Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (far left) with Reuben Pressman

Entrepreneurship Program co-founder, graduate honored

Daniel James Scott, associate director of the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Program, has been named Technology Leader of the Year by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, and Reuben Pressman, the program’s first graduate, has been named Rising Star.

The honors were announced Friday night during the Forum’s 10th Annual Industry Achievement Awards Gala at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

In addition, Sam Esfahani, a member of the College of Business Advisory Board and chief information officer of the financial services firm PSCU, was a finalist for CIO of the Year.

Tim Curran, an adjunct faculty member in the USFSP College of Business and CEO of the Global Technology Distribution Council, was a finalist for the Technology Leader of the Year award won by Scott.

Tim Curran teaches evening business class.

Tim Curran teaches evening business class.

“It was a great night for everyone at the College of Business,” said College of Business Dean Maling Ebrahimpour, Ph.D. “Quality is a hallmark of the college,and particularly among our faculty, students and community partners.”

Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the awards highlight the growing strength of the three-year-old Entrepreneurship Program. “Recognition from the community is the best praise possible,” she said.

Tampa Bay Technology Forum CEO Heather Kenyon said, “I was thrilled to see that the Entrepreneurship Program at USFSP had such a strong showing at the Tampa Bay Technology Forum Industry Achievement Awards. Both Daniel and Reuben are incredible advocates for the entrepreneurial community. The passion and dedication to assist others and to grow technology companies locally has benefited numerous early stage companies and the awards they received are well deserved.”

Daniel James Scott (far right) with Tampa Bay Technology Forum Board member Joel Playford

Daniel James Scott (far right) with Tampa Bay Technology Forum Board member Joel Playford

Scott founded the technology company Alorum and co-founded the seed-stage investment fund Gazelle Lab. Earlier this year he was named the Small Business Administration Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year and recently was named the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Reuben Pressman is the CEO and Founder of Check I’m Here, a startup company that helps universities measure and increase campus engagement and allocate funds more efficiently through the use of student ID cards.

In January the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program was named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. And in April, members of the student Entrepreneurship Club won the prestigious Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Startup Simulation Challenge for the second year in a row.

Learn more about how to support the Entrepreneurship Program.

USFSP and LocalShops1 to present St. Petersburg mayoral forum

USF St. Petersburg will partner with LocalShops1 to present a general election forum for St. Petersburg mayoral candidates focused on economic development and the concerns of small businesses.

The forum, free and open to the public, will be at 6 p.m., Sept. 10 at the USFSP University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S. A public reception preceding the forum begins at 5 p.m. Complimentary parking will be available at the USFSP garage, 250 5th Ave. S. View campus map and get directions.

William Jackson, Ph.D.

William Jackson, Ph.D.

The forum will feature incumbent Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman, the two candidates who emerged from the Aug. 27 city primary. William Jackson, Ph.D., USFSP professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Director of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program, will be among the panelists asking the candidates questions.

The forum will be moderated by USFSP political science professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Ph.D., associate director of the USFSP Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Ph.D.

Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Ph.D.

The forum is presented by LocalShops1 and USF St. Petersburg and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, the USFSP Student Government Association and the USFSP Bishop Center.

“We are pleased to have two of our top academic experts from business and political science participate in this important event,’’ said Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This is another great example of the kind of community partnerships and civic engagement USF St. Petersburg values.”

The panelists will ask questions of the candidates, including those submitted by the audience. The other panelists include Mark Lombardi-Nelson, USFSP Student Government President and member of the USF System Board of Trustees; Linda Hersey, freelance journalist; Jack King, Three Birds Tavern co-owner; and Mo Venouziou, LocalShops1 vice president.

“Small, locally owned businesses are the foundation of our local economy, and we are excited to hear the candidates’ plans to help existing businesses prosper and new ones get off the ground,” said Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1, founded in 2008 to connect shoppers with business owners and to offer advocacy, support and education to locally owned businesses.

Seating is limited, so reserve your seat today.

Startup Weekend Tampa Bay logo

USF St. Petersburg to host 4th Startup Weekend Tampa Bay

Startup Weekend Tampa Bay will connect local entrepreneurs, developers, designers and startup enthusiasts with mentors and resources at USF St. Petersburg June 7-9.

It is the fourth Startup Weekend Tampa Bay event and the first to be held at USF St. Petersburg, hosted by the USFSP Entrepreneurship Club.

Throughout the course of this 54-hour event, attendees will share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

Attendees arrive at the University Student Center Ballroom on Friday, June 7, to kick off the event with idea pitches, voting and team building. Startup veterans and mentors will be on hand throughout the weekend to provide expertise and give talks on their experiences while teams build their business ideas. On Sunday evening the teams pitch their ideas to a panel of judges comprised of some of the Tampa Bay area’s most knowledgeable business leaders.

USF St. Petersburg is an appropriate location for Startup Weekend, said William Jackson, D.B.A., director of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program.

The Entrepreneurship Program was named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States in January by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the world’s largest independent organization dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship.

Members of the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Club, meanwhile, recently won the prestigious Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Startup Simulation Challenge for the second year in a row. The national competition requires a team of students to take a new business and make the right decisions to out-perform teams from across the country.

At the last Startup Weekend in Tampa in November, a team of USFSP students won the People’s Choice Award and third place overall.

“We are pleased that Startup Tampa Bay will be held at USF St. Petersburg, where the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well,” said Jackson “It’s always exciting to feel the energy created when young entrepreneurs get together.”

