January 04, 2017

Combining two chapters, the South Florida Founder Institute launches; first two info sessions planned

The Founder Institute, a global idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program, announced that South Miami Founder Institute and Fort Lauderdale- Boca Raton Founder Institute chapters will merge to form the new South Florida Founder Institute.

The first South Florida Founder Institute program will begin in April of 2017, and applications are open now to anyone interested in launching a technology company at http://fi.co/apply/south_florida.

“We have seen great results from running South Miami and Fort Lauderdale independently, because the greater Miami region is one of the fastest growing startup hubs in the U.S.,” says Adeo Ressi, founder & CEO of the Founder Institute. “However, combining the amazing talent and mentor pools from across these two chapters gives us an opportunity to really push things forward and help build a wide range of new companies under one program umbrella.”

The South Florida Founder Institute will host a series of free startup events for the general public starting in January 2017 with:

*Tuesday, Jan, 12 “How to Start a Startup in South Florida” @ Venture Cafe Miami

*Thursday,  Jan. 24 “Founder Institute Graduate Showcase” @ BUILDING Miami

In the new South Florida chapter, program participants will be able to leverage the experience and mentorship of over 70 of the region’s top entrepreneurs, including;

*Randy Wood, co-founder of Citrix, one of the largest technology companies that has originated in South Florida. Randy is also an active angel investor through New World Angels.

*Sergey Petrossov, founder and CEO at JetSmarter, an organization that is reshaping history by changing the way people fly by making the private air travel industry accessible to the entire World.

*Felipe Sommer, co-founder and CEO at NearPod, a mobile platform that empowers educators to create learning experiences that engage and inspire millions of students around the world.

*Juan Pablo Cappello, co-founder at Private Advising Group and Board member at AGP Miami, one of the most significant Angel Investing organizations in the region.

*Michael O’Donnell, CEO at StartupBiz.com. Michael is a highly experienced venture-backed entrepreneur, angel/VC investor, business buyer and business seller, who advises entrepreneurs and investors on starting, buying or selling a business.

*Leonel Azuela, founder and managing partner at Quaxar, a premier provider of Community & Loyalty solutions.

*Marshall Swatt, founder and advisor at ATS Inc, a proprietary algorithmic trading system focused on trading strategies in exotic financial instruments (including digital currencies) currently licensed exclusively to a private fund.

And many more (http://fi.co/mentors/south_florida)

Leading the Founder Institute’s efforts in South Florida are Mark Volchek, a successful entrepreneur that built a project from three founders on a college campus into a public company listed on NYSE; Rodolfo Novarini, a seasoned entrepreneur and intrapreneur with over 15 years of experience creating and growing billion-dollar businesses; and Michel Triana, a tech entrepreneur, investor and founder of Ninut, Cine en Casa and Intelerit.

The Founder Institute is a part-time startup launch program that provides aspiring and early-stage founders with the challenging step-by-step curriculum, mentor support, and global network of entrepreneurs needed to start an enduring company. Over 2000 companies have graduated from the program (http://fi.co/companies), and promising startups that have already graduated from the Miami and Fort Lauderdale programs include:

*Carlos Romero and Juan Romero, founders of Livi (http://liviapp.co). Livi is a fast-growing “Live Stream by Request” mobile app.

*Susan Perry, founder of SpeechMED (http://www.speechmed.com/). SpeechMED is growing really fast and delivering on its focus on creating technology that battles a lack of health literacy by allowing patients to hear their information in the language that they understand.

*Matt Hall, founder of Dronelancer (http://dronelancer.io). Dronelancer is a marketplace to connect licensed drone owners with businesses looking for aerial photos and videos.

*Scott Greenhouse, founder of GameFace ( http://www.getnasty.com/). GameFace has just launched its product line of Natural ingredient based, multi-functional body care designed for athletes, which is delivered to your door every two months.

*Melanie Berguero, founder of Oneness (http://www.onenesscleanup.co/). Oneness is a solution for cities and marinas to meet their sustainability goals for water clean-up, has recently demonstrated its proprietary green boats at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show with tremendous success.

