Gulf County Project Venture Team Takes Top Spot in Statewide Competition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Gulf County High School High Tech (HSHT) program took home the state championship in the finals of the 2024 Project Venture entrepreneurship competition, held Tuesday, April 9 at the Marriott Jacksonville Downtown. To compete in Project Venture, HSHT students develop and execute a comprehensive business plan and 30-second video commercial for a mobile company, product, or service they would like to create.

Gulf County HSHT’s business concept, Teen Mobile, aims to meet the needs of primarily elderly technology users by connecting the right teen technician to arrive and assist each individual user. The Able Trust’s HSHT partner for Gulf County is CareerSource Florida Gulf Coast.

The Gulf County program was one of four HSHT teams to advance to the finals from a preliminary field of 24 entrants, the most in Project Venture history. The high number and quality of teams who submitted business plans resulted in four finalists being chosen rather than the usual three.

This year’s field of Project Venture entrants was highly competitive, and these four teams gave some of the best final presentations we’ve seen,” said The Able Trust President and CEO Allison Chase. “The students spoke confidently, knowledgably and thoughtfully about their business plans, and expertly fielded tough questions from our judges and audience members.”

Project Venture creates a forum for students with disabilities participating in the High School High Tech program to develop real-world skills, including working in groups, creating timelines, using written communications, problem solving, and developing presentation skills. During the second phase of the competition, the four final teams gave an in-person pitch of their project to a panel of five judges, each including a slide show, the commercial and a Q&A session with the judges and audience members.

Gulf County HSHT received a $1,000 prize for securing first place. The HSHT team representing Broward County North were state runners-up, while the teams representing Duval County West and Leon County finished in third and fourth place respectively.

Each of the finalists’ presentations were prepared with the support of an Executive Coach. Gulf County’s team met with professionals from Centennial Bank to fine-tune their delivery and audio-visual components of their business concept’s pitch, and to prepare to face questions from the panel of judges and audience members.

“The students clearly learned important skills through their participation in the competition and from the expertise of the four terrific Executive Coaches,” said Chase. “I am extremely proud of these talented, hardworking young people and look forward to hearing about their future successes.”

To view each of the top four team’s promotional commercial, visit To watch a recap of the 2024 Project Venture finals, learn more about the competition and other youth programs for disabilities, visit

Special thanks to Project Venture sponsors Pepin Family Foundation; Pitney Bowes; Centennial Bank; Duval Motor Company; Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance; HCA Florida Healthcare; Florida Blue; Monin; Greg Burchell of Morgan Stanley; Florida SBDC; ABLE United; Busy Bee; Macfarlane, Ferguson & McMullen; and PS27 Ventures.

About The Able Trust

The Able Trust was established by the Florida legislature in 1990 to support the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Able Trust has an almost 30-year history in supporting Florida’s youth with disabilities through High School High Tech, a comprehensive career and postsecondary exploration program for high school youth.

High School High Tech, Futures in Focus and the Project Venture competition are designed to help strengthen soft skills that are vital to the workforce, and increase the high school graduation rate and postsecondary enrollment of students with disabilities. To learn more about The Able Trust and other programs for youth with disabilities, visit and follow @AbleTrust on Twitter, Instagram, and @TheAbleTrust on Facebook and LinkedIn.