Jax Innovation Nights


Jax Innovation Nights provides local entrepreneurs, innovators, and emerging leaders with weekly education and mentorship to accelerate the local innovation and startup community in Jacksonville, FL. With 46 events scheduled for 2016, Jax Innovation Nights includes specialized workshops, expert speaker presentations, networking events, investment pitch competitions, and a business book club.

The program offers a diverse range of topics intended to appeal to people across industries and skill levels such as marketing, business finance, web design, coding, organizational leadership strategies, tech innovation, and startup fundamentals. A special focus on addressing the innovation needs in Jacksonville will be the thread of connection for all events. Expert facilitators will be curated on behalf of local organizations including, Jax Community of Entrepreneurs, PS27 Ventures, ColabJax, Tech Talent South, and Startup Jax.



Jax Innovation Nights is presented by Unity Plaza, a new non-profit urban park and amphitheater in Jacksonville, FL offering year-round activities on campus and online. We are honored to team up with several local organizations to curate a dynamic weekly schedule for startup entrepreneurs and innovators.

See All Unity Plaza Events


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6-8PM: Business Book Club Part 151TOyOGWnzL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

This club is for anyone in business (their own or working for somebody else) to meet and
discuss their favorite business books. Everyone who attends shares their ideas, insights,
questions and comments from their reading of the book. The group reads one book at a time and meet to discuss it every 1st (full session) and 3rd Monday. (review session).

Book of the Month: “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink

“Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now. To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling.”

#1 New York Times Business Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
#1 Washington Post bestseller

LEARN MORE ABOUT COLABJAX: http://makerspace.colabjax.org


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6-7PM: Open Networking & Launch Party
7-8PM: Partner Presentations
8-9PM: “Green Zone” Networking

Join us for the official launch of JAX INNOVATION NIGHTS at Unity Plaza! Enjoy short presentations from our collaborating organizations including Tech Talent South, CoLabJax, and Startup Jax, a special talk from Celeste Blackman, followed by an “innovative” networking experience, known as Green Zone Networking. This process will help you transcend your fears about meeting new people and will take your communication skills to the next level. Cash bar and snacks will be provided.

LEARN MORE ABOUT UNITY PLAZA: http://www.unityplaza.org

Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights @ Unity Plaza Kick-Off Party!




Gary Chartrand, Executive Chairman of Acosta and former Chair, Florida Board of Education

6-7PM: Business Book Club Part 2 (Review “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink)
7-9PM: JAXCoE Presentation

Gary Chartrand is the Executive Chairman of Acosta Sales and Marketing. Acosta is a leading full-service sales and marketing agency, providing outsourced sales, merchandising, marketing and promotional services to manufacturers in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. The Company employs over 40,000 associates and operates 100 offices in the U.S. and Canada.

He has been the pivotal force behind quadrupling the company’s geographic coverage, transforming Acosta into a leading full-service sales and marketing company in the U.S. and Canada. Gary received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the State of Florida in May 2001, and has been an extraordinary leader in his industry and his community. From 2003 to 2009 Mr. Chartrand was recognized as one of the 50 most powerful leaders in the grocery industry by Supermarket News.

Mr. Chartrand also has a passion for educating the children of Duval County. In April 2007, he led a community effort to bring Teach for America to Jacksonville. Jacksonville was the second city in Florida to have attracted Teach for America to its community. Without Mr. Chartrand’s leadership, coordination with the Superintendent of schools, and his gift of a million dollars, this program would not be a reality for Jacksonville. In June of 2009 Gary and Nancy made a pledge gift of $1Million dollars to KIPP schools of Jacksonville. The first KIPP School in Florida opened in August of 2010. Because of his passion for education coupled with his business experience and leadership Governor Rick Scott appointed Mr. Chartrand to the State Board of Education in 2011.

Gary currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation; The Jacksonville Public Education Fund, and a director on the board of the KIPP schools in Jacksonville, FL. He is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and Acosta has raised millions for this important nonprofit .WWP provides needed support for our returning injured Warriors. Gary is actively engaged with Catholic Charities, Guardian of Dreams, Catholic schools and the Diocese of St. Augustine.

Gary is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. He resides in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife, Nancy. They have two children, Jeffrey and Meredith.


Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights - JaxCoE Speaker Series: Gary Chartrand, Executive Chairman of Acosta Sales and Marketing




“Cultivating the Mindspace for Creative Thinking: How to Manage Your Mind to Enhance Your Capacity for Creative Thinking and Problem Solving” Presented by Celeste Blackman, International Consultant and Co-founder Green Zone Culture Group

6-7pm- “Green Zone” Networking
7-8:30pm – Presentation

About the Workshop

Is ADT killing your creativity? ADT, attention deficit trait is a neurological reaction to the hyperkinetic environment in which we live and work. Never in human history has the brain been tasked to track, create and respond to so much data. The constant flow of information and the unrelenting noise from our external devices results in brain overload and gradually diminishes the brain’s capacity to attend fully and thoroughly to anything.

