Santa Fe College

Innovative Product Development Center




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Santa Fe College established a Regional Commercialization Center on April 2, 2018. The Innovative Product Development Center (IPDC) combines the vision, known best practices, and expertise to create pathways to technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and business development to a recognized but underserved population of regional inventors and innovators.

Unlike research faculty at the University of Florida or entrepreneurs and startups that populate the University of Florida’s widely respected business incubators (the Innovation Hub and Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator), local independent innovators and inventors had little to no access to the training, intellectual property management, and other support provided by the University of Florida’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) and the UF OTL University Center Program.


In contrast, these independent innovators and inventors generally have not created their own companies and are often unaware of the services and support programs available through incubation programs in the region. Instead, they are often already employed in companies and use their own time and resources to create and partially develop their own innovations. There are no existing pipelines—such as those within universities and large companies—that can funnel these independent discoveries and inventions through a commercial market assessment process that may lead to either to fast-tracking to manufacturing and distribution or to patent applications and, eventually, to licensing and commercial development.

A detailed search of assigned patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office revealed significant numbers of patents issued over the past 10 years to inventors in Gainesville, Florida, that were not affiliated with UF. Recognizing the needs of this population of underserved innovators, Santa Fe College has partnered with a wide range of organizations and private sector companies. These partners include the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the City of Gainesville, the Innovation Hub at UF, UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator, CareerSource North Central Florida, the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention, the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations.

On April 30, 2018, Santa Fe College announced the opening of the Innovative Product Development Center (IPDC) at GTEC. The IPDC was formed as a three-year collaboration between Santa Fe College and the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The IPDC will work with community-based entrepreneurs with commercially viable discoveries to be paired with seasoned entrepreneurs and existing companies and investors to ensure their growth and success. The IPDC, with the assistance of experts in intellectual property, business, and product development, will evaluate potential opportunities and facilitate the process by which these discoveries enter the commercial marketplace.

The IPDC provides services to Alachua and surrounding counties in North Florida. The EDA investment enabled the IPDC to establish a regional commercialization center to focus on developing industry clusters in the life sciences, software/web development, and niche manufacturing. The regional impact includes the launching of new startups, the creation of new jobs, and securing private investment for IPDC startups. IPDC also offers events that provide local inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators the opportunity to connect with IPDC Partners, organizations, and private-sector companies who provide mentoring and learning opportunities for startups and their founders. These free events include networking and interactive presentations by subject-area experts on topics relevant to product commercialization and growing your new business. The new IPDC office is housed in the Gainesville Technology and Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC), a business incubator that is owned by the City of Gainesville.


Santa Fe College appointed Karl R. Zawoy as Director of the Innovative Product Development Center (IPDC). Mr. Zawoy is a business executive with over 25 years’ experience starting companies and commercializing new products. Mr. Zawoy was an Entrepreneur in Residence for the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research where he coached and mentored CEOs and entrepreneurs to raise investment and secure matching funds from the State of Florida. He also served as a Licensing Officer at the University of Florida (UF) Office of Technology licensing where he managed inventions and licensed intellectual property for the UF Research Foundation. “I am very excited to be part of Santa Fe College, an organization that is deeply committed to growing and diversifying Gainesville and the North Florida region, and for the support of the EDA Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program,” Zawoy said. “The Innovative Product Development Center will work with entrepreneurs, community experts, and service providers to accelerate new companies while helping to increase jobs consistent with our community’s strategic plan for a sustainable, diversified economy.”

Zawoy has experience in product development and business operations including R&D, manufacturing engineering, information technology, and new business development. He has developed processes using state-ofthe- art automated manufacturing systems, robotics, and other technological innovations, and has held various leadership positions with Johnson & Johnson, CD Medical, and several other technology-based startup companies. He is a co-inventor on 13 patents and holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, and is a Registered Technology Transfer Professional. Karl, his wife Carolyn and their two children have been part of the Gainesville Community for over 15 years. His hobbies include talking around the world on “Ham Radio” and playing with Caesar, his 95-pound greyhound rescue. Erin Jaszczak joined the IPDC in July of 2018 as Program Manager.

In this capacity, Ms. Jaszczak coordinates the marketing, outreach, events, reporting, and Client and Partner Services for the program. “There is a lot of energy in our startup community and it’s exciting to be a part of the entrepreneur ecosystem,” she said. “The IPDC works with entrepreneurs who are so passionate about what they are doing and it’s a privilege to be on the path to commercialization with them.” Ms. Jaszczak’s diverse background includes more than 20 years in human resources, executive administration, management, and wellness. She is also an entrepreneur herself, owning and operating Where in the World Yoga & Wellness, LLC. Ms. Jaszczak received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Florida and is currently working toward a Master of Arts degree at the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability.


Success Stories in 2019

Lendio North Florida and Santa Fe IPDC’s CrowdPitch Competition
Even Lendio North Florida and Santa Fe IPDC’s CrowdPitch competition can best be described as Shark Tank meets business lending. Three companies pitched their operating business and growth plan to a panel of six business and lending experts. Panelists asked hard questions providing actionable feedback for founders to improve their business and fundability. Over 150 people attended the event and voted for the best pitch. The winner took home the grand prize.


Startup Pitch Day
This event was not a competition like Crowd Pitch. It was a real pitch event where company CEOs had the opportunity to get funding from local, regional, and national investors. IPDC companies went through intense preparation. Companies qualified to pitch have to present their business to investors following a format carefully researched and thought through to cover all the important elements of a business—from the strategic idea to financials. Companies were fully rehearsed and ready to deliver their pitch within only eight minutes. Some investors attended the pitch in-person while others joined the event online through ZOOM. Even though the event was closed to the public, the significance of it affected many companies in Gainesville. Santa Fe IPDC provides opportunities for funding to product developing companies as one of their many services.


The Future for 2020 & Beyond

Exceptional Training
Product development sessions and workshops with practical ideas to keep your company ahead of the competition.

Exceptional Speakers
Continue to bring Insights from leading experts and speakers on entrepreneurship and global markets.


Continued Learning
“Just in Time” access to speaker presentation slides and recordings, for your company to reference and use in your product development, marketing, and business initiatives, year-round.

We will continue to expand and enable connections with entrepreneurs, investors, seasoned marketers, strategists, designers, and more! Meet your customers, vendors, expert resources, friends, and colleagues of tomorrow.


Provide exciting new resources that are easy to find and afford to help you stay connected to the office, meetings, and clients.

Hold events where the CEO can leverage IPDC resources for their entire team. Take advantage of great discounts and onsite benefits for group brainstorming and strategy sessions.


Divide and Conquer

Enhance your experience with exclusive meet & greets, onsite giveaways, networking, parties, and receptions … and much more.

Who Attends?
IPDC Event partners and attendees are the movers and shakers influencing the growth and success of their company’s product development, marketing, and sales strategies who are the future of the entrepreneurial economy. They come from a wide variety of companies and organizations including national brands, IPDC Partners, agencies, service providers, technology pioneers, B2B providers, associations & nonprofits, startups, and much more.


Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems