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18 posts from May 2012

May 31, 2012

Rules of the road for location-based marketing

 Today's guest post is by Miami Herald contributing columnist Tasha Cunningham, social media and marketing specialist and principal with The Cunningham Group.

By Tasha Cunningham

TashaCunningham_bizIn this week’s BizBytes column, I discussed eight location-based marketing strategies that can help your business geo-target consumers. Among those: Get local on Twitter, search optimize your blog and website and consider a mobile coupon app. While these are great ways to reach potential customers and interact with the ones you already have, you should observe a few rules of the road that make it easier to engage them.

  • Give your customers options. Allow them to opt-in to any of your location-based marketing efforts. Remember that some people don’t want to disclose their personal information or their location. 
  • Tell them how their information will be used. It’s important that you have a clear statement on your website or app that lets people who opt-in to receive or share information with your business  about how you’re going to use what they provide you.  Be sure to let customers know that you will not be selling their information to third-parties. 
  • Let your customers opt-out. There may be a time when a customer doesn’t want to receive location-based marketing messages or promotions from you and that’s okay. Make it easy for them to opt-out. You never know when they will return as a customer and in the meantime, you want to make it easy for them to go and even easier for them to come back. 

Next week in BizBytes: 5 Low-Cost Tools to Make Managing Your Social Networks Quick and Easy!


Poll: Florida ranks high for difficult financing environment

New survey data shows that Florida ranks fourth worst in the country for limited growth opportunities due to the difficult financing environment.

The survey of 5,997 small businesses by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. shows that the current business financing environment is restricting both growth opportunity and the ability to hire new employees, especially for small businesses. Among the 5,997 survey respondents, 64% of businesses with revenues under $5 million said difficulty in securing financing is limiting their growth potential and 55% said it is restricting their plans to grow their workforce.

The First Quarter 2012 Private Capital Access Index survey results which will contribute to a forthcoming new indicator to measure the demand for, activity and health of the privately-held businesses. The First Quarter 2012 study is available here: http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/accesscapital

“Unfortunately, the tight credit market is impacting our economic recovery,” said Dr. John Paglia, director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project and associate professor of finance at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. “What we are seeing is business owners increasingly looking to unconventional financing options to grow their businesses and in some cases they are putting their expansion plans on hold altogether.”

The following states had the highest percentage of businesses that claim they are facing limited growth opportunities due to the difficult financing environment:

1.       Nevada (75%)

2.       New Mexico (72.6%)

3.       Maryland (70.5%)

4.       Florida (70.2%)

5.       Virginia (68.8%)

The research found that 46% of business owners with revenues under $5 million transferred personal assets to their business over prior six months compared to 25% of business owners with revenue between $5 million and $100 million. When asked what types of personal assets they tapped into, 68% of both large and small businesses transferred funds from personal savings or investments.


May 30, 2012

How to prepare for crowdfunding

Today's guest post is by Nicole Denny, a CPA with Miami-based Kaufman, Rossin & Co.

By Nicole Denny

Denny Nicole (1)Crowdfunding is an avenue for startups and small businesses to solicit capitalfrom non-accredited investors. The CROWDFUND provision of the JOBS Act allows companies to raise up to $1 million in capital per year via crowdfunding platforms from individual investors without registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Many investors will come from entrepreneurs’ preexisting networks -- mentors, former colleagues, friends, and family.

There are many unknowns as the SEC has until January 2013 to regulate these crowdfunding platforms. However, there are many steps that small businesses can take to get ready.


Internal Research

First, entrepreneurs need to take a look inside their own businesses.  Determine how much capital you are interested in raising and how you will utilize it.  There are regulations on the types of financial statements that business will need to provide investors dependent on the amount of capital raised.

Level of Annual Crowdfunded Capital

Required Financial Statements

Less than $100,000

Internally Generated Financial Statements

From $100,000 to $500,000

Reviewed Financial Statements

From $500,000 to $1,000,000

Audited Financial Statements


Should your company be interested in raising enough capital to warrant reviewed or audited financial statements, now is the time to identify and engage a public accounting firm.  By engaging early, you will be able to meet with your accountants to ensure that you’re retaining the type of support that they will need in order to complete your review or audit, as well as fully understanding how much the review or audit will cost you, not only in engagement fees, but in time as well.

Develop a business plan

While there are many unknowns, it is evident that each company seeking to raise capital via crowdfunding will need a fully developed business plan.  Take the time to create a business plan that concisely states your mission, defines your operations, details your marketing strategy, and includes financial projections based on past performance.

