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In the News

Drew Messer Speaking

New Entrepreneurs Emerge

Several years ago, Drew Messer and Justin Dennis had a casual conversation over brunch. Little did they know that discussion would kick off an entrepreneurial journey for them both. Today they are the co-founders of an emerging business that has already earned nearly $1 million in revenue and is laying the groundwork to expand beyond Florida into other U.S. states.


The company is Urban Software Development Kit, or Urban SDK, one of six promising businesses to emerge from the UNF Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s first group of start-ups...(read more)  

2019 Cohort Group Picture

UNF Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosts ‘Demo Day’

The University of North Florida Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted its inaugural Demo Day on Sept. 17 at the center in The Barnett Building Downtown.

At a small ceremony because of COVID-19 social distancing, six startup entrepreneurs presented their business concepts to members of the center’s advisory council...(read more)
Kara Barber Assistant Director Press Release click article link to read more

Kara Barber named assistant director of Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The University of North Florida has named Kara Barber as assistant director of UNF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). She will be responsible for working with the Center’s cohorts of entrepreneurs and further developing the Center’s processes, marketing and operational oversight...(read more)
CEI Building

Inside UNF's new Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The University of North Florida has established a concept for higher education that’s intended to create new opportunities in Jacksonville.

“Anyone who walks through these doors has the potential to build a business — and they’ll have the support here to do it,” said Karen Bowling, director of the UNF Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The center has classroom, coworking and office space on two floors at The Barnett, Downtown at 112 W. Adams St. It is the university’s second urban learning resource center, joining the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art two blocks north along Laura Street...(read more)

Center for Entrepreneurship Entrance

UNF: Barnett Bank building facility is 'wonderful for creative thought'

Up to 200 Coggin College of Business students will take classes in the 16,000-square-foot space on the fourth and fifth floors, which includes an Entrepreneurial Center, where students work with people in the business community to pitch ideas and help come up with solutions to issues in various industries....(read more)

CEI Ribbon Cutting

UNF innovation center opens at The Barnett

University of North Florida President David Szymanski, left, holds the ribbon at UNF’s new Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at The Barnett building in Downtown Jacksonville.

He was joined Monday night by his wife, Maria Szymanski; philanthropists Luther and Blanche Coggin; and the center’s director, Karen Bowling.

The center will serve graduate students and entrepreneurs interested in incubating business ideas.

Karen Bowling headshot collage with CEI building

Bowling appointed director of new UNF entrepreneur center

The University of North Florida appointed alumna Karen Bowling the director of its new Center for Entrepreneurship.

Bowling is an executive with more than 30 years of experience in public and private companies in the health care, government and technology industries.

Prior to her appointment, Bowling served as president of Thrive Consulting LLC in Jacksonville, where she worked with clients in the health care and government sectors...(read more)

CEI Building Construction

Work set to begin on UNF's Entrepreneurial Center in urban core

Ahead of the spring semester, a permit for the build-out of the fourth and fifth floors of the Barnett Bank Building has been awarded to Danis.

In April, the University of North Florida signed a lease for the 16,000-square-foot space. Up to 200 students will take classes at the satellite campus, which in addition to classrooms will include an "Entrepreneurial Center," where students will intern while working with people in the business community...(read more)