BarCamp And Startup Weekend Generating Fresh Ideas in Gainesville

Gainesville’s tech and startup community welcomed two big events coming to town this month: BarCamp and Startup Weekend. Both are part of national trends aimed at generating new ideas and instilling an entrepreneurial spirit.

Sponsored here in Gainesville by Grooveshark and, BarCamp is known as a day-long “un-conference” where anyone who attends can register to speak. Attendees are encouraged to speak about anything they are passionate about, from starting a business to the tech industry to new marketing techniques. Attendees are able to choose one of four talks held at a time at the conference, and food trucks will be available for lunch.

Startup Weekend allows participants to turn ideas into a fledgling company over the weekend’s three days. Founded by Seattle non-profit Up Global, the event is aimed not only at professionals but also at students and young people with discounted tickets offered to students. Traditionally, Startup Weekend begins on Friday evening with idea pitches, followed by a weekend of team building and development of business plans and prototypes. The weekend finishes Sunday night with judging and awards. While still a relatively new event in the Gainesville scene, it has grown rapidly in popularity. Last year, 215 participants registered for Gainesville’s Startup Weekend. This year, more than 300 students have already registered.

BarCamp was held this past Saturday, November 8. Startup Weekend will be held this weekend, November 14 through November 16 at Starter Space, located at 308 W. University Ave. Tickets to participate are $100 for non-students and $49 for students. For more information on Startup Weekend, visit

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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