South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

FAU professor awarded grant to enhance opportuities for those with disabilties

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Florida Atlantic University received funding from the National Science Foundation that will support a project that aims to provide digital maps to improve accessibility and navigation for persons with disabilities.

The Center for Sensing, Monitoring, Analytics, Remote, and Technology (SMART) Health, will facilitate the use of engineering and computer-science technologies to enable state of the art patient-centered health care, early detection of human health problems, and better quality of life; the center will support interdisciplinary education and training for “jobs of the future”- careers at the intersection of technology with medicine, nursing, public health, and human biology; the center will stimulate partnership with industry and foundations around the smart health technologies and informatics.

 

Dr. Ted Conway, Research Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Affiliating Faculty with the FAU Center for SMART Health, has been awarded Phase 2 Funding from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Convergence Accelerator Program to further develop a digital app to help persons with disabilities.  He is a member of the five-Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) research team that combines complementary expertise to create a more robust approach to address the challenges associated with the research project.  His Co-PI team consists of:

  • Dr. Ted Conway, Research Professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University.  Expertise: Mechanical & Biomechanical Engineering and Disability Community Outreach.
  • Dr. Vinod Namboodiri, Professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Health at Lehigh University. Expertise: Artificial Intelligence and Data Acquisition
  • Dr. Siny Joseph, Professor in the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University.  Expertise: Economic Analysis
  • Dr. Patricio Vela, Professor in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech.  Expertise: Robotic Systems & Controls.
  • Dr. Nils Hakansson, Professor in the College of Engineering at Wichita State University. Expertise: Biomedical Engineering and Disability Community Outreach.

MABLE: Mapping for Accessibility in BuiLt Environments provides persons with disabilities independence to experience large events, conferences and educational programs.  Using crowdsensing, AI and robotics, MABLE empowers individuals with responsive maps and turn-by-turn instructions through a digital app to help them navigate indoor environments successfully. Key users include those with visual or mobility impairments, such as people with low vision and wheelchair users, as well as other persons with planning and navigation assistance needs.

Conway’s team was one of 16 teams that participated in Phase 1 of the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator, Track H: Enhancing Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.  At the end of Phase 1, the teams participated in a formal pitch and proposal evaluation.  In December 2023, the NSF selected MABLE and five other projects to move forward into Phase 2, investing $30 million across all projects with up to $5 million in funding for each project.

In Phase 2, Conway and his team will continue to apply Convergence Accelerator fundamentals to develop solution prototypes and to build a sustainability model to continue impact beyond NSF support.  By the end of the 36-month Phase 2 effort, MABLE is expected to provide a high-impact solution that addresses a societal need at scale.

Conway’s project and Convergence Accelerator funding connect directly with the core focus of the FAU Center for Smart Health to “… facilitate the use of engineering and computer-science technologies to … support interdisciplinary education and training…; the center will stimulate partnership with industry and foundations around the smart health technologies and informatics.”

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports science and engineering in all 50 states and U.S. territories. NSF was established in 1950 by Congress to promote the progress of science, advance the national health, prosperity and welfare, and secure the national defense. NSF investments account for about 25% of federal support to America’s colleges and universities for basic research: research driven by curiosity and discovery.

“A convergence approach between researchers, innovators, and persons with disabilities spanning organizations and communities across multiple sectors is crucial to ensure these NSF-funded solutions address barriers to employment, freedom of movement and quality of life for persons with disabilities, said  Douglas Maughan, head of the NSF Convergence Accelerator program.  ”

The selected Phase 2 teams are fostering strong partnerships to ensure their use-inspired solutions assist a wide range of people.”

The NSF’s Convergence Accelerator transitions basic research and discovery into practice through innovation processes like human-centered design, user discovery and team science, as well as integration of multidisciplinary research and partnerships.  By making timely investments, such as Conway’s project, the Convergence Accelerator aims to solve high-risk societal challenges through use-inspired convergence research.

By Nikki Cabus

Florida Atlantic’s Tech Runway announced its 13th cohort companies

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FAU Tech Runway® recently accepted 13 companies to participate in the 13th cohort of its Venture Program.

The Venture Program provides the most promising startups and talented entrepreneurs in South Florida with an opportunity to join a year-long program that offers resources from FAU’s Innovation and Business Development pipeline, entrepreneurial instruction, structured team-based mentoring, networking, marketing and capital-raising assistance, co-working space, events, intern support and other vital programs.

Companies accepted into the Venture Program must have strategic alignment with FAU’s research focus areas, including drone technologies; educational technologies; environmental science; marine science; ocean engineering; neuroscience; healthy aging; big data analytics; artificial intelligence; machine learning; cyber security; sensing; and smart systems.

