Almost 200 take part in inaugural Start Up Downtown

Companies and job seekers pack the second floor balcony of the Union Street Station during Start Up Downtown, an exhibition and job fair on Thursday in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 9:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 9:43 p.m.

The second-floor balcony of Union Street Station bustled with bright, eager individuals on Thursday who were seeking opportunities with local startup companies.

The exhibition, Start Up Downtown, was hosted by FloridaWorks in partnership with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Gainesville. This exhibition is the first of its kind to come to Gainesville.

Gainesville Information Technology, an IT task force assembled by FloridaWorks and GACC, organized the event.

The event was held at Union Street Station, 201 SE Second Ave., and the balcony overlooking downtown was transformed into a place where companies could set up their tables, and attendees could go to the tables they were interested in.

About 20 businesses came to Start Up Downtown in hopes of hiring people for their startups. Grooveshark, Swamp Mobile, Mobiquity, Sporting Odyssey, Stage 7, Fracture, NeuroNet Learning, SharpSpring and Study Edge were some of the startups present.

More than 180 people registered to attend the event and they received pink wristbands that also permitted them to make use of downtown specials.

Kim Tesch-Vaught, director of FloridaWorks, said, "The goal is to show how cool our startup community is and to create face-to-face interaction with the community and people who are hiring."

She said Start Up Downtown featured startup communities and gave locals an opportunity to meet with these startups, which grew in Gainesville.

Tesch-Vaught said people of all ages with all different levels of expertise came to Thursday's exhibition. Not just college students attended, she said. For future Downtown Start Up events, she encourages people to register on so prospective employees can be matched to jobs and can update their resumes for specific jobs.

"We're always looking for people to hire," said Pavle Stojkovic, director of people operations for Grooveshark, a Gainesville company that provides free music streaming and online radio stations.

Stojkovic said he wants people to be aware of Grooveshark's products and the company is looking for smart and talented people who are eager to learn.

James Davis, marketing director of SharpSpring, said the main reason SharpSpring was at Thursday's event was to support the startup community.

"It's good to get involved." he said.

SharpSpring is a marketing software company that provides web visitor identification and marketing automation.

Davis said SharpSpring is looking for people who don't need direction and can work in laid-back environments.

Josh Black, a 20-year-old web services intern for the University of Florida, said, "My goal is to network with different startups and see if we can make a good match."

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