*Michelle Bazargan and Stefanie Gross, founders of VIA HALO (http://viahalo.com). VIA HALO  brings  today's  health  and  wellness  consumers  together  with  a  trusted,  accredited  network  of  proactive  providers. 

*David Karim, founder of ResolveBid (http://resolvebid.com). ResolveBid is a marketplace that allows companies and community associations to find service professionals and submit bids.

*Timothy Hamilton, founder of Rentlit (http://rentlit.com). Rentlit is a retail property management software that helps investors self-manage their residential rental properties.

*Carlos Ferra, founder of ThankStation (http://thankstation.com). ThankStation offers customer appreciation solutions to let small businesses better engage with their customers and increase happiness and retention in a cost-effective way.

*Camilo Silva and Jose Aliaga, founders of Voice Your Voice (http://voiceyourvoice.co). Voice Your Voice aims to encourage the public to actively engage in politics and democracy by addressing issues that impact them through a mobile platform.

Learn more about the Founder Institute at http://fi.co.

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Graduating class of Fort Lauderdale chapter in November, 2016.

-Submitted by Founder Institute

 

 

December 27, 2016

SBA expands microloan program in Florida

Money

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The South Florida District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the agency’s Microloan Program is now available to qualifying small businesses throughout the state.

The expansion comes because the lending territory of a previously approved firm, Black Business Investment Fund of Central Florida (BBIF), was increased. Prior to obtaining statewide micro lending status, BBIF previously provided microloans mainly through the North Florida District.

SBA’s Microloan Program, which is focused on startups, minority and other underserved markets, provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers start up and expand. Microloans play an important role in distressed communities where access to conventional lending remains a challenge. The average microloan size is approximately $13,000. More information about the microloan program can be found at http://www.sba.gov/microloans/.

“Due to successful performances in BBIF’s portfolio, the SBA has granted their firm the ability to lend through the entire state of Florida, which is a win-win for businesses and consumers alike,” said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “This access opens the doors to business ownership by making loans accessible to a broader segment of our population who might not traditionally qualify for a bank loan. We look forward to working with them in their expanded capacity to assist Florida’s small businesses.” 

Headquartered in Orlando, BBIF is Florida’s largest statewide small business lender that specializes in providing capital for African-American and minority businesses.

December 12, 2016

Uber, Ironhack team up to offer coding bootcamp scholarships to Uber drivers, riders

Ironhackclass

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

South Florida Uber drivers and riders can apply for scholarships to learn to code, thanks to a partnership announced Monday between ride-hailing giant Uber and Ironhack, one of Miami’s leading coding bootcamps.

The partners will offer $100,000 in scholarships to acquire professional skills in coding and design. Two winners will be awarded full scholarships to take one of Ironhack’s bootcamps in 2017, and 50 partial scholarships will be awarded to additional winners.

“Uber’s roots will always be in building world-class technology, and this scholarship will help fuel South Florida’s growing tech ecosystem and startup scene – while making invaluable learning opportunities accessible to even more people looking to launch careers in tech," said Uber South Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani.

It’s the first time Uber has offered coding scholarships in its markets, however it has sponsored UberPitch events in Miami and other cities that match entrepreneurs with investors, a spokesman said.

Ironhack is located in downtown Brickell at Building.co, a shared workspace for growing tech companies and startups. The school, which opened in Miami two years ago, also has campuses in Madrid and Barcelona.

To apply for the Uber/Ironhack scholarships, Uber riders and driver-partners in South Florida should check their rider or driver app before Dec. 21 and click the posted link to apply to one of Ironhack’s three courses (make sure you have the latest version of the Uber app installed). Scholarship applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 21.

Selected finalists will be contacted for second-round interviews, and winners will have six months to redeem their scholarships at Ironhack.

“Uber is making an incredible opportunity available to deserving students in South Florida who wish to become the next generation of digital creators,” said Ironhack Co-founder Ariel Quiñones, who runs the school in South Florida. “Miami has immense entrepreneurial energy, and there are massive opportunities for people who want to learn how to build and design the products and tools that will improve our lives.”

Interested Uber driver-partners and riders can also apply for the scholarship at Ironhack’s free open house on Dec. 18 at noon at Ironhack’s campus at 120 SW Eighth St. in Miami. To attend, RSVP here. For more information about the event or Uber’s scholarship, contact Ironhack at (305) 907-7086.