The 13 companies in Venture Class 13 are:

  • Alumni Direct, LLC removes the noise from other networking platforms by bringing members into one centralized location. Alumni Direct makes it easy to network and connect in communities dedicated to a university, sport, Greek organization or business.
  • BiDR TV LLC represents a groundbreaking venture in the realm of e-commerce, seamlessly merging online and traditional retail experiences to redefine the consumer shopping journey with a laser focus on enhancing user satisfaction, safety and engagement.
  • BookMark’d is an AI college assistance platform that helps college students on campus find affordable college materials, academic advising for navigating course selection, and access to receive 24/7 AI tutoring for their exact course code.
  • ByeUni LLC is a website and app that is a cross between LinkedIn and crowdfunding. It allows college students and college-bound students to post and communicate with followers and to collect money/donations from them.
  • Digiagee is a digital agency via a smartphone that enables users to reach the right people with the right message in five minutes. It is custom ad alchemy and is AI/ML powered.
  • GrowFrom Inc. is the world’s first free platform for personal growth and development. On GrowFrom users can store goals and get useful tools to help stay focused on them throughout the week.
  • Hello Sunshine LLC: Take on Trades is building the new generation of trade workers through a new method of engaging trade companies with the young people who will comprise its future workforce.
  • Neurodiverse Educational Testing (N.E.T.) offers advanced AI-driven assessments for neurodiversity, facilitating early diagnosis and tailored support for children. N.E.T. enhances 504 education plans, empowering families and educators to address the unique needs of neurodiverse students.
  • Property Vue Media, LLC provides site documentation and management solutions using digital twin technology for the construction and utility sectors.
  • SDB_Automate provides software services that revolutionize ocean depth determination and navigation using satellite images and AI technology to enhance safety in navigation, support sustainable fishing practices, and improve water tourism.
  • Shorts IQ, Inc. is a short videos machine that customizes storytelling templates from performing videos based on brand and necessities.
  • Stone Pine Marketing and Productions LLC is a marketing agency with an in-house video production team. It tailors services specifically for the needs of nonprofits and offers discounted, affordable rates for these organizations.
  • Vektor Freight LLC is a logistics company that provides airline-like speed at the cost of ground transport. Through its network of relay points, combined with AI, it achieves “continuous flow trucking” that cuts truckload delivery times up to 50 percent.

Venture Class 13 participants join a robust community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, instructors and top-level support professionals.

FAU Tech Runway® is a public-private partnership formed to incubate and accelerate early-stage technology-based companies, under the purview of FAU’s Division of Research . Applications for the next cycle of the Venture Program are now currently being accepted.

For more information on FAU Tech Runway®, visit techrunway.fau.edu.

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 January.

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

Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ Welcomes Four New Recruits Into Second-Stage Incubator

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Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ is excited to announce the addition of four new company recruits. 

A leading international soft landing incubator based at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Florida, Global Ventures provides support and resources to post-startup, or second-stage companies, that have established themselves in their industry and are ready to scale up to the next level of growth. They seek to assist technology-based companies with an interest in developing links to FAU that have achieved approximately $1 million in annual sales and employ at least six (6) people, as well as graduates of FAU Tech Runway®.

The new arrivals are:

  • Fenway Group, led by CEO Martin Santora. The Fenway Group crafts customized solutions that empower businesses to take charge of their digital transformation journey, giving students real world experiences as they go through their educational careers.
  • InfraSite, led by CEO Vitaliy Pereverzev, is revolutionizing the digital infrastructure landscape with innovative solutions that seamlessly integrate 5G, data centers and edge computing facilities into urban environments. Its innovative Smart Vault solution allows for the safe and sustainable placement of digital infrastructure practically anywhere.
  • Salus Water, led by president Marcelo Costa, is a company specialized in residential water filtration and purification systems. With a strong presence in the market, the company is recognized for offering cutting-edge technology and providing a comprehensive solution to ensure the quality of the water you and your family consume daily.
  • Signalic, LLC, led by founder & CEO Arash Andalib, is a biomedical tech venture dedicated to personalized pain management solutions using data-driven approaches, to reduce the number of individuals suffering pain or addicted to opioids.

The new recruits, who are poised to make a significant impact in their respective industries, were screened through Global Ventures’ thorough application process and were selected based on their innovative approaches, proven records, interest and ability to partner with Florida Atlantic University, as well as their potential for growth. The group includes companies from a variety of industries, including software technology, healthcare, and smart cities infrastructure. These entrepreneurs will have access to a range of resources, including mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding guidance as well as facilitated introductions to specialized Florida Atlantic faculty and students, to help them scale their businesses to become multi-million-dollar enterprises.

“We are thrilled to welcome these talented individuals and companies to our second-stage incubator program at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic,” said Ryan Lilly, Global Ventures Program Manager.

“Our goal is to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for these promising companies to thrive and succeed. We believe that their innovative approaches and track records hold significant potential for South Florida’s economic growth and make a significant impact in the business world. We are excited to be a part of their journey.”

A South Florida Tech Hub member, Fenway Group has been traveling back and forth from their headquarters in Texas for the past few years in an effort to learn about the South Florida community, forge local relationships and support regional tech talent efforts. Their move to open a South Florida office is a huge step for the company and an important resource for the South Florida tech community.

Fenway Group help companies tackle their most ambitious projects and build new capabilities. Analyze, architect, build and co-create. Their emphasis on delivering solutions entails serving clients with a purpose and fostering novel ideas and innovation. One of those deliver approaches is their FenwayPipeline™ for technology services integrated with a talent acquisition strategy where companies can incorporate next-generation technologists whose skills are specifically tailored to relevant technology stacks and environments.

The international soft landing, second-stage incubator program has a proven track record of success, with several of its alumni going on to long term partnerships at Florida Atlantic and retaining significant presences in the Research Park at FAU. With the addition of these new recruits, Global Ventures is confident that the program will continue to foster the growth and success of second stage businesses in South Florida. The incubator is committed to supporting and nurturing these entrepreneurs as they work towards building successful and sustainable businesses.

“Global Ventures and the Research Park at FAU are proud to welcome these new recruits to our second-stage incubator program and we look forward to facilitating their continued growth. The program is a testament to the thriving tech entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Florida and our commitment of the Research Park at FAU to support and foster the growth of innovative businesses,” stated Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU.

Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ will host its annual open house on March 20th at 5:30 PM for the community to meet its entrepreneurs and learn more about their growing companies.

For more information about the Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ international second-stage incubator program, please visit www.ResearchParkFAU.com/Global-Ventures. Rare vacancies from 100 sq. ft. – 1,000 sq. ft. are on offer as a result of recent successful graduations.

By Nikki Cabus

Tech is a Hot Topic at Capital Analytics fifth anniversary of Invest: Palm Beach

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On February 7th, Capital Analytics Associates, held the Invest: Palm Beach Conference highlighting insights and perspectives in the region’s business economy. 

Capital Analytics is an integrated media company that serves the needs of businesses, executives, investors and entrepreneurs through forging strategic connections and producing engaging, relevant and high-impact content. Their annual business reports have a global circulation and includes among its readers top executives working in real estate, finance, technology, trade and logistics, health, hospitality and others.

The report conducts a deep dive into the top economic sectors in the region, including real estate, construction, infrastructure, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market and uncovers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Held at the luxurious boutique hotel, The Ben, on the waterfront of downtown West Palm Beach, Capital Analytics celebrated the official release of the fifth anniversary edition of Invest: Palm Beach with more than 200 business leaders in attendance. The discussions of the morning were pertaining to the key drivers impacting the present and future regional economy in Palm Beach County. The event included featured three panel discussions centered on the state of the economy, education and the future workforce, and transit-oriented development and transportation initiatives.

Panel 1: State of the Economy

Panelists included Andrew Duffel, President of Research Park at Florida Atlantic, Gary Lesser, Managing Attorney at Lesser, Lesser, Landy &Smith, PLLC, Kristin Turner, Senior Managing Director Palm Berach at RBC Wealth Management, and Carlos Diaz, Principal at Kaufman Rossin. The panel was moderated by Sandra Martin Ruiz, Regional Director at SBCD at Florida Atlantic. The panelists discussed how current trends will transform the makeup of Palm Beach’s economy and business.

The discussion focused on how quickly Palm Beach County’s business economy is transformaing. Discussions that once used to only include industries such as hospitality and healthcare now must include technology and overall innovation. Panelist Andrew Duffell spoke about the excitement across multiple industry sectors and some of the organizations doing important work in the booming technology space, supporting entreprenurship, and providing resources for research such as South Florida Tech Hub, 1909, and Research Park at FAU.

Andrew also spoke about the diversity of our region, easy access to Latin America, Europe and the Carribbean, and favorable business envoronment in South Florida. In the Invest: Palm Beach’s 5th Anniversay Edition, Andrew is quoted saying, “The population we have here in South Florida is key. We are completely diverse. No one group of anything or anyone dominated the demography of this region. That lends itself to curiousity and research. Anyone doing any kind of research, being sociologcal or clinical, wants and needs to be in South Florida in order to get a substantial cross section of the world’s profile.”

Through the Research Park‘s new international soft landings and second stage company development initiative, Global Ventures, second stage companies from around the world and United States will become profitable and sustainable companies that will positively impact South Florida’s economy.

For almost 40 years, the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® has been home to technology companies and research-based organizations working to support scientific research at Florida Atlantic University with innovation and leadership. The Research Park aims to foster scientific research and technology-based development in Palm Beach and Broward counties and support the overall innovation across the South Florida region.

 

Panel 2: Prioritizing Education

Panelists included Valery Forbes, Dean of Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at FAU, Ralph Maurer, Head of School at Oxbridge Academy, and Linda Trethewey, Head of School at Rosarian Academy. The panel was moderated by Abby Lindenberg, President & CEO at Capital Analytics. The panelists discussed how Palm Beach County’s leaders are preparing students for the workforce of the future.

According to the 2024 randkking in niche.com, Palm Beach County boats some of the best private schools in the state of Florida including Donna Klein Jewish Academy (7th), Saint Andrew’s School (18th), Boca Prep International School (21st), The Benjamin School (22nd), Oxbridge Academy (23rd) and The King’s Academy (24th).

Exposing students to industries of interest, ensuring we train in transferrable skills, and helping our local talent understand the local opportunities avaiable to them here in the county and all around the region were topics of interest. The known issue of making sure companies are also paying competitive rates was also discussed as this leads to the brain drain in the region. Brain drain is when a large group of skilled workers leave an industry or an area causing the lack of important human capital. This is a silent killer that South Florida has faced for decades.

Each of the panelists spoke of the transfer of students from one school to another and the great relationship between each of the institutions from primary to higher education. A common theme was the quickly advancing tech industry and interjection of coding, artificial intelligence and general STEM education programs within the classrooms. Linda Threthewey spoke about the fact that she is preparing students who are going to be in the workforce in 2060 and with the advancements in technology, she has no idea what the workforce may look like then or the technical skills needed. Shje believes in the important of “critical thinking, digital and technological competency, entrepreneurial spirit” that will prepare these students to become future leaders.

According to the Florida Department of Education’s 2021 – 2022 Annual Report, of the 217,640 total PK-12 student enrollment in the 2021-22 school year, 27,981 (12.9%) were private school students and 189,659 (87.1%) were public school students. The district’s minority enrollments is approximately 70% with almost half of these students coming from underserved communities.

Although their is a desire and need for private school education through academies, charter schools, and college prepratory programs, the real need is for digital access within vulnerable communities, standard incorportated STEM education for all k-12 students, and enhanced STEM offerings for both teachers and students alike in the public school system. More collaborative efforts between governments, NGOs, and tech companies are needed to bring innovative solutions to areas lacking infrastructure. Household income set aside, we hope to see the Palm Beach County School District represented in future discussions knowing that a huge majority of the county’s students are receiving a public school education.

Invest: Palm Beach does have a feature article with Michael Burke, Superintendent for The School District of Palm Beach County where he addresses the high enrollments rates, learning loss and education gaps, teacher shortage, and even legislation and funding.

 

Panel 3: Moving Forward

Panelists included David Dech, Executive Director of Tri-Rail at South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director at WPB Mobility Coalition, Valerie Neilson, Executive Director at Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, and Todd Bonlarron, Assistant County Administrator of Palm Beach County. The panel was moderated by Ryan Gandolfo, Senior Editor at Capital Analytics. The panelists discussed transit-oriented development and infrastructure in Palm Beach County.

This was a very interesting and important discussion addressing the increased growth across the entire county including downtown areas, lack of affordable housing, and limited land for new home construction within the county. Cities in the western communities such as Wellington and the county’s newest city Westlake are experiencing an influx of new residents, but with sky-rocketing home prices, even these communities cannot meet the needs of all incoming new residents forcing residents to look north.

According to US News and World Report, Port St. Lucie, part of the Treasure Coast just north of Palm Beach County, is ranked as the 5th fastest-growing city for homebuyers in the United States. Although, the city does not have have the business economy needed to employ its residents keeping them local. In multiple reports, including the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, has shared that over the past decade an average of 60% of workers who reside in St. Lucie County are employed outside the county with a huge majority traveling to Palm Beach County.

Both issues are causing longer drive times, congestion on the roads, a community dependent on cars, increased competition for those who live locally, and additional pollution in the area.

The introduction of Brightline was a very positive addition to the county’s transporation services between 2018 – 2023, but don’t address the needs of those living in the western communities, those coming from neighboring counties, and the underserved workforce who may need public transporation in order to get to work.

The panel discussed the lack of a Mobility Plan for connected and walkable cities like our sister counties to the south that give people access to jobs, healthcare, and other basic necessities and resources. They also brought up strategies and plans such as the Live Local Act, a comprehensive and far-reaching workforce housing initiative and the new Port St. Lucie Express, express buses from Port St. Lucie to the Intermodal Transit Center in West Palm Beach for as little as $3. All panelists agreed that education around the stigma of using public transportation is also necessary.

Todd Bonlarron educated the audience by stating, ” At the request of Commission Greg Weiss, Reltaed Companies, and others, the County Commission partnered with Related and going to Tallahassee to create some technology enhancements along the Okeechobee corridor. We’ve got about $3.5 million dollars in the state budget right now that we hope to bring back to help introduce some more of that advanced technology into our signalization here so that we can move buses, move cars a little more quickly and efficiently . . .”

He continued, “Investing in that technology and working together and looking at how we’re going to fund a lot of the big ideas that we have going forward.”

Technology was an important part of each of the morning’s panel discussions. Technology is changing. Change creates innovation. Let’s innovate together!

TOGETHER, we are #BuildingSoFlo!

Interested in checking out each of the panels for yourself? Panel 1 | Panel 2 | Panel 3

By Nikki Cabus

Research Park at Florida Atlantic Elects 2024 Officers; Vote Marks First Time an FAU President is Chair Since 1985

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The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® is pleased to announce the election of Stacy Volnick, Ph.D., FAU President, and Imran Siddiqui, JD as chair and vice chair of the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority (the Authority), respectively, for 2024.

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic is governed by the seven-member Authority, an independent special district which supports and promotes research and development in affiliation with and related to Florida Atlantic. It fosters technology-based economic development in both Palm Beach and Broward counties. The Research Park at FAU is widely regarded as South Florida’s laboratory for new entrepreneurial ideas and technologies.

Established in 1985, Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® is a 70-acre destination for R&D companies and home to technology and research-based organizations working to support the research and development activities of Florida Atlantic University and to foster economic development and broaden the economic base of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Research Park at FAU hosts Global Ventures, an international soft-landing center for second-stage technology companies and Florida Atlantic Tech Runway, a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies.

The Research Park at FAU is governed by the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, an independent special district created by Palm Beach and Broward counties in partnership with Florida Atlantic University, organized under Chapter 159, Part V, Florida Statues. (www.research-park.org)

In their leadership roles, Chair Volnick and Vice Chair Siddiqui will work closely with the members of the Authority and executive management to continue the Research Park’s mission of promoting research and economic development in South Florida, and to complete the execution of the Research Park’s 2023-2025 strategic plan.

“The work of the Research Park at Florida Atlantic has a significant impact on both the University and its surrounding communities,” said Volnick. “I am proud to lead its governing authority this year as we continue to advance its mission for the benefit of our entire region.”

President Volnick became a member of the university’s administrative staff in 1991, advancing steadily through the ranks. In 2013, she became vice president for administrative affairs and chief administrative officer, and more recently, she was promoted to chief operating officer. A three-time alumna, she earned a doctorate and master’s degree in educational leadership from FAU’s College of Education, as well as a bachelor’s degree in communication from the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Appropriately, her doctoral dissertation addressed the challenges facing women college presidents. Dr. Volnick joined the Authority in 2022.

