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By Nikki Cabus

FAU Adams Center Director Wins Best Paper at National Conference

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Florida Atlantic University’s Director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship was awarded top honors at a national conference. 

Kevin Cox PH.D., Director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University‘s College of Business, along with Regina Thompson, Assistant Director of Strategic and Economic Initiatives in FAU’s Division of Research, won best conceptual paper for their research on prototype development at the “Forging Your Future Together” conference held by USASBE in Jnuary.

Founded in 1981, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) is an inclusive community of educators, researchers, and entrepreneurs advancing entrepreneurship education through bold teaching, scholarship, and practice. Membership is open to all, as is attendance at USASBE’s hallmark annual conference. USASBE also publishes a peer-reviewed academic journal, Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy, and develops a variety of helpful resources and professional development opportunities for entrepreneurship educators as they create a positive impact.

Held January 10th – 14th in Birmingham, Alabama, the USASBE 2024: Forging the Future Together Conference aimed to shape and sharpen the dynamic discipline of entrepreneurship education through moulding effective pedagogy, recasting innovation, strengthening thought leadership. The world needs entrepreneurship education more than ever and the conference allowed attendees to share tools, technologies, and talents as they build community and forge the future together. Check out the conference program here.

Teachers share best practices, but also challenging existing paradigms of how entrepreneurship should be taught, to whom, and what ends. Researchers move the practice of entrepreneurship education forward and translating cutting-edge entrepreneurship research into teachable content. Program directors and practitioners complement classroom-based entrepreneurship education with practical immersion experiences in the broader entrepreneurship community.

The conference held their annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards where Dr. Kevin Cox from Florida Atlantic Unversity’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship accepted an award for Best Conceptual Paper. The paper, “Deconstructing the MVP: Fundamental Elements,” looks at practical applications for developing prototypes and the amount of resources that goes into it for start-up companies. The paper was coauthored by Jason Lortie, Sean DeRossett and Scott Kelly, all with Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I’m honored that the work my colleagues and I put into this research project focused on enhancing entrepreneurship theory and education related to prototype development was recognized by our expert peers and top entrepreneurship educators from around the country,” Dr. Kevin Cox said.

“This recognition also highlights our contributions to the development of new promising approaches for the future.”

Dr. Cox, who had been serving as the assistant director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship since 2016, stepped into the Director role in August 2023. He received his Ph.D. in business administration from Florida Atlantic University in 2016. His areas of research include entrepreneurship, new venture creation, and finance and social entrepreneurship. He is also the lead instructor at FAU’s Tech Runway New Venture Accelerator, a public-private partnership that helps accelerate tech development and start-up companies.

“We won Best Conceptual Research Paper at the #USASBE 2024 conference #forgingthefuture,” contributor Regina Thompson, M.B.A., wrote in a social media post.

“It was a great experience with a TON of brilliant entrepreneurial minds in one place. Very happy to have contributed with Kevin Cox, Jason Lortie, Scott Kelly, and Sean DeRossett.”

Working with both students andf the larger entrepreneurial community, Regina’s mission is two-fold. She aims to develop the best candidates for the workforce and entrepreneurship by engaging students in experiential learning opportunities, professional development programs and initiatives, and fostering corporate relationships. She accmplishes this by providing educational workshops, developing soft skills, and connecting community entrepreneurs and early stage startups with FAU resources that enhance our South Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem and promotes their success.

“Kevin Cox and colleagues’ winning this award at the conference highlights the contributions our FAU Management Programs faculty members are making in the field of entrepreneurship,” said Ethlyn Williams, Ph.D., department chair of Management Programs in the College of Business.

“Not only is our faculty advancing scholarship, but they are also providing students with innovative experiences in our entrepreneurship programs.”

To learn more about the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and the work that Dr. Cox and his team are doing, visit www.business.fau.edu/centers/adams-center/about-the-adams-center/

By Nikki Cabus

FAU offering free course to military veterans who want to become business owners

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Military veterans hoping to start or grow a business can learn the basics through a free course offered by Florida Atlantic University’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship.