In Miami, Ironhack offers five nine-week nine-week bootcamps a year in Web Development and another five full-time UX/UI Design, Quiñones said. This year it began offering part-time courses held over six months to accommodate students with jobs. The goal of all the programs is to gain the skills needed to land an entry-level job in the industry. Bootcamps, capped at 20 students, cost $11,000 in 2017. Ironhack says it has an 83 percent job placement rate for its students within three months of graduation and was ranked Miami’s No. 1 student-rated coding and design bootcamp by national rating site Course Report. For more information, go to Ironhack.com.

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Building.co, Ironhack will be hosting its two-year anniversary party and Hackshow, a demo day for students in its most recent Web Development and UX/UI Design cohorts. RSVP here.

November 30, 2016

EDC launches “Inside the Investors Head” series with Miami DDA

EDCRob Strandberg intro Steve O'Hara

 

By Deborah Johnson

Enterprise Development Corporation launched a new series of investor/startup events meant to provide entrepreneurs valuable funding insights.  The series combines one-on-one investor/startup introductions with a reception for a broader audience of entrepreneurs.    The objective of these “capital Introductions” is to both help startups acquaint themselves with active Florida and non-Florida early stage investors and help investors identify South Florida’s best emerging investor-ready companies. 

The series launch event featured New World Angels (NWA) and their new president, Steve O’Hara.  Mr. O’Hara met in the afternoon with five NWA selected companies from a growing event database of over 30 companies.   Each company received feedback on their presentation, an initial interest level and specific advice in applying for formal consideration by NWA. 

The five companies selected were:  Recordgram – a mobile music and video recording studio that allow for instant song collaboration; BBConnect – a cloud based reservation and marketing solution for the $3B B&B industry; Cargo42 – an on-demand marketplace for local trucking scheduling; YouCloud – a digital coach for team effectiveness; and Magneceutical Health – Magnetic Resonance Therapy addressing chronic stress and related conditions. 

These 1 on 1s were followed by an evening reception where Mr. O’Hara shared with the audience general funding guidance for entrepreneurs as well as specific insights into NWA’s selection and funding process. 

Future events in this series will be ongoing throughout 2017, with the January investor announced soon so please check www.enterbusiness.org for updates.

For entrepreneurs wishing to participate in future events, please submit an executive summary and investor slide deck to team@edc-tech.org

November 21, 2016

Wyncode outgrows The LAB, will open its own campus Jan.8

Wyncodefounders

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Wyncode Academy, a homegrown coding bootcamp that teaches computer programming in 10 weeks, is outgrowing The LAB Miami, where it has been based, and is moving into its own stand-alone code school campus on Jan. 8. But staying true to its name and roots, the company is staying in Wynwood.

"We have loved being at The LAB and it is always going to be a special place for us. That said, we are ready to double down on Miami and move into our own dedicated campus," said Juha Mikkola, who founded the code school with his wife, Johanna (both pictured above) in Miami in 2014.

Along with the expansion, Wyncode also announced it will also be launching its first part-time course for those who want to learn how to code without leaving their jobs and offering more corporate training.

Wyncode’s new custom-designed campus, called Wynbase, is located at 549 NW 28th St. and at 3,100 square feet is more than four times larger than its dedicated space at The LAB. Wynbase, when it opens Jan. 8, will include two full-size classrooms, a smaller classroom for corporate training programs and an open concept co-working area for Wyncode students and staff, Mikkola said.

Wyncode’s intensive, immersive full-time web development course will now start every five weeks and provide prospective Wyncoders with more flexibility in terms of start dates. More importantly, this new format provides students with the opportunity to repeat the first 5-week section if they need extra time to work on their fundamentals, said Juha Mikkola. There are benefits of culture too: The more experienced students can inspire and help the newer class, he said.

Wyncode’s part-time web development course will meet three evenings a week for 12 weeks and offer career-oriented students the option to keep their day jobs while learning to build web applications at night. More information on the new program, which will start in February, is available here. Both the full-time and part-time classes will be capped at 30 students.  