Siddiqui, also a Florida Atlantic graduate, is a dynamic leader with a rich track record in law, civic engagement, higher education technology and public service. Most recently, he served as the Executive Director of Tech Equity Miami, leading a $100 million funding consortium dedicated to promoting equity in the tech industry. Before that role, he served as an Associate Vice President at Broward College where he launched Employment Solutions, a new division dedicated to corporate partnerships and job placement initiatives. Mr. Siddiqui was appointed to the Authority by Commissioner Marci Woodward and the Palm Beach County Commission in 2023.

“I am truly honored and humbled to accept the nomination for the position of Vice Chair at an exciting time not only for the Research Park but for Florida Atlantic University as a whole,” commented Imran Siddiqui. “Working under the leadership of our new chair, President Stacy Volnick is an exciting prospect, and I am eager to contribute to our shared vision for advancing research and development initiatives.”

Membership of the Authority is made up of private sector appointees by the Broward County Commission and the Palm Beach County Commission, each appointing three members. FAU’s president, or designee, rounds out the membership total of seven.

“We are thrilled to have President Volnick and Mr. Siddiqui step up and be elected to lead the Research Park at Florida Atlantic at this important time,” said Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park. “Their leadership and expertise will be invaluable as we drive innovation and collaboration between the companies based in the Research Park and the research faculty and students at Florida Atlantic. I look forward to working with both of them to achieve our goals and support economic growth in our region.”

For more information about the Research Park at Florida Atlantic, visit www.Research-Park.org.

By Nikki Cabus

Florida Atlantic University selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program

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Just last week, Florida Atlantic University announced it has been selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program providing Amazon’s hourly employees access to credit-bearing courses at FAU.

This new partnership will pave the way for these employees to earn an associate or bachelor’s degrees, as well as undergraduate certificates.

“I am pleased that Florida Atlantic has become an Amazon Career Choice education partner,” said Linda Johnson, FAU associate vice president for academic affairs.

“Thousands of Amazon employees living in South Florida now have the choice to attend FAU and pursue the undergraduate degree of their choice. The best part is they will have their tuition and fees pre-paid by Amazon. It is a win-win for FAU, Amazon and their employees.”

Samantha Clitus, a health science major, is the first FAU student to take advantage of this partnership. She is on track to graduate in spring 2024 with a goal of attending nursing school to become a pediatric nurse.

“It is an honor to be selected for this program, and it has given me hope for a successful future,” said Clitus. “I am a first-generation college student, so this will not just be benefitting me, but my family as well.”

Amazon’s Career Choice program empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program offers a variety of education and upskilling opportunities, including prepaid college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas and GEDs. In the U.S., the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.

“This initiative provides career growth and mobility by empowering employees to pursue professional development with strategic intention and clear goal attainment,” said Brian M. Montalvo, assistant vice president, FAU Career Center.

“By investing in the education and skill development of its workforce, companies not only enhance the professional lives of their employees but also contribute to the overall development of a more skilled and agile workforce.”

Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success.

“We’re looking forward to having Florida Atlantic University as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thieman, global program lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program.

“We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere. We have intentionally created a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 150,000 Amazon employees around the world have participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen firsthand how it can transform their lives.”

The Amazon Career Choice Program pre-pays tuition and mandatory school fees directly to FAU, up to a maximum each year. For more information, or to apply to join Amazon’s Career Choice program at FAU, visit here.

By Nikki Cabus

Team Llamaa wins Tech Hub’s “Hack for Humanity” community hackathon 2023

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The 2023 Tech Hub Hackathon aimed to “Hack for Humanity” building solutions for problems faced by two of South Florida’s local nonprofits, American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity Broward. 

A Hackathon is an overnight event where participants form teams, vet ideas, create a project, then present their work to an expert panel of judges. This year, teams were asked to solve a wide range of problems, including streamlining donations, coordinating pickups, improving data management for Habitat for Humanity Broward, and promoting American Cancer Society’s “Get Screened” campaign to individuals and corporations, with a focus on HR benefit integration and process monitoring.

This year’s first place winning team created a solution in support of Habitat for Humanity Broward – Team LLAMAA!

According to the Habitat for Humanity Broward website, Broward is one of the nation’s most cost burdened housing markets, making homeownership out of reach for 94% of families. Habitat for Humanity Broward is on a mission to change that.

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity of Broward brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat Broward offers a “hand up” not a “hand out” to empower families who are willing to work hard to improve their family’s lives through affordable home ownership.

Together, Team LLAMAA which is an acronym for the first letters of each team members name; Leon, Lia, Ashley, Maria, Ashley, Aimee, created a software solution to aid the non-profit Habitat for Humanity of Broward which aimed to streamline the potential home owner application through digitization enabling tracking in a more convenient way for the employees, hard-skill volunteers and potential home owners.

“There is nothing like being in the presence of bright minds, tirelessly and enthusiastically working to increase the reach and impact for organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Broward and American Cancer Society who are tackling community and societal challenges,” said Nathan VanDeman, Habitat for Humanity Broward’s VP of Housing Development.

“I made many new friends, saw numerous great concepts and we’re excited to work over the coming weeks with the teams and organizers to see which can be developed and put to use.”

