November 24, 2015

GEW Shark Tank-style at Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School


Submitted by Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School

The  MAV Tank, a business plan competition featuring student business plans and celebrity judges, highlighted Global Entrepreneurship Week  at Archbishop Edward A McCarthy High School last week.

The third annual MAV TANK featured four entrepreneurial student teams who created companies for the annual competition.  FIND Me, an innovative way to find a wallet was presented by Tommy Rodriguez, Rhett O’Donnell and Andy Rodriguez; BEBECOEUR a crib sheet with an alarm to help prevent sudden infant death was presented by  Neilah Richadson, Vincente Giordano and Christina Martinez-Mercado; STOPIT, a magnetized multiuse door stopper, was presented by Daniel Imbriaco, Nick Henning, Adam deArmas and Andrew Infante; and EXERO, the ideal way to incentivize a fitness program, presented by Josh Samarista/Miramar and Osmar Coronel/Weston. 

The first-place winner of this year’s MAV Tank was STOPIT (pictured above) and  received $500.

“At its core, MAV Tank is a platform for our students to fully develop their ideas and then put them into practice,” commented Kim Zocco, a teacher of Business Education at Archbishop McCarthy. “Our faculty fosters a culture of innovation which empowers and inspires our students to enter college and the world as change-makers.”  John Anfuso and Ashley Murphy, members of the MAV Tank teaching team, implement the business plan element into all the economics classes, in addition to the business entrepreneurship classes.

MAVSThis year’s Celebrity Judges were Tim Robbie, former owner of the Dolphin Stadium and the Miami Dolphins, President of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers Soccer Team; Bianca Moreiras, founder of Bianca Moreiras & Associates Consulting Firm, handles high level acquisitions and mergers, managed top level law firms for over 30 years; James Donnelly, founder of Castle Group, NOVA University’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame recipient; Chris Cerda, Maverick Alumni, CEO & Founder of KANYU, FAU Business Student, Entrepreneur.

Led by Zocco, the entrepreneurial spirit thrives year round at Archbishop McCarthy.  Students have competed and placed in the top ten ranking at the Wharton School of Business Finance Competition for High Schools  and support the Café Cocano project by selling organic heirloom coffee beans and iced café lattes at the school directly benefiting and empowering Haitian Coffee Farmers to earn a fair wage. 


November 23, 2015

Andres Cardona of FIU wins regional finals of Global Student Entrepreneur Awards


 Miami entrepreneur and college student Andres Cardona took home the big win at the regional finals for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards last week.  The regional finals for the contest, in which college students from 50 countries ultimately vie for a prize of more than $500,000 in cash and services, was sponsored by Entrepreneurs' Organization South Florida and hosted at the Idea Center at Miami Dade College.

Six finalists were chosen to participate in a live pitch competition Nov. 19 at MDC’s Idea Center, which also included a keynote speech by Peter Kellner, venture capitalist and co-founder of Endeavor Global. For winning, Cardona received $1,000 in cash and $20,000 in services such as web, accounting and marketing from EO South Florida professionals.  Cardona will now go on to compete against 25 student entrepreneurs at the GSEA national finals in the spring, which will also be hosted at the Idea Center, and a $10,000 cash prize. The winner of the national competition will go on to complete in the global finals in Bangkok Thailand in May, with a $40,000 cash prize plus services.

Cardona, a  Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship alum and now a finance major at Florida International University, created the business plan for and began working on a youth basketball academy called Elite Basketball Academy ( while in high school because the student athlete was passionate about coaching young athletes and found a big need in the market. He's continued to grow the academy while a full-time college student,  and now the academy  has nearly 200 students/athletes. It's the largest of its kind in Miami, he said.

 “Our mission is to instill success principles in the youth of our community using the sport of basketball as a tool. We emphasize academic success, hard work, dedication, and a no-excuse mentality in order to achieve success. We focus on creating habits that will be everlasting and always present in the minds of our disciples,” said Cardona, who has also been honored by NFTE and Ernst & Young. Within three years, Cardona hopes to expand nationally, he said.

“This competition is special because the winners are not chosen solely on profit potential or the financial merits of their business plans, but largely based on their entrepreneurial journey,” said Mark Sanna, National GSEA Chairman, and EO-South Florida’s past president. “What challenges did these student entrepreneurs overcome, or what problem are they solving for others?  Compelling questions like these play a big role in the competition, and we know there are many great stories like this in South Florida.”

