Dec 5, 2022

First ever Ignite Florida launch to Global Entrepreneurship Week in South Florida

by

Boca Raton Innovation Campus

With the end of November comes the close of National Entrepreneurship Month. From Global Entrepreneurship Week to Small Business Saturday, startups and entrepreneurs were celebrated all month long both statewide, national and around the globe.

South Florida Tech Hub and Synapse Florida were nominated the statewide organizers for Global Entrepreneurship Week or “GEW” 2022 in Florida. The first ever Ignite Florida Startup Summit, presented by South Florida Tech Hub, helped launch Global Entrepreneurship Week in the state. From a statewide calendar, social media posts about activities each day during the week, and organizations from all across the state getting involved in activities in their cities, GEW Florida was a huge success.

Ignite Florida was hosted in collaboration with the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRIC), RaiseLink, and sponsored by 35 Mules, an Florida Power & Light innovation incubator. The 2-day event was held on Friday and Saturday, November 11th and 12th just prior to GEW held November 14th – 20th, 2022.

 

DAY 1

The event was launched on Veteran’s Day, November 11th, and featured speakers, founders, and judges who were all veterans including keynote speaker, Rhys Williams, retired Detachment Commander in U.S. Army Special Forces, Steve Edwards, former Army Specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army, and John Riley III, former Desert Shield/Desert Storm Infantry Corporal in the United States Marine Corps.

Mayor Singer, Olympic Heights Community HS Color Guard and startup veteran founder

The City of Boca Raton is the birthplace of the personal computer, many patents still being used today, and home to many of South Florida’s major companies and growing startups. Recently re-elected Mayor Scott Singer of the City of Boca Raton helped open the event during welcome remarks alongside the Olympic Heights Community High School’s JROTC Color Guard led by Master Sergeant Wayne Byron with The Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, and an official proclamation presented to Nikki Cabus, South Florida Tech Hub’s CEO.

In addition to proclaiming, November 11th & 12th, 2022 as the launch to GEW Florida 2022 right here in South Florida at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, the document and Mayor Singer recognized “the contributions of city and regional ecosystem partners including South Florida Tech Hub, Research Park of Florida Atlantic University, FAU Tech Runway and Florida SBDC at FAU, all providing programs that support job creation, education, innovation, and economic growth in our community.”

Throughout the first day, guests heard from speakers about entrepreneurship, the importance of supporting our veterans as they integrate back into the local community, start businesses and look for work, and veteran-owned startup pitches. Dr. Marlon Atherton, Founder and CEO of ATEAM Solution Services won the Friday night veteran-owned pitch contest.

John Riley

“As a veteran, supporting our military veterans is very important to me. I was recently a judge in the IGNITE Veteran Pitch contest, it hammered home how important it is to support veteran-owned companies, especially veteran-owned start-ups,” said John Riley III, VP of Gov’t Services at Orion Innovations and USMC Veteran.

“For many veterans just getting out of the service, the transition to civilian life can be very challenging and even more when they are trying to start their own businesses. For them to have access to mentors and groups like South Florida Tech Hub that can align them with potential opportunities and investors will be of great benefit to many new veteran entrepreneurs in the future.”

 

DAY 2

keynote by Danielle Mousseau with 35 Mules

The second day kicked off with coffee and breakfast for all and a keynote by the event’s presenting sponsor, Danielle Mousseau, Manager of Economic Development at 35 Mules. The day’s agenda included panels, guest speakers, an workshop on startup law, and pitches from all sorts of tech startups from healthcare to web3.

Startup exhibitors showcased their tech to all attendees. From Big Motion Studios in the metaverse to Chargefon, a power bank rental service, and Fitness At Your Door, an app bringing healthand fitness right to your living room on demand.

Panel topics included Trends in Florida’s Investment Landscape ( sponsored by Tahl Milburn), Avoiding Common IP Mistakes for Startups (sponsored by Greenberg Traurig), The People Asset (sponsored by Focus GTS), South Florida Entrepreneur Journeys (sponsored by Semantix), and the Value of Accelerators & Incubators which featured accelerator program leaders from 35 Mules, 1909, Broward Colllege’s BECx Program, and the Eglavator (sponsored by Egla Corp.)

Almost twenty startup founders who applied through the newly launched RaiseLink platform, pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. RaiseLink Founder, Boca Raton IBM tech historian and local celebrity, Pete Martinez and and RaiseLink’s CEO, Chris Houghtlaing, facilitated the picthes. Local Boca Code students built the application used for judging and it was quite impressive to see the numbers totaled in real time!

Those startups were:

Roomaters Modern Trials Everwood (a Desafío Ambiente Chile brand)
Rosi Giving Boca Code Show Agents
Fearless Mind Pet HealthCare Innovations™ 2nd Vault
EpiPaws Beach Box ARC LLC.
Synchronix Owwll EVQLV
Coping Card Inc. Mind+
Big Motion Studio Walky

In the end, Chris Ochner, Co-Founder of Modern Trials and Dr. Marlon Atherton, Founder and CEO of ATEAM Solution Services (from Friday’s pitches) both took home almost $20k in services to support their startups. Those services included everything from a South Florida Tech Hub annual membership to consulting services with IP lawyer, Howard Gitten from Lewis Brisbois to pitch review and practice with Nate Vasel from Las Olas Venture Capital and more!!

This year was a kickoff to something great, but stay tuned for GEW 2023 which kicks off November 13th, 2023!