The Hackathon was held at the CITY Furniture headquarters in Tamarac where guests had the opportunity to tour the CITY facilities, meet with leadership and the technical team, and learn about the expansive and fast-growing tech department at CITY, all while enjoy the first-ever hackathon in CITY’s history working with two of their closest nonprofit partners.

With 16 teams presenting, over 100 hackers, and over 50 volunteers, coaches, and judges, there were many innovative ideas and projects created that could support both nonprofits.

Our judges panel included Mick Feller, Sr. Principal Software Engineer @ ODP Corp, Giovanni Punzo, Founder & CEO @ Streann Media, Michelle Bakels, Program Director @ G2i, Christy Poe, former Sr. VP of IT @ Garden of Life, Nathan VanDeman, Habitat for Humanity Broward’s VP of Housing Development, and Stephanie Watts, American Cancer Society’s Senior Director, Corporate Relations.

Thank you to all our major sponsors for the event. We would not have been able to make it happen without the support of CITY Furniture, The ODP Corporation (Office Depot), Florida Power & Light (FPL), OZ Digital, Streann Media, TechStrong Group, and Adam & Joe’s.

We also had the support of student sponsors this year from Cox Science center & Aquarium, CareerSource Palm Beach County, FAU’s College of Engineering & Computer Science, and the Tech Hub Foundation.

 

The top three projects chosen by our esteemed panel of judges were as follows:

1ST PLACE, $2,500 PRIZE: TEAM LLAMAA

  • Nonprofit: Habitat for Humanity Broward
  • Solution: On-boarding platform to support administrators in managing housing applications and their progress
  • Team Members: Ashley N Dennis, Asiangel Moua, Leon Kipkoech, Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron, Maria Bruno, Ashley Clayden Moss
  • See Presentation
  • See Github

2ND PLACE, $1,500 PRIZE: PIXEL POETS

  • Nonprofit: American Cancer Society
  • Solution: Custom Campaign Portal for “Get Screened” Campaign
  • Team Members: Shashank Mishra, Prakash Raghothamachar, Jasmine Kloub, Ryan Young
  • See Presentation
  • See Github

3RD PLACE, $1,000 PRIZE: ASK ME LATER

  • Nonprofit: Habitat for Humanity Broward
  • Solution: Donation quality inspection and intake process optimization
  • Team Members: Pinak Upadhyay, Angel Diaz, Daniel Muthama, Rabea Abdelwahab, Alexander Aranda, Adrian Perdomo
  • See Presentation
  • See Github

Click here to view ALL TEAM PROJECTS and here for PHOTOS FROM EVENT. 📸

 

Stay tuned for updates on project implementations. . .

By Nikki Cabus

FAU’s Research Park celebrates recipients of the Annual Awards & Celebration of Entrepreneurship

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On October 18th at the Boca West Country Club, the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® celebrated the recipients of its Annual Awards & Celebration of Entrepreneurship.

Since its thirtieth anniversary in 2015, the Research Park at FAU has been celebrating distinguished contributors to its mission of promoting scientific research and development in affiliation with Florida Atlantic University and fostering economic development in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Each year, impactful contributions and greater potential for the future can be seen: South Florida has a vibrant, diverse economy ahead, driven by the work of all these distinguished recipients, partner organizations in the Research Park, and others.

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® is home to technology companies and research-based organizations working to support the research and development activities of Florida Atlantic University and to foster economic development and broaden the economic base of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Research Park at FAU hosts Global Ventures, an international soft-landing center for second-stage technology companies and FAU Tech Runway, a South Florida public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies.

The Research Park at FAU is a 70-acre destination for R&D companies to thrive, established in 1985, it is widely regarded as South Florida’s laboratory for new entrepreneurial ideas and technologies. The Research Park at FAU is governed by the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, an independent special district created by Palm Beach and Broward counties in partnership with Florida Atlantic University.

This year’s awards are made as the South Florida region experiences record-setting growth, facing new challenges, and benefiting from stronger regional institutions. Florida Atlantic University has emerged as a regional healthcare leader, addressing the need for better, more accessible healthcare. Technologies developed at the Research Park at FAU help provide more predictable, positive outcomes and they are made as more people recognize the virtue and strength of diversity in our society and economy.

Each year, friends and stakeholders – business, government and academic leaders – of the Research Park at FAU gather to celebrate the achievements of the entrepreneurs and innovators who make the Park community stronger. Approximately 200 leaders from the business, academic and governmental fields strengthen relationships and share ideas for the future.

This year’s honorees are:

Bob Swindell | Chair’s Distinguished Service Award

Mr. Swindell was appointed to the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, which governs the Research Park at FAU, in 2005 by the Broward County Commission; he went on to serve with distinction for eighteen years, including twice as chairman. Swindell was appointed president & CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance in 2009 where he has led the strengthening of Broward County’s economy and become a universally respected servant leader and authority across industries and sectors.

A lifelong Broward resident, Swindell has served in several business and community leadership roles, including leading the American Red Cross during and after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Since that time, he has been appointed to statewide roles by governors Martinez, Chiles, Bush and Scott. Bob’s knowledge and guidance have been indispensable to the development of the Research Park at FAU.

 

Michael Allison | Distinguished Leader

Mr. Allison distinguished himself as a leader in every role he took on. From leading student government at Ohio State University where he earned his law degree, to coaching young football and baseball players, to leading at both Office Depot as Executive Vice President of Human Resources, and at Burlington as Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, to leading the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority. Allison’s leadership style was to empower those around him to achieve their full potential, having done so with his own life.