The FAU Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program (VFEP) consists of workshops and networking sessions to help veterans determine whether their ideas, businesses, products or services are marketable to the general public. It will take place every Tuesday and Thursday, beginning Oct. 24 through Nov. 16, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at FAU’s College of Business Building, Room 112, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

Participants will produce and complete a business model and be paired with an entrepreneur mentor to guide them through the program. To register, click here.

“Creating a business is a dream for many Americans, and this is a vitally important program that gives veterans the opportunity to learn what it takes to start, run and maintain a successful venture,” said Kevin Cox, Ph.D., director of the Adams Center.

The program is in partnership with Veterans Florida, a nonprofit organization created by the State of Florida to help military veterans transition to civilian life and to promote Florida’s status as the nation’s most veteran-friendly state. The FAU Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is completely funded by Veterans Florida. Veterans Florida provides powerful tools for veterans to take advantage of the benefits of living and working in the Sunshine State.

This 8-week entrepreneurship course is a comprehensive educational program designed for current or future business owners providing Veterans the knowledge and skills they need for starting and/or growing their businesses. In addition to the in-depth educational program, all participants are paired with a successful entrepreneur who provides direct guidance and mentorship throughout the program and beyond.

The classes are open to Florida residents who are honorably discharged veterans, active-duty members or members of the United States Reserves. It also is open to spouses who attend with another participant who meets the qualifications.

Those who successfully complete the course will be eligible to enter FAU’s Business Pitch Competition for veterans in spring 2024. The annual event gives prospective entrepreneurs the chance to compete for startup seed funding.

This is the ninth consecutive year that FAU has hosted VFEP, but the first time offering a startup course in the fall. Past participants of FAU’s VFEP include Steve Edwards, owner of Premier Virtual; Logan Skees, of Valdaeon; and Jonathan Borgwing, CEO of LearnVig.

“It’s great having a lengthy and successful history,” Cox said. “We now benefit from an extensive network of alumni who support the program.”

Each year the program invites local CEOs and business professionals to present their startup ideas as part of their ‘pitch competition. Last year, one of the program’s winners was Steven Edwards, a U.S. Army Veteran in the 82nd Airborne Division and former Florida National Guard. He completed the program in 2020 and one of the program’s winners. Not only did Steve’s company win the pitch contest at the local level, but he also went on to win at the national level, which earned him additional funding and resources.

“Through the Florida Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, I not only found the tools to build and run a successful business but a community that understood the unique challenges veterans face when transitioning to entrepreneurship,” said Edwards.

“This program didn’t just change my life; it empowered me to shape my own destiny. Winning the annual VFEP Statewide pitch competition was the icing on the cake, showcasing the program’s incredible capacity to turn veteran entrepreneurs into success stories. Like every program, the more you put in it, the more you get out of it.”

Just last month, Edwards announced that Premier Virtual has been acquired by the global firm Careerminds.

The FAU Adams Center prepares students and entrepreneurs in all disciplines who are looking to become successful business owners. It was named in 2001 for Scott Adams, an FAU Tech Runway alumnus and CEO and co-founder of STRAX Intelligence Group.

For more information about FAU’s VFEP, contact the Adams Center at Adamscenter@fau.edu or 561-297-3653.

 

By Nikki Cabus

FIU & FAU student duo wins $10K to develop wearable tech

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South Florida students Laura Garcia (FIU) and friend Juan Fortich (FAU) win $10k to develop their wearable technology. 

The new company using sensor technology to help athletes perform better won the first prize in the 15th annual FAU Business Pitch Competition. The company develops small wearable pods that allow athletes to be healthier and maximize performance by improving their form in real time.

Laura is a health and fitness buff and was left frustrated as she trained for her first half-marathon in Yosemite.

“On top of spending months working on my physical endurance, I had to ensure my form was correct and my technique was on point to avoid any injuries,” says the computer engineering student, who is also a member of the FIU Honors College and Startup FIU. “It was during this grueling experience that I realized there had to be a better and more effective way to train,” Laura continued.

It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and Garcia’s months of physical training gave birth to the idea for DashOne.

