Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey Here

The Gator Pit is a free program open to all youth ages 14-18 in the state of Florida. Students will be taught how to transform an idea into a viable business through virtual teaching sessions, mentorship, participation in a pitch competition, and ongoing connection to the business community and their peers.

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Is The Gator Pit right for you?

Are you ready to learn how to launch and pitch a product or service? Not sure where to start or who to help you understand the process of starting your business?

The Gator Pit program will cover topics from idea conception to prototyping and will answer most of the questions you have relating to how to launch and execute your business ending with a real contest to win prizes.

The Gator Pit Components

Educate

The Gator Pit utilizes online learning sessions paired with discussion sessions to prepare students to launch and execute a business. Sessions cover everything from idea conception to prototyping and will answer most of the questions students have for getting started as an entrepreneur.

Inspire

Small businesses need more than just a great idea to survive. The Gator Pit hosts open discussion sessions between students and entrepreneurs diving deep into key elements of success. This gives students the opportunity to draw on the experience of others, and will help avoid costly mistakes and make better decisions.

Pitch

Part of any successful start-up is thriving under pressure when making a pitch. This Summer, The Gator Pit will host a pitch competition with the opportunity to win real prizes. Our team will provide students with training before the event on what to do and what not to do, including opportunities to practice with mentors. Participants will be judged on creativity, passion and business viability.

Connect

The goal of The Gator Pit is to not only provide students with the necessary education to incubate great ideas and foster an entrepreneurial mindset, but to also equip students with tools and connections to be successful post program participation. As such, The Gator Pit also includes a virtual incubator space designed for emerging entrepreneurs and their coaches to network with the business community and access various resources.

Key Dates

What type of business ideas qualify for The Gator Pit?

Physical Product

Actual product that needs to be manufactured or prototyped and will eventually be sold to a customer

Service Offering

Service offering that will directly require the hands-on execution of a person performing an activity

Technology Solution

Involves a digital solution that is entirely web-based through an application or a software offering

All The Questions You Need Answered

1. Who can participate?

The EDUCATE, INSPIRE, and PITCH portions of the Gator Pit are open to any youth ages 14-18. The COMPETITION for the Gator Pit is only open to youth in Florida. Youth will need to enroll in the Florida 4-H program in order to fully participate. There is no cost associated with joining The Gator Pit.

2. Can I join as an individual or a team?

Students can join individually OR as a team of between 2-4 team members. All participants must register in Florida 4-H.

3. What is the cost?

There is no cost to participate in any of the components of The Gator Pit. 2021 is entirely online to accommodate the current COVID 19 restrictions.

4. Are there prizes?

Yes! Those that participate in the Gator Pit Pitch competition will have the chance to win $1,000 for first place, $350 for second place and $250 for third place.

5. What are the categories of businesses?

We recommend students choose from one of three categories:
Physical Product, Service Offering or a Technology Solution. Each of these tracts will receive tailored mentorship and compete separately in the Pitch competition.
- Physical Product : Actual product that needs to be manufactured or prototyped and will eventually be sold to a customer

- Service Offering: Service offering that will directly require the hands-on execution of a person performing an activity

- Technology Solution: Involves a digital solution that is entirely web-based through an application or a software offering

6. How Do I enroll?

Our Proud Sponsors

This program is brought to you by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 4-H Youth Development Program in partnership with a number of organizations, including BirdSeed, Florida Afterschool Network, TKIBA, and ESmart Recycling.

Are you interested in getting involved with this work? Thanks to seed funding from the Florida Afterschool Network and the Mott Foundation, as well as support from the Florida 4-H Foundation, we are focused on expanding the entrepreneurship ecosystem for youth in Florida.
Contact Us to learn more!

Ready to join the pit?

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