Allison joined the Authority in retirement, as a commitment to his community. Later, when he came out of retirement and consulting at Allison Consulting, which he created in 2018, to join Burlington, he maintained his commitment and he led the development of the Research Park at FAU’s current strategic plan through extensive collaboration during his unprecedented three years as chairman of the Authority. He helped so many see, pursue, and achieve their own potential, including himself. Sadly, Michael untimely passed away on August 11, 2023, and this award is made in memoriam.

 

Robert Colton, M.D. | Distinguished Entrepreneur 

Dr. Colton is the co-founder and Chairman of Thema Brain Health (Thema), a Research Park at FAU-based company. Thema is revolutionizing how the world approaches cognitive brain health. Over the last five decades, tremendous progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of all major diseases of aging except for Alzheimer’s Disease. While aging is inevitable, Thema Brain Health is on a mission to ensure that cognitive decline is not.

Before founding Thema, Colton was the co-founder and chairman of ClearlyDerm, a multi-location easy access dermatology company. ClearlyDerm currently has five locations in South Florida with twelve dermatologists, nine nurse practitioners and physician assistants and 100 employees. Prior to founding ClearlyDerm, Colton conceptualized and co-founded MDVIP, the largest concierge medicine company in the United States; he sold MDVIP to Procter and Gamble in 2009. Today MDVIP’s more than 1,100 affiliated physicians serve more than 385,000 patients nationwide. Colton’s contribution to South Florida’s innovation and knowledge economy has already been distinguised, and his entrepreneurial energies continue with Thema.

 

Siri Terjesen, M.D. | Distinguished Researcher

Dr. Terjesen is Associate Dean, Research & External Relations, founding Executive Director of the Madden Center for Value Creation, and Phil Smith Professor of Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic’s College of Business. She is a nationally recognized expert in higher education, strategic management, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. She was nominated by the president of the United States to serve as one of 15 voting directors to the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) which advises the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences. Terjesen serves as a reviewer for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 project and the Swedish and Norwegian governments’ higher education agencies, and as advisor to the World Bank, Kauffman Foundation, and a variety of think tanks.

Terjesen’s research on entrepreneurship, corporate governance, and strategy includes over 80 articles, 2 books, many white papers, and manuscripts (Kauffman Foundation, World Bank, and U.S. Small Business Administration, for example). She is amongst the world’s top 2% most cited scholars (Clarviate) and has over 13,000 citations in Google Scholar. Terjesen’s distinguished work has inspired several Research Park and Global Ventures companies to get further involved with Florida Atlantic’s work and her research has helped innovate companies’ strategies.

Read more about Dr. Terjesen here.

 

Canada-Florida Chamber of Commerce | Distinguished Organization 

The Canada-Florida Chamber has partnered with the Research Park at FAU since before the creation of Global Ventures, the second-stage entrepreneur support initiative to attract and grow innovative technologies in South Florida. Through its innovative programming, relationships, engaged membership and trade missions, the Canada-Florida Chamber has contributed to the growth and success of Global Ventures. Several entrepreneurs have learned about Global Ventures through the chamber’s events and programming, resulting in two Canadian companies expanding their offerings with Global Ventures, and a robust pipeline of prospects.

 

The Awards & Celebration of Entrepreneurship is made possible by the investments of Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton in the Research Park at FAU’s programs and by the support of Gold Partner Florida Power & Light and 35 Mules and Silver Partner Kaufman Rossin. Innovation Partners include: 2TON, Baptist Health, Banyan Development, Boca Raton Airport, CBIZ, CohnResznick, Comcast, FAU College of Engineering & Computer Science, FAU Executive Education, HGreg, Invest: Palm Beach, Lorium Law, PEBB Enterprises, People’s Trust Insurance Company, Neptunya Ocean Power, Seascoast Bank and the BV Group at UBS.

To learn more about the FAU Research Park, visit http://www.research-park.org/

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. 

By Nikki Cabus

FAU Tech Runway announces the 16 startups of cohort 12

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FAU Tech Runway® recently announced the 16 companies accepted to participate in the 12th cohort of its Venture Program.

FAU Tech Runway is a South Florida public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies. The Venture Program provides the most promising startups and talented entrepreneurs in South Florida with an opportunity to join a year-long program that offers resources from FAU’s Innovation and Business Development pipeline, entrepreneurial instruction, structured team-based mentoring, networking, marketing and capital-raising assistance, co-working space, events, intern support, and other vital programs.

Companies accepted into the Venture Program must have strategic alignment with FAU’s research focus areas, including drone technologies; educational technologies; environmental science; marine science; ocean engineering; neuroscience; healthy aging; big data analytics; artificial intelligence; machine learning; cyber security; sensing; and smart systems.

