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Applications open for Swisher Start-Up Cohort

For the second consecutive year, Swisher is partnering with UNF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) to assist and support underrepresented entrepreneurs in pursuing their business goals.

The first 2022 program to be offered, the Swisher Start-up Cohort for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs, is a free 8-week hybrid program designed to help individuals start a business and master their pitch. The program will teach entrepreneurs how to turn their ideas into a business with field experts, hands-on mentors and resources to help them achieve their goals.

“We are extremely proud to continue our partnership with UNF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This program directly impacts local entrepreneurs who want to obtain valuable skills to pursue their dreams of owning and operating their own business,” says Neil Kiely, President of Swisher. 

Essential business topics of this program include: intro business model canvas, understanding the customer, reaching the market, legal and HR issues, understanding finance, scaling the business, message communication & brand design, and pitch preparation.

The cohorts will present their business ideas in May with the top three pitch winners being awarded prize money to assist with the starting of their business.

The goal of this partnership is to help companies and entrepreneurs from all walks of life overcome challenges faced during early startup years such as securing funding and scaling a business. There will be two programs offered for underrepresented entrepreneurs in 2022, one for start-ups and one for companies in the growth stage. Swisher’s commitment will provide financial support for facilitators, workshops, prize money and other resources for UNF’s CEI.

UNF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is committed to supporting early-stage companies and entrepreneurs in Northeast Florida by offering a variety of programs to support and nurture selected startup businesses with essential services.

Applications open Jan. 17 and will close Feb. 13. Twenty entrepreneurs will be selected for this new cohort with classes beginning March 2. More information on the Swisher Start-up Cohort can be found at