EO-South Florida is one of the world’s largest EO chapters, with  180 members whose businesses account for more than $1 billion in annual revenues and 30,000 jobs in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. EO-South Florida and the Idea Center, Miami Dade College's entrepreneurship hub, have partnered to support entrepreneurial innovation for MDC student entrepreneurs and other South Florida startup businesses.  To learn more about the GSEA competition or EO-SOFLO, visit

 Photo above is Andres Cardona presenting his business at the event and to the left is Mark Sanna of EO-SOFLO.


October 23, 2015

October 19, 2015

Entrepreneurs' Organization, Idea Center call for entries in global student competition

The South Florida chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO-SOFLO) and Miami Dade College’s Idea Center are calling for local entries in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), a competition in which college students from 50 countries vie for a total of more than $500,000 in combined prize money and services.

To be eligible: 

  • Entrants must be an undergraduate student currently enrolled at a recognized university or college.  The student must be the owner/controlling shareholder of the business and principally responsible for its operation.
  • The business must be structured 'for-profit' and have generated $500 or received $1,000 in investments by the time of application. The company must have been in business for at least six consecutive months.
  • The top six finalists from any previous year's GSEA global finals competition are not eligible.

The deadline to enter is October 29, 2015

Eight local finalists will be chosen to participate in a live competition Nov. 19 at MDC’s Idea Center.  The winner will be invited to compete against 25 student entrepreneurs at the GSEA national finals in February of 2016.

The national finalist will win $10,000 in cash and services, as well as the chance to earn the global grand prize worth $40,000 awarded at the conclusion of the competition in Bangkok, Thailand in May of 2016. 

“This competition is special because the winners are not chosen solely on profit potential or the financial merits of their business plans, but largely based on their entrepreneurial journey,” said Mark Sanna, National GSEA Chairman, and EO-SOFLO’s Past President. “What challenges did these student entrepreneurs overcome, or what problem are they solving for others?  Compelling questions like these play a big role in the competition, and we know there are many great stories like this in South Florida.  We want to hear and reward them.”

EO-SOFLO is one of the world’s largest EO chapters, with approximately 1800 members whose businesses account for more than $1 billion in annual revenues and 30,000 jobs in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

EO-SOFLO and the Idea Center have partnered to support entrepreneurial innovation for MDC student entrepreneurs and other South Florida startup businesses. “We are thrilled to be a part of this opportunity for our students to build their network, learn from their peers and innovative industry leaders at EO,” said Leandro Finol, Idea Center Executive Director. 

To enter the GSEA competition, visit

October 02, 2015

Young NFTE entrepreneurs pitch for $11,000 in prizes and support - and the winners were ....


Photo by Jasen Delgado/

About 100 supporters gathered last night at the Miami Dade College Idea Center for Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) LaunchED Challenge to cheer on four accomplished young entrepreneurs.  The “shark tank” styled event allowed the four students to pitch their businesses to a panel of entrepreneurs and executives for a chance to win a portion of $11,000 in seed capital to invest in their business.

These students were selected from 21 participants in Startup Summer, an intense eight-week teen business incubator organized by NFTE at the Idea Center for advanced high school entrepreneurs under support from the Citi Foundation.  Over the summer, each student received a laptop, $1,000 in seed capital, a $1,000 stipend and intense one-on-one mentoring and support to launch the business.

At last night’s event, the young entrepreneurs were judged on the viability of their business and progress achieved over the summer. The winner, Khareem Oliver (pictured above), is a 17-year old student from Coral Gables Senior High School. He was awarded $5,000 for his business Find or Found, an innovative approach to helping pet owners locate their lost pets through a special technology-enabled tag, linked to an app and a website.  Said Albert Santalo, founder of CareCloud who was one of the judges: “Khareem’s business stood apart because of its scalability and innovative approach. The market for pet products is enormous.”

The other finalists included Gabriel Martinez, who won $3,000 for his school supply vending machine business GAMV; Janeiya Henderson who won $1,500 with Pebbles Tutoring; and Justin Rivas who also won $1,500 for his basketball tournament company Top Level Athletics.