Value your business

Business valuation is likely to be one of the most difficult hurtles that an entrepreneur will face in raising capital via crowdfunding.  As the JOBS Act requires that a set price per share is communicated before selling any securities, it would be prudent for any company interested in raising capital to start valuing its equity. 

A good starting point would be to research comparable businesses within your industry, on websites such as bizquest.com.  There are also several methods a company can use to determine a valuation, such as the excess earning method, the cash flow method, and the balance sheet (asset valuation) method.  After determining the value of your business, calculate your price per share based on the percentage of equity in each share.

Determining a target capital amount, writing a business plan, and valuing your business are just the beginning of the process for obtaining capital via crowdfunding;entrepreneurs that start now will be far more ready to take advantage of this new capital market than competitors that are not prepared.  

Nicole Denny, CPA, MBA is a member of Kaufman, Rossin & Co.’s audit practice. Kaufman, Rossin & Co. is one of the top CPA firms in the country. She can be reached at ndenny@kaufmanrossin.com.



May 22, 2012

It's OK to ask for a sale

My guest blogger is Miami Herald contributing columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman, who is CEO of BalanceGal, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Email her at balancegal@gmail.com or visit www.worklifebalancingact.com

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

CindyGoodmanSig2012A friend of mine manages to get businesses to donate all kinds of raffle items to raise money for non-profits. I'm amazed and awed each time I see her in action. Her secret is pretty simple: she asks.

I hate asking people for things. I'm a lousy sales person, mostly because I hate rejection. That seems to be a problem most people face, but in business it can take you down.

On Friday, I learned a lot about asking for business and closing deals at the Women's Success Summit in Miami. Michelle Villalobos, a personal branding consultant and founder of the Summit, told me she picked the topic because she hears often about how challenging it is for women business owners to close a deal. "Women are excellent at networking and every piece of the sales process up until the time to close the deal." Michelle says we just have to get bolder about asking for business. We need to give ourselves permission to be fearless and more aggressive. "Everything else is a waste of time if we can't turn a relationship into revenue," she says.

At the Summit, sales guru Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, spoke about how women spend time building relationships with our dry cleaner, other women business owners or soccer parents and then we don't ask them to buy what we're selling. Examine who you have relationships with and whether they would want what you offer.

Listening to the statistics, I think closing the deal is hard for many men, too.

Here are some tips I picked up that should help any small business owner close a deal:

* Target the customer who typically finds value in your product or services. Melissa Rubin sells high end condos for Platinum Properties. She networks in places where her best prospects circulate such as bar association meetings. By approaching the right customer, it takes away some of the fear of rejection, she says.

* Tap into an emotion. What are you selling that will help ease someone's pain? Jody Johnson, founder of Action Coaching, says people are more pain averse than pleasure seeking. Maybe you're selling something that will help a struggling business bleed less cash or maybe you're product that will help someone improve his or her marriage that's falling apart. Speak to their concerns when you ask for their business.

* Listen, watch, then ask questions. What a potential customer says or where he looks gives you signals for how to create a win-win. Jolie Glassman, owner of South Florida Boxing, says she formulates how she asks for the sale based on what someone says they want to accomplish and where they look when they enter the gym. "I get in their world and then I get them in mine," she says.

* Remove any impediments. Alex Lessa, speaker author and serial entrepreneur, says he used to sell martial arts memberships. When it would come time for the close, potential customers would say they didn't have their wallet buy a membership. So, Lessa began asking for a potential client's drivers license when he would enter and held it while they would do their trial workout. If you have your drivers license, you usually have your wallet!

* Sell your value. To avoid bickering over price, present your value and how the customer is going to benefit from doing business with you. "You can't establish price until you talk value," says Sebastian Rusk, founder of Social Buss TV and a Miami social media consultant,

* End with a question. Some people like to ask, "What do we need to do to get started? or "Would you like to pay all at once or in payments?" The key is not to close with a yes or no option.  Rusk says he never closes by asking someone's budget. Instead, he'll say "When would you like to get started?" or "Have we covered everything you need to know to get started?"

* Know when to walk away. If you just can't seem to close the deal, walk away. Natalie Boden, owner of BodenPR, a Miami public relations agency, says that's key in business. Usually, she presents her value in a way that the response is "When are you available?" But if the response isn't there and doesn't seem to be coming, she moves on. 