Wanting to translate the challenges she faced during her marathon training into a creative solution, Garcia and Fortich doubled-down on their idea for wearable tech and began conducting market research to learn more about her target audience’s needs.

Garcia credits her time spent at StartUP FIU, the university’s dedicated innovation hub, with instilling a foundational knowledge of what entrepreneurship is all about. That consequently inspired her as she mulled her senior class project, a requirement for all College of Engineering seniors.

Garcia is quoted on the Startup FIU site stating, “What I like best about StartUP FIU is that it allows me to be surrounded by an amazing community of ambitious, talented and brilliant people that are passionate about being changemakers in the world regardless of industry or major. StartUP FIU has also taught me the value of seeking and discovering new insights when approaching complex problems.”

“Determined, creative and tech-savvy, Lara is emblematic of the future-ready student StartUP FIU produces,” says Emily Gresham, Assistant Vice President of Research, Innovation and Economic Development and a Co-Founder of StartUP FIU. “Our experiential programming, dynamic learning communities and dedicated mentorship prepares students for success after graduation, and arms them with the self-confidence, skills and knowledge to help them excel.”

Laura partnered with her friend and Florida Atlantic University  student, Juan Fortich, to build DashOne. The pair’s prototype device has two components: a wearable sensor that can attach to different parts of the body, such as the torso, knees or ankles, and a mobile app that tracks and analyzes a workout in real time.

“Our goal is to reach competitive runners looking for real-time feedback on their stride, technique and form,” said Laura. “Most injuries happen due to poor form and running posture,” she explains. “While other devices focus on output and biometrics, such as a person’s stride or pressure when hitting the pavement, DashOne homes in on a runner’s form, which is critical to achieving peak performance.”

Garcia and Fortich started to develop the prototype in January 2023. Fortich was able to get the duo entered into Florida Atlantic University’s Business Pitch Competition where they won first place – and a $10,000 prize.

The annual FAU Business Pitch (formerly Plan) Competition is hosted by the College of Business, Adams Center for Entrepreneurship with support from local partners and sponsors. The competition encourages FAU students, faculty, staff and recent graduates to pitch their game-changing idea for a chance to fund their new ventures.

Along with prize money, teams compete for legal and business services, preferred access into the FAU Tech Runway Venture Program and the opportunity to present their business pitch to local angel, venture capital groups and more. Competitors have the opportunity to meet and network with successful entrepreneurs. Resources are provided to aid students in the creation and implementation of their businesses. Students will gain valuable skills and experiences to be successful.

“This year, the competition was the largest and best we’ve hosted,” said Kevin Cox, Ph.D., associate director of the Adams Center. “We expanded the finalists, given the large number of high-quality applications. The judges agreed that the competitors and pitches were excellent, making it especially difficult to select the winners.”

Named in recognition of Florida Atlantic University graduate and serial entrepreneur Scott H. Adams, the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship brings students, faculty and the community together to fuel the innovation needed to create new venture opportunities in the ever-changing global marketplace.  The mission of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship at the DeSantis Pavilion is to create and educate entrepreneurial leaders who find sustainable solutions to economic and social problems. The goal of the Adams Center is to prepare FAU students in business, science, engineering, and all disciplines who are looking to become entrepreneurs through business ownership or through venturing.

Additionally, they have raised $5,000 by participating in the Blackstone Launchpad Fellowship, hosted by FIU’s Pino Entrepreneurship Center. The dynamic duo also competed in the semifinals of Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs, one of the largest collegiate entrepreneurship competitions in the nation.

Garcia and Fortich plan to continue perfecting the prototype so DashOne can start raise enough capital to bring the unique device to market.

“DashOne has allowed me to step into rooms that I never expected to be in, connect with and inspire other students to pursue their own passions through entrepreneurship, and make the most out of FIU’s diverse resources and network before graduation,” Garcia says. “For that, I’m incredibly grateful.”

Click here to learn more about the other pitch competition winners and their companies. 

FAU Adams Center Director Wins Best Paper at National Conference
FAU offering free course to military veterans who want to become business owners
FIU & FAU student duo wins $10K to develop wearable tech