Wyncode will also follow on its first successful corporate workshop with Visa and build more corporate training programs for Miami companies looking to adopt Agile methodologies and innovate their processes through automation and other technologies. 

"This is a move to centralize and strengthen the overall experience and quality at Wyncode," said Juha Mikkola. Wyncode will be consolidating its bootcamps at Wynbase but will continue to do Wyntroductions (one-day bootcamps) and other events in Fort Lauderdale, where it has held cohorts.

Wyncode Academy, now with 13 full-time and 18 part-time employees, was the first bricks and mortar coding school to be licensed by the Florida Department of Education. About 350 people have completed the programs with a 97 percent job placement rate. Over 100 companies have hired Wyncoders, who come from a variety of careers such as  chefs, lawyers, salespeople, accountants, concierges, marketing executives and entrepreneurs.  Applications for the programs are accepted on a rolling basis and interested candidates should apply at wyncode.co.

“We’re incredibly excited to launch Wynbase and provide the best possible learning environment for our students,”  said Johanna Mikkola. She and Juha were chosen as Endeavor Entrepreneurs in 2015. "We believe the future for Miami tech is bright and we can’t wait to welcome the entire tech community to Wynbase in 2017.”

Read more: Following up on White House pledge, Wyncode releases its graduation, placement rates

Read more: Learn to code in 10 weeks? Try one day.

Wyncodeclass

A Wyncode class, above, and a Pitch Night, which ends each bootcamp, below.

Wyncodepitch

November 10, 2016

Latin American and Caribbean entrepreneurs complete Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative in Miami

Globalties

The 14 YLAI fellows with Mark Sanna and Lillian Roberts of EO (Entrepreneurs' Organization) South Florida.

 

By Maria de los Angeles

On Friday, November 4, young entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean pitched their business plans to a panel of local judges at Florida International University’s Brickell campus. The pitch session was the final event in the month-long Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), a fellowship program initiated by President Obama and funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program matched 250 emerging social and business leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean with local mentors in 21 city hubs across the U.S.; 14 of them did their residency in Miami with the help of Global Ties Miami, a non-profit that has been facilitating citizen diplomacy through cultural, educational and professional exchange tours since the 1950s.

YLAI set out to establish networks between young leaders and business mentors across the hemisphere. While in Miami, the fellows worked with their mentors for take-aways they could apply to their existing startup ventures back home.

The mentors and hosts were as diverse as Miami’s international business community. Fellows ranged from a cacao farmer in Belize to an Augmented Reality app developer from Trinidad and Tobago, to an environmentally conscious shoe manufacturer from Peru and a bespoke seamstress from Costa Rica, among others.

Some of the hosts were themselves Miami startups that have moved beyond the alpha phase: a biscuit manufacturer from Guyana worked with Lemon City Tea; the owner of a brand management company in Paraguay received mentorship from The New Tropic; and an e-commerce businessman from Nicaragua learned about tech business models from Tesser Health.

All of the fellows have founded businesses that are poised for next-level growth. They came to the U.S. to learn best practices from their mentors and to explore ways of developing their homegrown ideas within an international network.

“We were thrilled to host this group of inspiring young entrepreneurs in Miami,” said Emilie Baird, Director of Programs for Global Ties Miami. “The YLAI program contributed to deeper community connections and collaborations, both internationally and locally.

Nomad Tribe Shop and Lemon City Tea, who were both hosts and have since partnered, or the partnership that has developed between David Medina, founder of Qubo (Queer Bogotá, a non-profit that works to build self-esteem in the LGBT community through sports) and his host organization, the World Out Games, a major olympics-like event that will be coming to Miami in 2017.”

During the pitch session on November 4, each fellow had four minutes to present their business models to a panel of judges for the opportunity to compete in a national competition in Washington, D.C. with other fellows chosen from the 21 host cities. The final winner is set to win a cash prize to use for business development at home.

The judges included Carlos A. Huerta, President and Founder of PLC International, Emma Wing, Business Advisor ITMS Group, a company she co-founded with her husband, Robert Wing, and Christopher McKenney, media entrepreneur and CEO of Mango Media.