The core symptoms of ADT are distractibility, irritability, inner frenzy, and impatience. ADT can cause us to have difficulty staying organized, setting priorities, being creative, connecting deeply with others and effectively managing our time. These symptoms can undermine our work, dampen our joy, sabotage our health and diminish our capacity to create.

ADT is an artifact of modern life and it springs entirely from the environment. The cure also springs from the environment. Come learn some simple strategies for positively impacting your environment to inoculate yourself from the damaging effects of ADT. Join us on the 25th and you will learn. . .

  • how the environment impacts your brain
  • how to create a Green Zone environment, one that supports optimal brain function.
  • Simple practices to help you restore your brain power and creative potential!
Facilitator: Celeste Blackman, Co-founder Green Zone Culture Group

Celeste is an international consultant and co-founder of The Green Zone Culture Group, dedicated to creating organizational cultures where high trust, emotional commitment and collaboration. She is both a consultant with Business Consultants of Japan and instructor at the Wharton School of Business where she teaches communications in the Executive MBA program.


Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights Presents: Cultivating the Mindspace for Creative Thinking

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6-8PM: Business Book Club

Book of the Month: “How to Fly a Horse” by Kevin Ashton41LKjE0VVYL

“To create is human. Technology pioneer Kevin Ashton has experienced firsthand the all-consuming challenge of creating something new. Now, in a tour-de-force narrative twenty years in the making, Ashton demystifies the sacred act, leading us on a journey through humanity’s greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it. From the crystallographer’s laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long forgotten woman, to the Ohio bicycle shop where the Wright brothers set out to “fly a horse,” Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs. Drawing on examples from Mozart to the Muppets, Archimedes to Apple, Kandinsky to a can of Coke, How to Fly a Horse is essential reading for would-be creators and innovators, and also a passionate and immensely rewarding exploration of how “new” comes to be.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT COLABJAX: http://makerspace.colabjax.org




Why Learn to Code? || Presentation + Networking Event

6-7:30pm: Presentation
7:30-8:30pm: Neworking

More and more people nowadays are turning to code development either as a change in career, or as a supplement to their current one. This workshop will present the case why learning to code is a good idea for your future (no matter where you are in your career), what you should learn, and finally, where you should learn it. Along the way, we’ll distinguish between learning to code, and “programatic thinking”, and some keys to success.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TECH TALENT SOUTH: http://techtalentsouth.com

Eventbrite - Why Learn to Code? Presentation + Networking Event



Craig Mandeville, founder/CEO, Forcura

6-7PM: Business Book Club Social
7-9PM: JAXCoE Presentation

Innovative executive and entrepreneur with more than 17 years of sales, operations, and product management experience for several successful start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Currently serves as the Founder and CEO of Forcura, a market-leading healthcare software solution provider. Prior to Forcura was Sales Leader for Intuit’s enterprise software division, MRI Software, overseeing sales to the real estate and healthcare industries within Southeast US, Caribbean & Latin America. Prior to Intuit, was Co-Founder and VP of Sales for Waste Reduction Consultants, Inc. which was later acquired by Cass Information Systems. Craig is known as a healthcare industry innovator. He and his team have a unique ability of leveraging technology to solve complex issues with intuitive solutions.


Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights Presents: JaxCoE Speaker Series Featuring Craig Mandeville, founder/CEO, Forcura




FEBRUARY 22, 2016 – Get Mentored! An Evening of Entrepreneurial Mentorship

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get from an expert mentor? 

Derek Distenfield, Executive Director of the Bunker of Jacksonville and CEO of NextGenJustice, discusses how to receive and use mentors to effectively grow yourself personally and professionally. As firm believer and student of the TechStars ethos #givefirst Derek will discuss how to mentor others and what the benefits are to contributing to your community.

Round robin mentorship will be available for all those seeking advice and support on their business or product. The mentors will offer advice on sales, marketing, funding, strategy, legal and more.

Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights Presents: Get Mentored! An Evening of Entrepreneurial Mentorship

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FEBRUARY 29, 2016 – Leading Ladies 904 Presentation + Networking Event

Join women from all around the 904 who share a passion for innovation and leadership. Enjoy short presentations and an inspiring networking event. Free to attend. Cash bar.
Leading Ladies 904 is a North Florida-based movement comprised of extraordinary women with extraordinary leadership talent living in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding area. They are authentically themselves — they follow their passion, and whether in a business suit or yoga pants, heels or converse sneakers – they are grounded in the fearless leader within them. They are business owners, writers, artist, entrepreneurs, moms, athletes, etc. who are visionaries. They are fearless. The are looking to connect, collaborate, and inspire to be in inspired.