In addition to Santalo, judges included Natalia Martinez, founder of the Awesome Foundation in Miami; Luke Palacio, managing director for Southeast US - Citi Private Bank; and Wifredo Fernandez, director of CREATE Miami at Miami Dade College.

NFTE's mission is to provide entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low income communities.
See a short video recap the Launched event by NFTE alumus Valerie Chapman.

June 15, 2015

Attn. software engineers: New TEALS program at MAST Academy needs you

 Wifredo Fernandez has been working with a school board member, principal and dedicated parent to help bring a program called TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) to MAST Academy. Part of the project includes recruiting four software engineers from the community to help teach over the course of the year and is hoping for some leads.

Here is his post with more information:


Calling all software engineers of South Florida!

Have you ever wanted to teach high school computer science and help shape the next generation of programmers and teachers?

MAST Academy has been accepted into the TEALS program, a Microsoft-backed organization that is on a mission to bring computer science to every high school.

What is TEALS?

TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) is a grassroots program that recruits, trains, mentors, and places high tech professionals from across the country who are passionate about computer science education into high school classes as volunteer teachers in a team teaching model where the school district is unable to meet their students’ computer science (CS) needs on its own.

TEALS works with committed partner schools and classroom teachers to eventually hand off the CS courses to the classroom teachers. The school will then be able to maintain and grow a sustainable CS program on their own.

We are looking for 4 brave software engineers from the community to volunteer (with a modest stipend) their skills and brain to this effort for the first year. The commitment is 2 first period morning classes per week at MAST in Key Biscayne.

If you are interested, please fill out this brief form. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me directly at


May 12, 2015

South Florida entrepreneurs honored at White House


Young South Florida entrepreneurs were honored at or invited to the White House this week: Felipe Gomez del Campo V, a student entrepreneur at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland who went to high school at Cypress Bay High School in Weston; Vicente Fernandez, co-founder of Miami-based Sportsmanias, and Felice Gorodo, CEO of Clearpath.

Also representing the 305 at the White House's #StartTheSpark event, Gorodo said: Melissa Medina of eMerge Americas and Tony Jimenez of Richmond Global. Both took part in an investor segment. 

Felipe Gomez del Campo (pictured above)  began his work for a science fair project at Cypress Bay. The founder of FGC Plasma Solutions is one of five entrepreneurs President Barack Obama recognized at a White House event yesterday to highlight the importance of investing in women and young entrepreneurs. Gomez del Campo’s application was selected from among the many business startups that had been assisted by a U.S. government initiative.  The other four were from Virginia, Colombia, Nigeria and Lebanon.

Since his science fair days, Gomez del Campo turned his idea into a company with two patents (the latest just filed last Friday) and has conducted research with NASA.

Gomez del Campo, a junior who is majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering, founded FGC Plasma Solutions in 2013 to bring to market a device that shoots a precise amount of plasma into jet engine fuel. That plasma injection blows the fuel apart into its component molecules, allowing the engine to burn it more efficiently. The product can improve the safety and efficiency of jet engines, as well as lead to a 10 percent decrease in fuel consumption. His work could result in significant savings and reduce harmful gas emissions for both jet engines on airliners and industrial gas turbines used to generate power.

A native of Mexico City, Gomez del Campo moved to the Miami area at the age of 6. Now, after becoming a U.S. citizen just last year, he hopes to set up an “entrepreneurship ecosystem” in Mexico, similar to the one he’s had at Case Western Reserve.

Also on Monday, Vicente Fernandez from Sportsmanias (pictured below at the event with Mark Cuban) was an invited guest for the Emerging Global Entrepreneurs Event. About 70 entrepreneurs were invited as part of the White House's emphasis on young and female entrepreneurs creating innovative business solutions to tackle the world's toughest challenges. Fernandez was being recognized for carrying on his family's entrepreneurial spirit with his grandfather creating a family bus company that has thrived for 40 years since fleeing Cuba and moving to the U.S., and Fernandez enduring all his success since launching Sportsmanias.

Sportsmanias, launched in 2012 by Fernandez and his mother, Aymara Del Aguila,  is a comprehensive and personalized media site for die-hard sports fans that has formed partnerships with sports journalism sites, including the Miami Herald, and has attracted several million in Series A funding. Fernandez, who started Sportsmanias when he was a student at University of Chicago, was the only sports or media entrepreneur invited.