Should you borrow from your 401K to fund business?

Today's guest post is by Frank Armstrong, CLU, CFP®, AIFA® and the president and founder of Miami-based Investor Solutions, an independent, fee-only fiduciary investment management firm. ions.com

Frank_Armstrong, headshot, updatedIt’s always a bad idea to raid your retirement nest egg, but if you’re a business owner looking to finance operations, it may be even worse. Here’s why:

  • You have a huge risk in an un-diversifiable entity, your company. Financing operations with your 401(k) account spreads that risk to your retirement plan. If the company fails, your retirement plan will take a big hit and you still must pay back the 401(k) loan, or you will incur penalty tax on a premature distribution.
  • Assets inside your qualified plans like a 401(k) are protected against creditors. Only two
    “super creditors” the IRS and a domestic court could attach them. Loan proceeds lose that protection.
  • A 401(k) is not a piggy bank or a revolving line of credit. It’s for your future retirement.
  • Loans from your 401(k) pay a very low interest back to the plan, so the opportunity cost to your retirement plan could be very high. A practice of borrowing against the 401(k) will reduce your future retirement plan accumulation.
  • Unlike a mortgage on your home, interest paid to the 401(k) isn’t tax deductible.

Sometimes, however, borrowing against the 401(k) may be the least bad choice you have. You may borrow up to 50% of your vested balance up to a maximum of $50,000. That money must be repaid by a schedule against your earnings over 5 years, unless it’s for a first time home loan where the time frame is 30 years. Failure to pay it back on schedule triggers a premature
distribution penalty and ordinary income tax on the remaining balance. Not pretty!

Here’s why you might think it’s the least bad choice:

  • You don’t have to pass a credit check. If your plan allows for loans, it’s automatic that you get it.
  • Interest rates are very low. Using a 401(k) loan to pay off credit card debt, student debt or other obscenely high interest consumer debt might actually improve your financial situation.

As always, consult with your financial and tax advisors before making important financial decisions.

May 20, 2012

Beyond bootstrapping: A look at loan options

James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment banking firm headquartered in Miami that works with middle-market companies. He wrote this column for Business Monday:

Thinking about taking your business to the next level, or simply sustaining it through challenging times? You’ll need effective management, stamina and, most importantly, money. However, accessing funds for growth capital, cash-flow shortages, an acquisition, or because your lender cut you off can be a complex and daunting challenge.

Let’s ignore equity for now. Loans have different risks and costs, and the size of your business, the purpose of the loan and how you operate your company play a big part in the type of loan that’s available and right for you.

Many owners “bootstrap” their businesses — looking to personal savings, credit cards and their regular income as a source of capital. But, when those options are exhausted, where can an entrepreneur turn for cash? Getting to know your options is a good first step. If you’re seeking to borrow in excess of $5 million, you can turn to an investment banker who can identify sources of capital and evaluate terms of a deal. Regardless, every business is different, and all business loans are not created equal. Remember, with money comes strings.

Friends and family: If you’ve thought about friends and family as a source of financing, you’re not alone. However, don’t assume these loans are “free.” Even when working with friends and family,
the deal should be an arm’s-length transaction (although this is not always the case). Therefore, the interest rate, loan-to-value, and terms must reflect — or nearly reflect — market rates, no matter what the relationship between lender and borrower.

Pros: Since these loans are based on relationships, not necessarily credit worthiness, they can be good for business owners with less-than-perfect credit or collateral. In addition, if you are running short on time, you can often get a loan more quickly than from banks or other financial institutions. You might also be able to get lower interest rates and less-restrictive terms, even in the context of an arm’s-length transaction.

Cons: Every loan carries risk, and if your ability to pay back the loan changes, then your relationship with the friend or family member could be jeopardized. Plus, when you borrow from friends and family, there are often strings attached, including unsolicited business advice, feelings of entitlement and expectations of continued involvement.

Cash-flow loans: As the name implies, cash-flow loans are generally unsecured loans, whereby the lender looks to anticipated cash flow to repay the loan and requires certain financial and nonfinancial covenants be met. With this type of loan, you take advantage of the reliability and regularity of your company’s revenue stream. Traditional commercial banks and certain finance companies frequently make these loans. For smaller businesses, the lenders will generally require personal guarantees.

Pros: Cash-flow loans can be useful to fund an acquisition because you can use the cash flow of the company you are acquiring (in addition to your own) to repay the loan. If you have a stable credit history, as well as predictable and growing cash flow, cash-flow loans provide a fairly flexible source of funding.