The third place winner, Guillermo Jimenez worked with mentor Humberto Lee of Tesser Health and is the founder of Eleganza Boutique, an e-commerce platform in Nicaragua. E-commerce giants E Bay and Amazon don’t sell products in the country of six million where most people are wary of online shopping -- only 20% are active, according to Jimenez. The entrepreneur seeks to build trust and to “become the Amazon for Central America.” He currently sells imported merchandise via the Facebook marketplace but the business will grow with a proprietary website.

Second place went to Bahamian entrepreneur Ashleigh Rolle, who saw room for improvement in travel options to connect the 700 islands that make up the nation. “It’s Uber for boat travel,” she said as she explained Skipper, an online platform that connects local commuters and travelers to boat captains operating in the Bahamas. Rolle’s mentor was Nicholas Scherb of 26 North Yachts, a brokerage based in Fort Lauderdale.

Kadeem Pet-Grave of Jamaica won first place for Educatours JA, a company that plans and executes gamified tours and team building activities for schools. “Learning shouldn’t be boring,” said Pet-Grave as he explained how schools can request customized mobile technology gamification for field trips featuring fun activities such as treasure hunts with score keeping and prizes. Pet-Grave’s mentors were Charles Kropke and Alison Klapper-León of Coral Gables-based tour company Dragonfly Expeditions.

The current YLAI program will continue into Spring of 2017, when some of the mentors will travel to their fellows’ countries for continued professional learning exchanges.

Maria de los Angeles is an independent journalist who writes for Global Ties Miami.

Globalties2

Nicaragua fellow Guillermo Jimenez working with host mentor Humberto Alexander Lee of Tesser Health.

October 19, 2016

JPMorgan Chase grants aim to expand micro-lending in South Florida

JPMorgan Chase is more than doubling the size of its global Small Business Forward program by committing $75 million over the next three years to support women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses, including through programs that connect small business owners with alternative funding sources when they are unable to qualify for traditional loans.

In South Florida, a $250,000 two-year grant to Accion will help increase the lending organization’s capacity to serve more micro- and small-business owners, launch its Community Advantage loan program, and expand operations to include Broward County. Accion provides loans up to $50,000 and offers free financial education to small businesses.

JPMorgan Chase also will be supporting Grameen America with a two-year $500,000 as it expands to Miami-Dade County. Grameen’s pioneering microlending program will provide small loans to Hispanic women to help them build businesses, achieve higher family incomes and develop entrepreneurial skills.

Small businesses are growing fastest among people of color, particularly Latinas and African American women, yet Brookings Institution research shows minority-owned businesses rely significantly more on investments of personal or family wealth than on outside debt or equity. Moreover, only 16 percent of conventional small-business loans go to women entrepreneurs, a U.S. Senate report found, and despite the higher startup rate for African-American owned businesses, these businesses received less than two percent of SBA loans in 2013.

Launched in 2014, Small Business Forward is a global initiative to support small businesses with the potential to grow, offer quality employment, and generate financial security and economic opportunity for vulnerable populations and their communities by connecting capital with highly targeted technical assistance and support networks to help small businesses grow sustainably.

October 16, 2016

Building entrepreneurs: Where Endeavor sees progress in year 3

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

High-growth companies are “believed to create nearly all net new jobs,” although they make up a minority of companies in the U.S., according to a 2011 study for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

Developing a strong support system for helping increase sales at already-growing small businesses with proven business models can do more for economic development than promoting startups or luring large corporations with tax breaks, a recent Bloomberg Business article noted. Yet in Miami this year, the metropolitan area ranked No. 2 in the nation among major metro areas for small-business creation but second from last (no. 39) for growth, analyses by the Kauffman Foundation found.

Endeavor Miami, a nonprofit organization that selects, supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs, aims to help grow the Miami economy by giving companies that already have traction a chance to secure a foothold and expand, Endeavor Miami Managing Director Laura Maydón said. To do that, it selects high-potential companies to support from a diverse cross-section of industries — including food/beverage, tech and healthcare — and in time, those entrepreneurs are expected to help other companies scale up. “These high-growth companies can add proportionally more jobs and wealth to our economy,” she said. 

