But there he was recently, in the fashion capital of the world, testing clothing materials and meeting with businesses that might be future partners for his team’s renewable clothing company.
The path to Milan started at the University of Central Florida. On Wednesday, Mincey was back on his old stomping grounds, at UCF Startup Fest.
This time, however, he had some success under his belt.
“We all start at different times but everybody is the same and goes through similar paths,” he said. “We wouldn’t be at this point without the people we met here.”
The festival brought together several businesses with resource providers, school-run organizations and others interested in the startup community.
The chance for entrepreneurs to meet with like-minded people creates a symbiotic learning environment.
That’s exactly the point behind events like the Startup Fest, LaunchPad Executive Director Cameron Ford said.
“They can meet other students who, perhaps, have already been through it and can help them understand what’s possible,” he said.
The event also introduced those who attended to several Orlando-based organizations that support or promote Orlando’s tech scene.
Lined up along the walls were representatives from groups like Starter Studio, Orlandopreneur and Startup Weekend.
It offered these organizations a chance to not only build their membership groups but also impart wisdom as experienced entrepreneurs.
“The number one thing is persistence,” said Rajiv Menon, an Orlando entrepreneur who was at the event representing the upcoming Startup Weekend. “Even if you have innovative technology to deal with a problem, you’ll still have a situation where you take a punch in the face.”
He said a soft landing into the Orlando tech community is a benefit of the festival, too.
“It’s great that they are getting that exposure in a sandbox,” he said.
Samara Taxil’s jewelry business Lorzeus has been a work in progress.
However, by working through UCF’s program and attending the festival, her confidence in the enterprise grew.
“It really finalized what I wanted to do,” said Taxil, whose company recently launched. “It drove me to have more passion because I can talk about the business with more confidence.”
As he met with students who were building their businesses, Mincey recalled how he faced some of the same obstacles they had been facing.
“We were in the same position that some of these students are in right now,” Mincey said. “It’s sometimes hard to appreciate where you come from but it does come full circle.”
The Startup Fest can help students see what they could never learn in a classroom, Ford said.
“I want students to understand the resources that are available in the community and on campus to support entrepreneurial education to serve their aspirations,” he said. “Startups have that purity.”