UF Innovate | The Hub is a business incubator with a mission to build, drive and support the spirit of innovation. We are the “hub” of the North Central Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem with a global outreach. We offer state-of-the-art wet laboratory, light manufacturing and office space, along with advising, mentoring, education and programs and amenities to help you succeed. We have resident and affiliate programs available to assist every startup and small business.
The original 48,000-square-foot facility was built with an $8.2 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration and a $5 million commitment from the University of Florida. After it opened in October 2011, the incubator demonstrated such success that the EDA awarded a second $8 million grant, to which UF added an additional $9 million in 2015. The expansion opened in January 2018, doubling the facility to a total of 100,000 square feet.
Since the addition of the UF Innovate | The Hub, the entrepreneurial landscape and culture of Gainesville have experienced an amazing transformation, and the incubator is recognized as a major catalyst in helping propel the university city to become one of the top energized tech communities in the Southeast. Much more than a building, the Hub provides a complete growth ecosystem that leverages the prestige of the university’s research and technology commercialization prowess and combines that with programming, resources and networking opportunities designed to support small startups and growth companies.
Mark is the director of incubation services at UF. This includes UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech and UF Innovate | The Hub. He focuses on incubating companies according to industry best practices efforts, utilizing sales and marketing techniques and entrepreneurial mentoring.
Mark was the former President and CEO of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC), which owned and operated the Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center (IUETC), a life sciences incubator, and Mark served as President and CEO of that facility. Mark was also President and CEO of the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute, a cancer treatment facility located at Indiana University, during his tenure at IURTC. Mark was the former Director of Technical Operations at Washington University in St. Louis.
Mark has a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in Molecular Biology from Florida State University. He attended both Florida Atlantic University and Indiana University for work on his Ed.D. He has been a member of the NBIA for 12 years and authored the books “Put It In Writing 2”, “Wholesale Economic Development”, and writes a blog on incubation titled IncubatorBlogger.
Jim joined UF Innovate | The Hub in August 2019 to assist Director Mark Long in day-to-day operations of the incubator as Mark and Jim O’Connell expand their responsibilities to include the development of the innovation district, in which The Hub is located.
Previous to joining The Hub, Jim ran not one but three incubators in South Orlando for the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program. While at UCF, Jim’s client companies created more than 500 jobs and raised more than $40 million in investment capital. Of course, he expects even greater things with the mixed-use incubator he now helps lead.
Jim also directed the Columbus Regional Technology Incubator in Columbus, Georgia, and served as an adjunct professor of business for the university system of Georgia. He has more than 20 years in business development including AT&T, Orkin Exterminating Co., and four startup companies, including a dental startup featuring a double-sided toothbrush that went public.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from Texas Christian University. He has a talented wife Shelly, four children, and so many grandchildren he’s lost count of them. He is a direct descendant of the Jim Bowie of Alamo and Bowie knife fame.
Jennifer assists The Hub associate director and director with day-to-day operations of the business incubator in order to facilitate a supportive and encouraging environment for aspiring entrepreneurs to grow. She works with UF Incubation Services leadership to meet occupancy and revenue goals; implement programs, new initiatives, and special projects; monitor client performance; meet social media metrics; and establish operational goals and objectives that align with the overall strategic plan. She oversees accounting, reception, financial and contractual functions, and event management for The Hub.
Jennifer is an experienced manager with a history of working in both the private and public sectors of sales, hospitality, real estate law, finance, and accounting. She has been with The Hub since 2016 and was part of the team when The Hub was awarded the 2018 International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) Global Mixed-Use Incubator of the Year award.
Jennifer obtained her accounting degree from Fischer School of Accounting at UF. She holds an Incubation Management Certificate from the InBIA as well as both Fiscal and HR certificates from UF, and was a Leadership Gainesville Graduate (Go Green!).
Courtney oversees the maintenance, housekeeping and general upkeep of the 100,000 square foot technology incubator. She manages the inventory of building assets, space allocation, as well as the accounts payable approver. She also serves as the liaison between the resident clients at The Hub and UF departments such as Information Technology, Facilities Services and Environmental Health and Safety. Courtney interfaces with clients on a daily basis to solve problems, manage space and create growth opportunities. She also handles event management, including room layouts, catering management and scheduling. She manages data input and data management for IncutrackTM, the contact management system for The Hub.
Before joining UF Innovate in 2017, Courtney was the Facilities and Administration Manager at Naylor Association Solutions located in Gainesville. She was responsible for a 60,000 square foot commercial building, served as executive assistant to the CEO, as well as coordinated events. Prior to relocating to Gainesville, Courtney worked for 13 years in the print media industry in a variety of roles including media buying, sales, and production.
Courtney earned her B.S in advertising from the University of Florida.
Lissette is The Hub’s accounting extraordinaire. She prepares monthly invoices for Hub clients and maintains the sub-ledger accounting system. Lissette processes Pcard transactions, expense reports, accounts payable, and monthly reconciliations reports. She assists the incubator manager with financial reports and monthly auditing as well as provides support for all internal and external Hub events.
Before joining The Hub in 2017, Lissette worked in many industries including a law firm in Miami and some of the best food and beverage establishments in Chicago. She has many years of experience in customer service, sales, marketing/social media, billing, and administration.
Lissette graduated from Florida International University in Miami with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has completed her Fiscal Management Certificate at UF and is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish.
Tess works part-time at the reception desk. She greets visitors and assists clients with a variety of questions. Tess also checks out resources to new employees and helps with the on-boarding process. Most important, Tess makes sure coffee levels stay above emergency levels.
Before accepting her receptionist position, Tess interned with the UF Innovate | The Hub administrative team where she completed numerous projects to help improve building operations. She also worked part-time at the University of Florida’s Office of Admissions and tutored at a local Gainesville elementary school.
Tess is a full-time student at UF, where she will earn a bachelor’s of science in accounting as well as her master’s degree in accounting.
Maddie manages The Hub’s master calendar, in addition to the director’s and associate director’s calendars. She helps the incubation manager manage events and workshops by organizing and facilitating event details, setting up/breaking down, and working with caterers, speakers, and marketing.
Before joining the Hub team, Maddie worked as a barista for three years, mastering the art of making lattes while making customer connections that last. Working in customer service in a variety of retail environments has given Maddie a good, working knowledge of the customer service field.
A third-year student at Santa Fe, Maddie is working toward her associate’s degree in Office Administration with the goal of being an administrative assistant.
Melissa works full time as a receptionist for The Hub. In her role, she greets everyone that comes through our doors and helps them with questions or concerns, onboards and exits new and departing Hub resident clients and their employees, and makes sure that coffee is always hot and ready.
Before Melissa joined The Hub, she helped manage a small patio furniture store in Miami by organizing events, scheduling and supporting the staff, and merchandising the sales floor. Most of her past experience is in retail management, from clothing stores to furniture stores.
Melissa is a junior at FIU, taking all her classes online so that she could move to the home of the Gators. (Smart woman!) She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and hopes to one day work for the HR department at UF.