Endeavor posted a new report this week marking progress, as well as challenges ahead, in its mission. Find it on here on EndeavorMiami.org. Here are a few highlights:

* Food and beverage has been among the most active entrepreneurial sectors, with a number of new companies gaining traction, many of them focused on healthier eating and convenient delivery. Four of Endeavor’s 15 companies are in this vertical and more are in the pipeline. Ginnybakes, for instance, launched a hospitality unit that focuses on putting its “mindfully indulgent” organic cookies and bars into hotel minibars. My Ceviche, already with a fast-casual chain, launched Zuuk, a healthy, fast-casual Mediterranean-style eatery in Brickell and at Miami International Airport. FastCasual.com, a media site for the $23.5 billion fast-casual restaurant industry segment, ranked the newest Endeavor Entrepreneur, Pincho Factory, at No. 11 in the Fast Casual Top 100 this year. DeliverLean, a fast-growing healthy-meal delivery service, employs 118, according to the report. 

[Read more: How millennial trends shape a new generation of food startups]

 * Young technology and healthcare companies are also making strides. EveryMundo, which provides airlines with proprietary technology and strategies, has commercialized two additional software solutions and signed deals with two of the top five airlines. It’s one of the eight Endeavor companies in the software, tech and IT area. In healthcare and medtech, seen as one of five key areas for entrepreneurial growth and potential global impact because of its hospital and university network already in place and its proximity to Latin America’s emerging markets. Already, three of the top 10 private employers in Miami are healthcare providers, according to the Beacon Council. In its buy-one-give-one social impact program, FIGS, a company modernizing medical apparel, has donated more than 90,000 sets of scrubs to medical professionals in Latin American, Caribbean and other emerging markets (co-founder Trina Spear is pictured above).

 * Some of Endeavor’s entrepreneurs are innovating the future of work itself. Encompass Onsite, which provides housekeeping, engineering maintenance and facilities management services, is mapping a step-by-step career path for every employee that even includes placing employees in opportunities in its partner network if they outgrow the company’s available opportunities. “We have a very deliberate and formalized way to provide our team members with new sets of skills within their chosen areas of expertise. Salaries inevitably increase as team members progress in this journey,” said CEO Marcell Haywood, who credits Endeavor with giving him a valuable advisory board. Meanwhile, Yandiki’s technology has empowered women around the world by providing them with access to work that allows for location and schedule flexibility. For instance, it partnered with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to allow more than 250,000 previously unemployed women to join the workforce working from home through an online employment program. In Saudi Arabia, many women were unable to work in gender-mixed environments. 

[Read more: It’s not all tech – five industries with strong growth potential

Endeavor Miami launched in 2013 with funding from the Knight Foundation and Endeavor Miami’s local board; Endeavor Miami was the global nonprofit’s first U.S. program. In the past three years, Endeavor has screened 265 companies, including 45 so far this year. Through an extensive selection process that culminated in judging by international selection panels, 24 entrepreneurs from 15 companies are now Endeavor Entrepreneurs, joining the global network of more than 1,300 entrepreneurs in 25 countries.

Together, these 15 companies have generated more than $100 million in revenue, up 55 percent since 2013 levels, and more than 1,500 jobs, up 70 percent, the report said. Fifty-seven mentors have donated 1,114 hours since 2013, and 20 of them sit on Endeavor Miami Entrepreneurs’ advisory boards. In addition to receiving mentorship and introductions, Endeavor companies have participated in or have been supported by programs such as EY’s Growth Navigator, Bain & Company’s “Externship” program, Harvard and Stanford business schools, and Kellogg’s executive MBA program. Maydón hopes to get more local companies involved in the next year.

Endeavor Miami banks on the multiplier effect: High-growth companies not only generate jobs, but their founders become role models and leaders in the entrepreneurship community, inspiring and mentoring future generations to think big and pursue high-growth entrepreneurship in the Miami area.

“We need to take a pause and acknowledge we’ve made progress, but there is still so much to do. This is a long-term play,” Maydón said. It’s also a team effort: “The sooner more stakeholders come together to support companies that are growing, the better position we will be in. Everyone has a place in this ecosystem.”