Cons: Small and mid-sized companies with fewer customers, smaller contracts and less-reliable ncome may have more difficulty obtaining these types of loans. Similarly, firms with shorter operating histories may not be able to demonstrate the necessary consistency of cash flow to secure a loan.

Asset-based loans: Both small and large businesses can consider asset-based loans, which are based on the value of hard assets, receivables and inventory for determining borrowing limits. The amount of money available is generally based on a formula.

Pros: Asset-based lending is flexible, since you can use accounts receivable and inventory as ollateral. If your company has less-than-perfect credit, asset-based lending could be for you — especially if you find a lender who specializes in your industry. You may also be able to access capital more rapidly than through a loan based on operating income and other financial measures.

Cons: One of the drawbacks to an asset-based loan is the formula. One example: If you are only allowed to borrow on accounts receivable less than 90 days old. If you are not paid by then, you will need to pay back that portion of the loan anyway. In addition, if the assets reduce in value, you may owe more than those assets are worth. Plus, lenders discount assets when determining how much they will loan your business. For example, a lender may not loan anything against foreign receivables, 50 percent of the value for work in progress and perhaps 80 percent of the value of U.S. receivables.

Factoring: Factoring, or selling your accounts receivable for cash, provides your business with working capital. However, the value of your receivables will be greatly affected by your customers’ payment history. If you have had a hard time collecting from customers, the factoring firm will likely have a difficult time as well. Accordingly, the amount of money you can expect — and the cost of that money — will be reflected by this. Factoring can be with or without recourse. There may also be certain holdbacks on the purchase price.

Pros: Instead of waiting for clients to remit payment, you’ll have faster access to money owed to your business. Also, since factoring focuses on your customers’ credit worthiness and not yours, you can access capital without the lender scrutinizing your business’ credit worthiness.

Cons: Factoring can be expensive. Factoring companies charge fees and buy the receivables at a discount (the equivalent of interest). They charge a premium for the risk of nonpayment by your customers.

Other Options for Small Businesses: Even in today’s post-credit-crunch environment, business owners might perceive that lending options are scarce. In addition to what I have mentioned, other types of loans include purchase-order financing, international accounts receivable financing, and mezzanine financing, as well as hard-money lenders.

The fact is, commercial lending is more plentiful than it has been in several years. Banks and other financiers have lots of cash to lend. So, always consider your primary banking relationship as a viable source of capital.

In addition, companies have access to resources, including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA guarantees loans issued by commercial banks and has a variety of programs based on your company’s size, industry and stage of development. This can enhance your credit worthiness.
And, don’t let the word “small” fool you. The SBA defines small businesses differently from what you may think.

Today’s entrepreneurs can also use the Internet to find loans. There are a growing number of sites trying to assist with both debt and equity. Try Boefly.com for loans or examine “crowd-funding” sources. Microloan financing destinations like Kiva.org may be able to provide businesses with the
financial boost they need.

Aside from evaluating loans, you should also compare lenders. Look beyond interest rates at terms, fees and costs. Also, consider how much experience your lender has in your industry and its illingness to stick with you over time. When you think you have found the right lender, examine how it addressed past crises and current media attention. And, no matter what you decide, never finance a long-term asset with a short-term loan.

With an honest evaluation of your borrowing potential, you will be set for the next stage in your business, whatever that may be.


May 18, 2012

Deadline approaching: Business plan competition for Caribbean

BY Jacqueline Charles

Ever thought of expanding or creating a new business in the Caribbean?

The U.S. State Department in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and others has launched a business plan competition for the Caribbean. The plan is aimed at promoting jobs and economic growth in the region, and forging partnerships between members of the Caribbean diaspora in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Idea Marketplace challenge fund will provide a $100,000 grant to each of the 10 best business plans focused on business partnerships in the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Interested entrepreneurs must submit concept ideas by May 30. Organizers will then select the best concepts and invite those entrepreneurs to submit an actual business proposal. Each will received $10,000 to help with plan preparation. 

Marie Gill, president of the Jamaica-USA Chamber in South Florida, called the program “a very exciting opportunity.”

Among the qualifications: the company in the region must have $100,000 in assets, and the diaspora partner must be a legal resident or citizen of the U.S., Canada or the United Kingdom, or have a relevant connection or experience in the Caribbean. Applicants must be interested in expanding an existing business in the Caribbean or establishing a new one.

