Four South Florida “foodpreneurs” were selected Friday to join the Endeavor network.
Scott Harris of DeliverLean, a fast-growing delivery service for healthy gourmet meals, and Ginny, Steve and Mike Simon of ginnybakes, maker of organic, gluten-free cookies and other treats, were selected after an intense three-day vetting process during Endeavor’s 55th International Selection Panel in Isanbul, Turkey. Entrepreneurs representing 23 companies in 13 countries were selected at this panel.
The entrepreneurs also join My Ceviche restaurant group, and technology companies KidoZen, Leapfactor and LearnerNation, all South Florida companies selected this year as Endeavor Entrepreneurs. The global nonprofit Endeavor selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs around the world
“DeliverLean and ginnybakes are exemplary entrepreneurs that with their passion and the support of Endeavor Miami will have an impact in our city as we help them accelerate their growth,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami, speaking from Instanbul.
Endeavor’s International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous selection process, where panels composed of top business leaders interview candidates about their businesses, high-impact leadership potential, and timing. In order for an entrepreneur to be selected, he or she must receive a unanimous vote. Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive targeted services including mentorship and access to capital, markets and talent.
DeliverLean launched in 2011 with a menu of caloricly balanced meals delivered to consumers’ homes and businesses, and has been vastly expanding its offerings. It recently opened the OnJuice BAR in Aventura, the first of several retail juice bar locations to be rolled out in South Florida. the company also launched DL Snacks, a line of raw, vegan dehydrated snacks, and expanded into the grab-and-go market, starting with salads and snacks at Juan Valdez Cafes in downtown Miami.
Next month, DeliverLean plans to launch DL revAMP, what it says is the first organic five-day plant-based food detox program on the market. DeliverLean’s expansion into New York and other major markets is on the horizon. Headquartered in Oakland Park, the company has more than 120 employees.
“Endeavor provides access to an amazing group of board members,” said Harris, DeliverLean’s founder and CEO (pictured below with his chefs), from Istanbul. He said Endeavor has already helped him with strategy and business direction. “There’s no manual for business ... they give me advice based of hundreds of years of experience.”
Based in Miami, ginnybakes makes cookies, bars, baked mixes and other treats that are organic, gluten-free, kosher and vegan and sold locally in Publix, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and a long list of independent retailers and restaurants. But the company, founded in 2010, is also expanding into markets all over the United States. Its products will be available in the 180-store national chain called Sprouts, for instance, as well as H&B Markets in Texas and Fairway in the New York region. Three new flavors are coming soon. Also, ginnnybakes recently ranked as the No. 2 gluten-free cookie of natural organic chains globally, said Ginny Simon. With Endeavor’s help, perhaps it could soon be No. 1.
“Endeavor makes us bigger, stronger and better in every way and we have already felt the impact of their guidance,” said Ginny Simon, CEO, who runs the company with her husband, Steve, who is the president, and her son Michael, executive vice president (pictured below). In a phone interview from Turkey, she said with Endeavor’s help, ginnybakes made a key hire, its chief operating officer, and attracted an investor from Bain Capital and plans to assemble an extraordinary advisory board.
About the new Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Matt Haggman, Miami program director of the Knight Foundation said: “It’s absolutely thrilling. It illustrates the amazing entrepreneurs we have in Miami. It also shows the power of the Endeavor network at work,” noting the feedback and advice from panelists from around the world. “This marks a terrific first year of Endeavor Miami.”
Haggman and Alberto Chang Rajii, both on Endeavor’s board, also served as panelists at the selection panel, interviewing and helping to select entrepreneurs from around the world. Haggman and the Knight Foundation were instrumental in bringing Endeavor to Miami, the first U.S. location for the global nonprofit that is in 20 countries, and provided $2 million in funding. The last selection panel of the year will be held in Miami in December.
It wasn’t lost of any of them that food-related companies are getting noticed in South Florida. Three of the six Miami-area companies selected so far have been of the culinary flavor.
“It’s exciting,” said Harris. “Miami is becoming a hub for foodpreneurs.”
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Posted Oct. 24, 2014