Cross College Alliance to Host Inaugural Social Entrepreneurship Conference

What started as a class project by two New College of Florida students has blossomed into the region’s inaugural Social Entrepreneurship Conference, bringing together four colleges, business partners and mentors from across the region, and students intent on solving 21​st​-century problems through social entrepreneurship.

The ​conference​ ​will bring together students from the alliance’s member institutions –New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee – and connect them with successful entrepreneurs who took action through their startups and have already made an impact in their communities.
The idea for the conference came from student organizers, Daniel Schell and Emiliano Espinosa. Meeting weekly in the New College dining facility, their conversations transitioned from their academic agenda to future plans and their desire to start a business after they graduate.

“We were always drawn to the creative aspects of business and the ability to solve problems. Discussing these ideas, we realized that the entrepreneurship world was something that was very foreign to many of our peers,” said Daniel Schell. “Thus the idea for the Social Entrepreneurship Conference was born.”

The student-led conference features entrepreneurship panels for those who want to address social issues, green initiatives, and creative endeavors, as well as an incubator program and contest. Creative professionals will also be on hand to conduct student portfolio reviews.

“This cutting-edge conference will inspire students to put their ideas into action, solving pressing real-world problems through the power of social entrepreneurship,” said New College President Donal O’Shea. “Students throughout the region will connect with everything they need to give life to new socially conscious start-ups – expertise, mentors, capital, and partners.”
Ten students who submitted business plans for social entrepreneurship start-ups will have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes, with three presenting before a Shark Tank-style group of judges and the rest vying for a People’s Choice award chosen by the audience. The students and projects selected to present for the top awards of $3,000, $2,000, $1,000 ​and membership at BOLD CoWork Sarasota ​include:

● Christiana Guan of Pine View School with Ecolysian, offering upcycled and eco-friendly products and a blog to increase environmental activism
● Jesus Olive of New College of Florida with Better Today, a self-improvement app for new habit creation, self-reflection and virtue cultivation
● The team of Carlos Moreira, James Wendland, Joshua Baker of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee with Eco+, an app to reward users for environmentally-friendly acts, using social media to compete and demonstrate how even small acts can help the environment

Among speakers, panelists and judges at the day-long event are:
Joy Randels, founder and CEO of New Market Partners, a tech company accelerator that helped launch more than 75 companies, raised more than $300 million in venture capital, and led 17 acquisitions. Neirda LaFontant, founder of FUNducation Johnette Isham, executive director, Realize Bradenton Gretchen Bauer, founder, BSWANKY Erica McCreadie, creator of The Naked Flora blog Jesse White, owner and founder of Architectural Salvage Anand Pallegar, founder, DreamLarge Olivier Corizzi, president, Avenue Media Esteban Valdez, Echo-Bridge Camilyn Leavitt, author at Camilyn Beth Studio Matthew Eisner, marketing, data and research expert Rachel Wei West, founder and CEO, InfoAlliance Rita Ferrandino, founding partner, Arc Capital Development Greg Smogard, USFSM Mark Paul, NCF Pete Petersen, Dealers United


Free registration at