This is not the first time the U.S. government has launched such an initiative. In 2008, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced that it had set up a $2 million investment fund to assist members of the Haitian diaspora who had a sustainable business plan and were willing to partner with Haiti’s private sector to create jobs. That fund was known as the Haiti Diaspora Investment Challenge Facility. It has since ended, say USAID officials.

For more information on the Caribbean Idea Marketplace business competition email diasporacim@iadb.org or go to www.caribbeanidea.org



May 17, 2012

IBM SmartCamp shines light on healthcare innovation

Can South Florida become a high-tech hub of healthcare innovation?

The admittedly partisan crowd of startups, investors, executives and academics who attended IBM SmartCamp Kickstart Miami on Tuesday night thinks it’s possible.

“What is there not to be excited about? This is the ground zero for healthcare,” said Jorge Rico, managing director of MBF Healthcare Partners, who participated in a panel at the event Tuesday held at Florida International University. “From a venture fund perspective you are seeing a lot more interest. It’s a great place to invest.”

Rico and others, such as CareCloud CEO Albert Santalo, cited South Florida’s demographics, particularly its senior citizen and Medicaid populations, its universities, hospital networks, growing investment community and healthcare technology companies already operating here as key attractions. That’s also one reason why IBM chose Miami to host SmartCamp, aimed at fostering innovation and collaboration for developing smarter healthcare technology.

IBM SmartCamps are competitions held in 16 cities around the world, from Bangalore to Sao Paulo, said Mike Riegel, an IBM vice president. At the camp in Miami, five pre-selected healthcare technology startups presented their companies in front of a panel of judges and the audience at the event.

A Miami startup and one all the way from Hong Kong were the winners and will go on to compete in the national competition in Boston next month.

WlfshlagmanMiami-based Consult A Doctor, presented by founder and CEO Wolf Shlagman, was the grand prize winner of the evening. Consult A Doctor is a service delivery platform that offers groups, health plans, hospitals and providers with 24/7 access to physicians across the U.S. via telephone, secure email, video and particularly mobile applications. “It’s the Intel Inside of healthcare,” Shlagman said.

Shlagman believes that in the near future 24/7 access to care will be commonplace. “It’s a very exciting time for Consult A Doctor. The marketplace is awakening to the solution,” said Shlagman, who is on a road show for additional investor capital now. (Photo of Wolf Shlagman, presenting Consult A Doctor at IBM Smartcamp, by Carl Juste/Miami Herald Staff)

The award for the best emerging opportunity went to eNano Health Limited of Hong Kong. Presented by Winnie Leung, co-founder and CEO, eNano is developing a series of affordable medical device products that can be used for health screening at home with instantaneous results for a variety of disease diagnostics, including diabetes. Because the solution uses saliva rather than pricks, judges called it potentially game changing.

Leung, who was returning to Hong Kong the next day, explained that she and her husband and their large development team are working around the clock on their solution and she hopes to have the device on the market within a year.

Other presenters were South Florida companies Cohealo, which offers an efficient and cost effective way for hospitals to share medical equipment and is led by University of Miami MBA student Mark Slaughter, and Emergency Medical Technologies, which has developed a wristwatch that monitors the wearer’s health for cardiac arrest and other conditions and is led by Bernard Klocman. Also presenting: Cara Health of Chicago, which detects health trends by using language algorithms on patient phone calls.

Today’s healthcare challenges offer an enormous opportunity to attack the three biggest problems in the U.S. system: Quality of care, access to care and spiraling cost, Riegel said, noting that all the presenting companies’ solutions target at least one of these areas. “We need a whole range of innovation.”

Nancy Staisey, another IBM vice president, talked about how the world is entering a whole new era in computer intelligence — big data.

Consider these stats: Data is growing at 35 percent a year and 90 percent of the world’s data today was created in the last two years alone. Within the next two year, IBM says, one third of the data will be downloadable.

“The time is right for this,” Staisey said. “With healthcare, with the Internet and with the number of medical devices we have, we have a real explosion of information, more than any doctor can use. What we can do with smart systems can be as revolutionary as the X-Ray was looking into the human body.”

See this related post by Miami-based CareCloud, winner of the 2010 IBM SmartCamp in Silicon Valley.

