Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey Here

Gator Launch 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.


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 Teaching Sessions

The 6 topics we will cover in live virtual sessions

Step 1: Mindset

Who, What, Why and How

Understanding all of the key components involved with starting a business today

Step 2: Ideation

From Problem to Solution

Realizing that every great business solves a fundamental problem and fills a need

Step 3: Canvas

Understand the Business Climate

Taking stock of all the factors that will contribute to ultimate success or failure

Step 4: Strategy

Creating the Business Plan

Put on paper what it takes to get your business off the ground and profitable


Make it a Reality

Begin to vet your idea through actual data to understand potential viable market fit

Step 6: Pitch

Structure and Creation

Preparing for presenting in front of a panel with a developed and executed business

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 Gator Pit Program is open to any youth ages 14-18 living in the State of Florida.

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

Students can join individually OR as a team of between 2-4 team members.

3. What is the cost?

*There is no cost to participate in the six virtual live sessions held online.
*There also will be no cost for those that choose to participate in The Gator Pit Pitch Competition in Orlando. However, all participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs. Scholarships may be available to cover these costs upon request and based on need. If there is a need, please just reach out to us!

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?

Participants can choose one of three categories: Physical Product, Service Offering or a Technology Solution. Each of these tracts will compete separately.

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.

Ready to join the pit?

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