muir, associate director of the Office of Technology Licensing.

BootCamp participants were required to apply and be accepted prior to the event.

Applicants must already be developing a technology product, Muir said.

Participants' entrepreneurial ideas ranged from Internet platforms where students can buy and sell class notes to genetically modified food products and sound-engineering technology.

Brian Johnson, a self-proclaimed "start-up evangelist" from Microsoft Corp., quoted Pablo Picasso and Steve Jobs in his presentation about markets.

He emphasized monetizing entrepreneurs' ideas.

"You need to be able to fund that dream of changing the world with your product," he said.

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In addition to lectures by successful business leaders, the BootCamp throughout the next couple of days will include interactive modules geared toward helping participants develop an "elevator pitch" - a pitch so effective, it could get someone interested in a concept in as little time as an elevator ride.

"As simple as that sounds, it can be very difficult," Muir said.

Brian Johnson, a "start-up evangelist" from Microsoft Corp., gives a presentation at the Technology Entrepreneur BootCamp.

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