ENDEAVOR MIAMI

Find out more about Endeavor Miami and nominate a deserving entrepreneur for the program atEndeavorMiami.orgFind the report here.

COMING UP: ENDEAVOR GALA

Endeavor Miami is holding a gala on Saturday evening at Soho Studios in Wynwood, and all proceeds go to furthering the organization’s mission. Honored with the “Impact Award” will be Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties. Find out more and buy tickets at EndeavorMiami.org.

 

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

 

 

September 28, 2016

Carlton Fields provides free legal resources to Florida tech entrepreneurs

Florida-based law firm Carlton Fields has unveiled LaunchtoThrive.com, a microsite that provides legal documents, resources, and free counsel to entrepreneurs in the technology industry.

The aim is to help startups in regional tech-growth markets – including Miami, Tampa and Orlando – master multiple business challenges by providing startup-specific legal services and support at no cost. The site has launched in English and Spanish to ensure that Hispanic entrepreneurs are provided with resources catered to their needs.

“LaunchtoThrive.com expands on Carlton Fields’ longstanding commitment to entrepreneurs in Florida and across the nation. It allows our lawyers to form new relationships and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses from the ground up,” said Joe Swanson, an attorney in the firm’s Tampa office. “Local institutions, such as the University of South Florida and the Tampa Innovation Alliance, provide further, invaluable support to our relationships with these pioneers at a time when Tampa is undergoing a startup boom.”

Carlton Fields’ commitment to local entrepreneurs has led to multiple partnerships throughout Florida.

“The Spanish language component of LaunchtoThrive.com is essential in that it allows us to reach out to a population of entrepreneurs that has been underserviced nationwide, and that is essential to Florida’s future economic growth,” said Swanson.

Hispanics are indeed at the forefront of creating businesses across sectors. A 2015 report by Geoscape and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce revealed that Hispanics are the most likely to become entrepreneurs; in fact, the number of Hispanic owned businesses was projected to increase to more than 4.07 million in 2015, a 57 percent increase since 2007.

Free legal resources become especially crucial in light of recent data showing that less than half of all startups reach the five-year anniversary of their founding. Furthermore, legal issues are frequently cited as an impediment to success; the cost of top-notch lawyers often discourages startups from even seeking counsel – a problem Carlton Fields intends to solve.

LaunchtoThrive.com features easy-to-access links and downloads of documents such as bylaws, articles of organization and incorporation, trademark assignment and license forms, nondisclosure and employment agreements, and much more. A ‘Recent Resources’ queue includes expert articles and interviews on time management, wage and hour laws, considerations for going public, and data security preparedness, among other topics.

“We’re partnering with diverse entrepreneurs to support the comprehensive business strategies of Florida’s emerging companies,” said Jack Clabby, a shareholder in Carlton Fields’ Tampa office, who has worked with startups and other growing businesses throughout Florida.

“There’s an adventuresome spirit in Florida right now, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” added Gary Sasso, Carlton Fields’ President and CEO.

Visit LaunchtoThrive.com to learn more. Connect with us on Twitter @LaunchtoThrive.

- Submitted by Carlton Fields

September 23, 2016

For small businesses stung by Zika, here's help

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Small businesses who suffered business losses due to being in the Wynwood “Zika zone” may be eligible for a loan program.

Miami Bayside Foundation, an economic development nonprofit, will be extending loans of up to $20,000 to minority- and woman-owned businesses in the city of Miami that can demonstrate their business has been adversely affected by the Zika vrus.

The new Zika Emergency Assistance Loan Program, or ZEAL, part of the Miami Bayside Foundation’s micro-loan program, is designed to specifically provide assistance with payroll expenses in order to ensure job retention in what was previously designated “Zika Zone.” The loans are for two years at 6 percent and the only fees are $100 for pulling credit and closing costs, said Kathleen Murphy, the foundation’s executive director.

The Zika zone designation was lifted by Gov. Rick Scott on Monday, but businesses are still feeling the impact, said Murphy. "We know local small businesses are struggling to recover until the season kicks in and our number one priority is to help them stay open and ensure they are able to pay their employees."

For more information on loan criteria and to apply, visit www.miamibaysidefoundation.org.