Reuben Pressman, the first graduate of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program, is one of the organizers of Startup Weekend Tampa Bay.

“As a graduate of program I am super-excited to help bring the next Startup Weekend to the new Student Center at USFSP,” said Pressman, founder and CEO of his own startup,  called Check I’m Here. “The people, knowledge, experience, and opportunities are invaluable – and you get them all in just one weekend.”

Registration is $99, with discounts for students. More information here.

Startup Weekend Tampa Bay is part of the national Startup Weekend organization, which supports the development and expansion of entrepreneurship through events worldwide that educate aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market. It has built a network of more than 55,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and 100 trained facilitators in more than 300 and 100 countries.

Evan Koteles

USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Club students dominate pitch competition

USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Club students dominated a southeastern pitch competition in Tampa last week, with four of the seven finalists and a first and third place showing.

More than 200 entrepreneurship students from throughout the Southeast attended the Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference Student Pitch Competition at the University of Tampa Feb. 1-2. The universities represented included the University of Florida, Mississippi State University, Texas Christian University, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and the University of Tampa.

Senior Entrepreneurship major Evan Koteles won the $2,000 first place prize with the Spunnel, a combination spoon and funnel that put him in third place in last year’s competition.

Nick Price

Nick Price

Nick Price, a senior majoring in Information Systems Management, placed third with his pitch for a mobile, waterless car cleaning business.

“This was the best overall showing of pitching skills by our students I have seen,’’ said William Jackson, Ph.D., director of the Entrepreneurship Program in the USF St. Petersburg College of Business. “I am so proud of each and every student that participated — it was absolutely amazing.”

The students’ success comes less than a month after the Entrepreneurship Program was named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The students were coached by Nathan Schwagler, the Entrepreneurship Club Advisor and creative-in-Residence; Daniel James Scott, Associate Director of the Entrepreneurship Program; John Morrow, Entrepreneur-in-Residence; and Elizabeth Markie, Entrepreneurship Program Pitch Coach. The students who competed are members of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Club, which is sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Koteles said he has spent the last year refining his Spunnel with engineers and developing prototypes. “After pitching a few weeks ago at a practice competition at USFSP, the judges gave it to me straight that I was going to have to show a year’s worth of traction if I was going to pitch the same idea as last year,” he said. “Within 24 hours I was taking it to restaurant servers, managers, owners and executive chefs to get their feedback.” They told him they thought it would be a useful kitchen tool.

A singer-songwriter, Koteles even wrote a short song about the Spunnel that used in his pitch. “I didn’t want to leave anything on the table,” he said. “I seriously fought back tears when I heard my name. I’m more motivated than ever to justify the recognition and see the Spunnel on shelves and in kitchens.”

Next up: to get manufacturing quotes and attend the International Home Show in Chicago.

Price developed his idea for a mobile, eco-friendly waterless car cleaning business as a project in the a venture creation class in Entrepreneurship. He launched the business last month with marketing and web development assistance from two USFSP graduates.

Citysleekers sends workers on bicycles to customers “wherever they are,” Price explained. “Going into the competition, I was so nervous, I was only given four days notice for the qualifying round, and finally pieced together my pitch the day of the event. After I won the qualifying round, I just practiced and practiced until I knew it like the back of my hand. I was shocked when I won third place, all the other pitches were so good!” He is seeking partnerships to expand to other cities.

The Entrepreneurship Program is seeking support for students and faculty to compete in future competitions. If you are interested in learning more about supporting the University please contact Alexis Searfoss, Assistant Director of Development, at 727-873-4519 or

Kevin Harrington

College of Business to host Social Enterprise Summit, featuring Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington

Non-profit groups will be thrown into the “Pitch Tank” with Kevin Harrington Oct. 29 during the two-day Southeastern Summit of the Social Enterprise Alliance, sponsored by the USF St. Petersburg College of Business.

Harrington, chairman and founder of TVGoods Inc. and former panelist on the ABC-TV show Shark Tank, will lead a pitch tank before a live audience for non-profit organizations seeking advice on how to be more entrepreneurial.

Harrington also will be the luncheon speaker during the first day of the two-day summit at the Hilton Bayfront in downtown St. Petersburg, Oct. 29-30. His topic is titled, “Thinking Like An Entrepreneur?”

Non-profit groups interested in participating in the live pitch tank will present their ideas in writing. The top three will pitch before the live audience.  Joining Harrington on the pitch panel will be Kevin Lynch, CEO of the Social Enterprise Alliance, and Rick Sebastian, CEO of Human Technologies Corporation.  All pitch applicants will have the opportunity to present to Harrington, who will provide feedback in individual sessions after the live pitch.

The pitch tank is just one of myriad events during the summit. The dinner speaker Oct. 29 will be Dr. Anousheh Ansari, astronaut and spokesperson for the XPrize Foundation.  The luncheon speaker on Oct. 30 will be Mark Gordon, president of Odyssey Marine Exploration, the world leader and only publicly traded company specializing in treasure recovery and undersea exploration.

The USF St. Petersburg College of Business hosts the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance, which seeks to provide non-profit groups with the tools and resources they need to succeed. The alliance helps non-profits become sustainable through social entrepreneurship.

“We are pleased to sponsor the alliance’s Southeastern Summit,’’ said Alison Watkins, Ph.D., USFSP Associate Dean for Graduate and Certificate Programs. “It fits neatly with our mission of social responsibility and entrepreneurship.”

More information about the summit.