ClearpathFelice Gorordo, the son of Cuban immigrants, is CEO of Clearpath, a venture-backed tech company that revolutionizes the confusing, costly, paper-based immigration filing process by making it easier, more affordable and secure for individual immigrants to file their own immigration applications.

Along with Tony Jimenez, Gorordo co-founded Roots of Hope, a national non-profit focused on youth empowerment in Cuba. He previously was appointed by President Obama as one of 15 2011-2012 White House fellows.

President Obama spoke at the #StartTheSpark event, as well as guest speakers such as Sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John.

These entrepreneurs were only the latest to be invited to the White House. Other South Florida entrepreneurs who have been honored there or have been invited there include Champions for Change Susan Amat of Venture Hive, Felecia Hatcher of Code Fever and Rob Davis of Code for Fort Lauderdale, as well as Juha and Johanna Mikkola of Wyncode, Jim McKelvey of LaunchCode and NFTE student Karen Bonila of John A. Ferguson Senior High and FIU, who was invited to participate in the White House Science Fair this year.

As global entrepreneurs gathered for the event at the White House, the White House said President Obama announced several steps to increase support for emerging entrepreneurs here in the United States and around the world.  First, the president made investing in women and youth entrepreneurs the top priority for his Administration’s global entrepreneurship programs.  Second, ahead of his travel to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi this July, the president issued a call to action, challenging companies, organizations, and individuals to increase their investments in global emerging entrepreneurs.  Third, the president announced nine new Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, enlisting even more of America’s top talent to expand the frontiers of inspiration, opportunity, and development around the world.  Finally, he recognized the creation of the Spark Global Entrepreneurship coalition, made up of leading entrepreneurship organizations who will support his call to action and better connect, coordinate, and communicate entrepreneurship efforts across the globe.


May 04, 2015

eMerge Americas: NFTE students pitch to win; winner learned from failure



NFTE BizPlan Competition Winners:  (l to r) Zack Walsh, 3rd place, Kevin Diniz, 2nd place, and Jason Ramadan, 1st place, will travel to New York in October to compete against other high school students for $25,000 in funding.  They pitched their businesses May 4th at Emerge Americas on the Expo Stage.


The student who took the top prize in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's (NFTE) BizPlan Competition at the Emerge Americas conference won, in part, because he talked about how he'd failed in the past.  Jason Ramadan earned the top spot in the contest for Cliff Fall, a game for the IOS platform. Judges liked that he'd created another game before that had problems.  

  "I did feel confident this time," said Ramadan, a senior from Coral Springs Senior High, who was a first time competitor, "With my other game though, I didn't even realize all the mistakes I'd made.  It was pretty bad," said Ramadan.
  One judge, Maura O'Donnell, who works in Business Development and Finance, for MasterCard, said entrepreneurs must learn from their mistakes to improve.  She said the panel liked that Ramadan found lessons in his errors and also that he studied his biggest competitor and addressed several areas to differentiate his product from theirs for gamers - personalization, creating different skill levels for players, and offering users the choice for a user to opt out of advertising.  Ramadan received a $1500 prize from MasterCard.
  Second place went to Kevin Diniz, a senior from Piper High School, for his app idea to simplify the college scholarship research process.  Third place went to Zack Walsh of Coral Gables Senior High who pitched an idea to create an app that would offer roadside repair and rentals to cyclists stuck on the side of the road. Both students received prizes of $1000 and $750 respectively. O'Donnell said both ideas were strong but that Ramadan was further along with product development.
  All students were given eight minutes to explain and sell their business idea with another three minutes for questions.
  The three winners will compete in New York City in October in a national competition for a $25,000 in funding.
NFTE brings  entrepreneurship programs to low-income schools globally, and in South Florida throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
-Karen Rundlet

February 19, 2015

The FlatIron School to offer immersive coding school at Palmer Trinity

Joining a wave of new coding-school options for South Florida high school students, Palmer Trinity School of Palmetto Bay is teaming up with The Flatiron School, a New York City school well-known for web and mobile development, to offer immersive coding courses to local high school students this summer.