May 16, 2012

New program matches small businesses with out-of-work professionals

Shawn and Kate Boyer own a high-end women’s travel wear company, Anatomie. Like a lot of small- business owners, they find they need help in certain areas of running the business, but not always at a full-time level. At the same time, there are plenty of out-of-work professionals who could provide the expertise to the Boyers’ company.

Enter Primed to Grow (P2G), a new program that seeks to match Miami-Dade small businesses in need of short- or long-term expertise with unemployed professionals. SCORE Miami-Dade is teaming up with the Miami-Dade Small Business Development division to launch the new program.

“The initiative grew out of the need to think out of the box to create business growth that is tied to employment opportunities. Many of the businesses are currently mentored by SCORE volunteers, as well as over 2,000 small businesses currently certified in Miami-Dade small-business programs that are provided resource assistance in various areas by SBD,” said Sheri L. McGriff, division director of Business Opportunity Support Services, Small Business Development.

 P2G is designed to help small businesses strengthen specific operational areas while giving out-of-work professionals access to work and potential clients, added Marjorie Weber, chairwoman of SCORE Miami-Dade, which offers one-on-one counseling and low-cost workshops to thousands of small businesses and has an ongoing partnership with the county’s SBD division.

Under P2G, “the business and the professional agree upon either a stipend, partial salary or full-time for the engagement period. … The important issue is giving the small businesses the assistance they need while at the same time giving the unemployed professional an opportunity to get back into a business environment,” Weber said. "This is also an opportunity for students and recent graduates to step into a growing company as an intern.  We are working with both FIU and MDC students and graduates."

Shawn Boyer said Anatomie has already started using Prime to Grow for several temporary or part-time positions. He has hired someone to help with his bookkeeping and is now looking for supply and logistics expertise for his Miami-based business, which has seven employees and 40 independent salespeople and sells its designs at the Mandarin Oriental, Exhale Spa in the Epic and Equinox in Merrick Park, among other places.

 Boyer said P2G allows him to see whether the relationship is a good fit before making a full-time hire. If it is, he’s committed to making it permanent, he said. “If someone is an asset to our business, we want to work it out.”

A website for the P2G program where interested parties can register is being developed, McGriff said. Interested companies or workers can also call SCORE at 786-425-9119, McGriff said.

 SCORE Miami-Dade and Constant Contact are hosting a free business seminar on Primed to Grow on Wednesday. The half-day event will feature an informational P2G session where professionals and business owners can sign up for the program, workshops on email marketing and social media, and a keynote address by marketing expert John Jantsch, author of "Duct Tape Marketing."

Event details:

Event: Small Business Week Celebration on Primed To Grow (P2G): Small Businesses Creating
Jobs for South Florida

Benefits: Small businesses in South Florida and unemployed professionals

When: Wednesday, May 23, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Villa 221, 221 NE 17th Street, Miami, FL 33132, Free parking

Cost: FREE

RSVP: http://www.constantcontact.com/southflorida

May 15, 2012

IBM SmartCamp winners revealed

A Miami startup and one all the way from Hong Kong were the winners of the IBM StartCamp Kickstart Miami event Tuesday night at Florida International University.

The theme of the event was healthcare technology, and as part of the event, five startups in the space were selected to present in front of judges and the packed audience. SmartCamp's goal is to foster collaboration and innovation by identifying early- stage entrepreneurs who are developing healthcare business ventures that align with IBM's "Smarter Healthcare" vision.

Miami-based Consult A Doctor, presented by founder and CEO Wolf Shlagman, was the big winner of the evening. Consult A Doctor is a service delivery platform that offers groups, health plans, hospitals and providers with 24/7 access to physicians across the U.S. via telephone, secure email, video and mobile applications.

The award for the best emerging opportunity went to eNano Health Limited of Hong Kong, Presented by Winnie Leung, co-founder and CEO, eNano is developing a series of affordable medical device products that can be used for health screening at home with instantaneous results and for a variety of disease diagnostics, including diabetes.

Other presenters were South Florida companies Cohealo, which enables hospitals to share and deployoy their technology cost effectively and efficiently and is led by Mark slaughter, and Emergency Medical Technologies, which offers a way for people to be life-monitored by wearing a stylish wristwatch and is led by Bernard Klocman. Also presenting: Cara Health of Chicago, which detects health trends by using language algorythms on patient phone calls. All the presenters received mentoring from about 20 mentors before presenting in front of the judges and fielding their questions.

The two winners will compete in Boston in June. The winner of the Boston event will compete in the global challenge. SmartCamps are being held all over the world.