Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship celebrates, inspires Gainesville Entrepreneurs Month

A grassroots effort, “Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship” has formed to celebrate and inspire locally created and owned business and entrepreneurial efforts in Gainesville.

The collective will focus its attention on business development and meaningful job growth in greater East Gainesville, the area between the western shore of Newnan’s Lake and West 13th Street. The team members have decades of combined expertise in local community design and policy-making, the arts, design, and entrepreneurship, with a special commitment to tapping the potential of the local African-American community. They plan to support other locally-driven efforts, and host events and classes in and for Gainesville’s East Side.

The collective plans a series of events:

• October was Gainesville Entrepreneurs Month (GEM), branded by the Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN). Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship has launched a Facebook page dedicated to sharing these “GEM Stories” of local successes throughout the month. Launched on Oct. 1, the page is at

GEM Stories will be drawn from retail, manufacturing, service, food, the arts, and the environment. More information about GAIN can be found at

• An event will be held Dec. 7 from 5:30 -7:30 pm at GTEC (Gainesville Technology and Entrepreneurship Center) to celebrate Gainesville’s successful entrepreneurs, and to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. Speakers will be drawn from the GEM Stories project, and networking and mentoring opportunities will be featured. GTEC is located at 2153 SE Hawthorne Road.

• Teaching and learning business skills and entrepreneurship are an important outcome of these initial efforts. The Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship team will support a class to be hosted through the University of Florida’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center this fall. See for details.

Next spring, members of the team will co-teach a class in collaboration with Santa Fe College’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development. See for details.

The Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship team is Bill Dorman, Santa Fe College; Nkwanda Jah, Cultural Arts Coalition; Haley Moody, Florida Community Design Center; Bill Rossi, University of Florida Professor of Entrepreneurship Emeritus; Kim Tanzer, University of Virginia Professor of Architecture Emerita; and Randy Wells, Florida Community Design Center. The team looks forward to expanding, and welcomes participation from the entire Gainesville community.

For further information, contact Nkwanda Jah, Executive Director, Cultural Arts Coalition at 352-219-5793 or, or Randy Wells, Executive Director, Florida Community Design Center, 352-358-7110 or 

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