High School Entrepreneurs Offered Opportunity to Secure Seed Capital

High School Entrepreneurs Offered Opportunity to Secure Seed Capital

Seniors at Gainesville area high school academies are encouraged to apply for seed money to help start businesses. A new program, Growing Entrepreneurs, is being launched in a partnership between Santa Fe College’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development and local private equity firm Energent Ventures.

The seed money is intended to energize entrepreneurial activity among Gainesville area students. Students who intend to apply for the program must do so by Sept. 24.

Selected applicants will “pitch” their business ideas in a competition that chooses 10 winners. Students who are picked to receive the seed capital will be trained, supported, and mentored by volunteer local business leaders from November through May 2010.   The young entrepreneurs can work alone or in small teams, with $500 to each for seeding a startup venture. There are no strings attached to the money and students are encouraged to raise additional operating capital from friends, family and others. The Growing Entrepreneurs program does not place a limit on the total amount of capital entrepreneurs may raise.

Growing Entrepreneurs is the brainchild of David Whitney, managing director of Energent Ventures, and Dug Jones, Santa Fe College assistant vice president for economic development. Whitney donated $5,000 to seed the Program and is bullish about supporting Gainesville’s young entrepreneurs. 

“The Program gives tomorrow’s business and community leaders the hands-on experience that can be used to build an exciting and promising future,” said Whitney.

For information about eligibility and to apply call Dug Jones at 352-395-5269 or e-mail More information and an application are also available online at

In the photo are Dug Jones of SFC and David Whitney of Energent Ventures.


  • Dug Jones, for more information regarding Growing Entrepreneurs, 352-395-5269 (office) or 352-359-6287 (cell) or
  • Julie Garrett, for help facilitating your story, 352-395-5430 (office) or 352-870-2924 (cell) or