The heart and soul behind Leading Ladies 904 is:
connection | connecting extraordinary women. The more I built my network in Jacksonville, the more blown away I became knowing that these women didn’t know one another.
collaboration | connecting brilliant visionary minds so that we can support one another. I believe that collaboration puts the “extra”in extraordinary.
inspiration | Inspire others to find their voice and use it unapologetically. I see women time and time again shrink. Its about inspiring and being inspired, Its about mentoring and paving the way for other women.

In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, I want more women to“Lean In”, and get involved! A city is only as great as its citizens. AND this city is GREAT! I believe women leaders are creating the movement that will change the world for the better. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes“never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, its the only thing that ever has.”

ps. Want to learn more, join our global Facebook page Leading Ladies 904
Also, if you are looking to connect with a community of highly driven and successful visionary entrepreneurial women, Leading Ladies 904 Board Members is for you! Request to be added by sending to the group.

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6-8PM: Business Book Club

Book of the Month: “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitzben_horowitz

“Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT COLABJAX: http://makerspace.colabjax.org




6-8PM: Women, Wine, and Webdesign

Ever dreamed of designing and launching your very own website? We’ll let you in on a little secret.​..​ It’s easier than you think! In this beginner-focused two and half hour workshop, attendees will learn about the fundamental tools of front-end development (HTML & CSS) and build out their first very own website. ​Of course, we’ll have wine to help fuel the creative process! Attendees simply need to bring along their own laptop and leave the rest to us.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TECH TALENT SOUTH: http://techtalentsouth.com
Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights Presents: Women, Wine, and Webdesign facilitated by Tech Talent South

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Brian Barquilla, founder of AdvantageB2B, aka Advantage Business Magazine

6-7PM: Business Book Club Part 2 (“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz)
7-9PM: JAXCoE Presentation

Brian Barquilla is founder of AdvantageB2B, a marketing company that is well know in Jacksonville for Advantage Business Magazine. As an expert in small businesses he consults and mentors other business owners in the capacity of facilitator in peer to peer groups.

At the core of his motivation is helping others succeed in business. He looks for great businesses (people) that are doing unique and innovative things others can learn from. He and his team package this editorial content both online and in print. He loves helping clients build their professional reputation and being seem as thought leaders.
“I love connecting with entrepreneurs. There is something infectious about their attitude and drive that draws me to them. Typically, they take enormous risk by borrowing money from family and friends; perhaps mortgage their homes and maxing out credit cards. They do all of this to chase a dream of creating a better life for themselves and their families. I respect and admire that level of confidence. If I can help contribute to their success in my small way, I get a level of satisfaction that goes way beyond financial reward,” says Brian.

In addition to being a publisher, journalist, consultant and change agent, he volunteers and participates with a number of organizations:

Advisory board Community First Credit Union
Advisory board Jacksonville University Davis College of Business
Advisory board GrowJax for second stage businesses

He was honored by the Rotarians when he was awarded the prestigious “Palmer Hall Business Person of the Year.” This award is to recognize an individual that displays exemplary qualities of leadership, service to others & achievement of outstanding success in business. In 2013, Brian was selected by the Small Business Administration as the Small Media Advocate of the Year for not only Jacksonville but the state of Florida. Brian taps into his expertise to speak at many events and has been featured in a number of business publications including Entrepreneur Magazine where he is a frequent contributor.

A self-made entrepreneur with more than 15 years of business leadership experience, Brian is excited to be sharing his passion for business building with others. He holds degrees in marketing and management from Jacksonville University. He lives in North Florida with his wife Robin and their two children. In his leisure time, he enjoys boating, fishing, personal fitness and coaching U6 kid’s soccer.
Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights Presents: JaxCoE Speaker Series featuring Brian Barquilla, founder of AdvantageB2B




Hang tight… we’re working with #Startup Jax to come up with the PERFECT event for you! Stay tuned…


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6-8PM: Business Book Club

Book of the Month: DETAILS COMING SOON!

LEARN MORE ABOUT COLABJAX: http://makerspace.colabjax.org



Facilitated by Tech Talent South 

6pm-8pm: Workshop

Building your web app from the ground up & finding the right place to share it with the world sounds like a lot of work, huh? But it’s not as hard as it may sound! We’ll go step-by-step creating a simple web app using Ruby on Rails, pushing it to GitHub so you can show off your code, and then pushing the Heroku so the world can marvel at what you’ve created!
Eventbrite - Jax Innovation Nights Presents: Zero to Heroku: A Ruby on Rails Workshop by Tech Talent South

LEARN MORE ABOUT TECH TALENT SOUTH: http://techtalentsouth.com


Stay tuned for more 2016 events to be added soon!/responsive_text]