Students aged 13 to 18 enrolled in The Flatiron Pre-College Academy at Palmer Trinity will learn how to build and launch web applications using tools such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Ruby. The curriculum is based on The Flatiron School’s rigorous Web Development Immersive, which is known for helping graduates launch careers as developers at The New York Times, MakerBot, Etsy, Kickstarter , J.Crew and other companies. The Flatiron School has been expanding its programming to other cities, including Miami.

"The goal of Flatiron Pre-College Academy at Palmer Trinity is to give students a comprehensive understanding of the technologies used to build some of the world’s most popular websites and applications, and to broaden their horizon of what’s available in this sector," said Patrick Roberts, Head of School.

There are five courses offered – beginner and advanced software engineering, beginning and advanced web design and entrepreneurship – in three full-time two-week sessions starting in June. The two-week course is $2,000, and scholarships will be available for students who are already active in the technology community or who have demonstrated financial need. For more information:

Posted Feb. 19, 2015


January 28, 2015

Kendall brothers ages 7 and 9 launch company selling socks designed by kids



SOCK KINGS: CEO Sebastian Martinez, 7, left, and his brother, Brandon, 9, sales director, have started with their mother a company, Are You Kidding, selling socks with different designs. The boys were featured on ‘Good Morning America’s Shark Tank Your Life: Kid-Preneurs Edition.’ PATRICK FARRELL MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Read more here:


Ever since he was a baby, Sebastian Martinez loved socks. He collected socks of all kinds, with different colors, patterns and styles.

About two years ago, his mother, Rachel Martinez, asked him if he wanted to design his own.

“He was so excited he ran to the table with his pencils and paper and markers, and he sat down and started drawing,” she said.

And on Friday, Sebastian, 7, and his brother Brandon, 9, were featured on Good Morning America’s Shark Tank Your Life: Kid-Preneurs Edition, for their business designing and selling different styles of socks.

Sebastian is the CEO of Are You Kidding, Brandon is the director of sales, and their mother is the president.

The brothers, who live in Kendall, got their moment in the spotlight Friday when they got to pitch their company to Daymond John, a Shark Tank investor, and to George Stephanopoulos, co-anchor of ABC News’ Good Morning America, on national television.

Before the show, they sent in an audition video, had a phone interview and a few days later, they booked their flights to New York. At the end of the show, the two brothers each took home a special trophy for their work.

Martinez said it was a great experience and the the show helped the business to get more exposure.

“Friday was amazing,” she said, watching the video of her sons giving their pitch for Are You Kidding during the show.

 Since the business started in May 2014, they have sold their socks to many different stores and raised thousands of dollars for charity.

Sebastian is responsible for all the designs. His mother then transfers them onto a computer and they are made by a company in Guatemala. Brandon is then in charge of selling the merchandise.

“It’s kind of like a little tag team,” Martinez said.

The business made about $15,000 last year. They sell their socks to local stores, through their website and on other online sites such as Etsy.

In addition to just bringing in revenue though, the company has a “dual-mission,” Martinez said.

“We want to not only be a for-profit company,” she said, “but also teach philanthropy to kids which is very important to us.”

In October, Are You Kidding sold specially designed socks for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We all spent the entire month of October selling the socks everywhere,” Martinez said. “At Tamiami basketball, all the kids were wearing the socks, the coaches, the refs. Everybody had our socks on.”

The $3,000 raised from the socks was donated to the American Cancer Society for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Martinez said next year, they are hoping to reach their goal of donating $10,000 to the organization.

Are You Kidding is also working with a safe driving campaign called Be a Hero and Save Lives, cautioning people against texting and driving.

To teach kids about the charities, the company uses an app called VeePop, where people can scan the tags of the socks and a video will play giving information about the charity. Martinez said the team is planning to reach out to more organizations in the future to continue their charity work.

The company is also looking to expand, potentially adding T-shirts to the collection, she said.

“At the end of the day we want to create a brand,” Martinez said. “We started with socks because that’s the passion that I saw in my son and if you don’t start off with your passion, you’re never going to continue the business.”

She said running the business has been an exciting learning experience for her and her children, and she hopes to have more kids contribute in the future.

“It’s teaching kids how to start a business, run a business and grow a business. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of time and effort, but at the end of the day we do it as a family,” Martinez said. “We just want to make sure that it’s a fun brand. ... We want it to be a by kids for you collection.”



Posted Jan. 28, 2015



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