The 16 companies in Venture Class 12 are:

  • Clinical Fitness provides a safe environment where clients can be guided and educated by medical professionals in the proper use of gym equipment.
  • DashOne is a developing wearable tech that empowers athletes to improve their form and performance in real time through reinforcement cues and in-depth analytics.
  • DealHero, LLC is a web platform designed to connect military, veterans and first responders with businesses that support them by offering deals and discounts on their products and services.
  • Glowby Lightbulbs are patent-pending, long-lasting, rechargeable lightbulbs for places where running wiring is impossible or impractical. Install lighting fixtures anywhere and have easy, instant light that can last years before requiring a recharge.
  • Housing Nonprofit is a platform connecting renters with housing grants to purchase a home. Their technology analyzes the requirements for all incentives to buy a house and allow users to check eligibility for all programs via a single form.
  • HUMM STAFFING is an app platform that connects healthcare professionals with hospital shift work.
  • Integral Vista Solutions is a company that provides innovative technological solutions to improve the efficiency and profitability of residential service companies.
  • Kastaco connects talent such as models, actors, voice-over artists, singers and musicians with valuable opportunities.
  • MM COMMUNICA INC is a digital public relations firm dedicated to helping small businesses and personal brands improve their reputation and authority online.
  • Printed Patio uses concrete 3D printing to generate bespoke landscape and architectural features.
  • Puttrax 360 is golf’s first AR gaming and training experience for putting, where computer vision technology automatically tracks and scores every putt.
  • RideGuide is an app that provides a highly customized library to educate drivers on the proper use and operation of features and technology in their cars using videos, searchable manuals and how-to guides.
  • SecureTec ID is a software mobile application that uses biometric data gathered from contactless fingerprints for the community and policing. It also provides identification and additional intel, utilizing numerous databases, to promote and encourage safety.
  • Telly College LLC empowers students to maximize their college experience, by use of daily on- and off-campus events with voting and attendance stats.
  • Therapy in a Click aims to establish a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that uplifts mental health care accessibility by offering free virtual therapy sessions with licensed mental health professionals to high school students within Palm Beach County.
  • Wisp Energy LLC (WE) will employ a proprietary Dual Axis Wind Turbine (DAWT) using advanced AI and ML to improve wind turbine performance, adding variables to the wind interaction and yielding improvements of more than 30 percent in efficiency and/or ROI.

Venture Class 12 participants join a robust community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, instructors and top-level support professionals.

FAU Tech Runway® is a public-private partnership formed to incubate and accelerate early-stage technology-based companies, under the purview of FAU’s Division of Research . Applications for the next cycle of the Venture Program will open in Fall 2023.

For more information on FAU Tech Runway® Venture Program, visit https://www.fau.edu/techrunway/tech-runway-venture-program/

By Nikki Cabus

Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® entrepreneur support initiative welcomes four new companies, graduates two

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The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University’s entrepreneur support initiative, Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic, is proud to welcome four (4) new companies into its incubator program which serves both international and domestic second-stage technology companies.

To be considered second-stage, a company has achieved annual sales of at least $750,000 and has at least six (6) employees. Global Ventures focuses on healthtech and smart systems technologies.

The companies, which have all opened physical offices at Global Ventures in Boca Raton, FL this year include:

  • Biobeat Medical – The first Israeli company to join Global Ventures, Biobeat’s solution uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide actionable insights for patient care. More than just analyzing the data, Biobeat also generates it, using a proprietary sensor for continuous monitoring of vital signs unique to Biobeat. For more visit: https://www.bio-beat.com/
  • Ecosign Technologies –Ecosign was established as a spin-off of Contech Brazil, a company with over 30 years of experience in the pulp and paper industry. Ecosign is committed to providing innovative solutions for diverse industrial sectors working towards a more sustainable future. Through its technological leadership the company brings constant improvements to control of process contaminants in pulp and paper, textile, agribusiness, and poultry, among others. For more visit: https://www.ecosignus.com/
  • Isolab USA – Originating in Germany with manufacturing operations in Turkey, ISOLAB dedicates itself to providing products and solutions to its customers worldwide for various applications and research activities in universities, institutions, laboratories and home use. For more visit: https://www.isolab.de/
  • Triangulate Labs – Based in South Florida, Triangulate Labs created Skinmap™ to find skin cancer early. Skin cancer kills someone every five minutes. When discovered early, skin cancer is easily treated. Skinmap digitizes skin to save lives. For more visit: https://www.triangulatelabs.com/

“The addition of so many international companies to Global Ventures brings new intellectual and financial capital to South Florida while creating job opportunities for FAU students and alumni well as existing residents. The impact is overwhelmingly positive for this region,” stated Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU.

Companies are served within Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic for two (2) years, accessing resources at Florida Atlantic University’s campus, networking opportunities and introduction to relevant businesses before expanding out of the incubator to the South Florida business community.

This month, two (2) companies will graduate from the initiative, having leveraged its resources for growth and success, reaching new heights.

  • FloSpine – An industry leader in spinal implants, the company is graduating after securing its fourth FDA device clearance. It now has six (6) issued patents with three (3) additional patents pending. FloSpine’s staff of seven (7) includes four (4) FAU alumni. Recognized in 2022 as one of the 50 Florida Companies to Watch by GrowFL, FloSpine has built strong relationships in the South Florida healthcare community and will expand to larger facilities within the Research Park at FAU itself. For more visit: https://flospine.com/

 

Peter Harris, Founder and CEO of FloSpine, said, “We are extremely grateful for the guidance and opportunities we received from Global Ventures. The support from their management team has been tremendous in helping accelerate FloSpine’s growth. We look forward to continued collaboration with Global Ventures.”

  • Gustie Creative – Gustie is a leading disruptive retail solutions provider for brands, businesses, agencies and nonprofits. The company develops, markets and sells design and strategy products and services. Gustie is graduating after completing research and development, obtaining three copyrights, publishing two business workbooks and launching Create Disruptive Retail, a mobile design platform devoted to creating disruptive retail solutions for a global user. Gustie has a new office in Boca Raton and will expand nationwide. For more visit: https://gustiecreative.com/

“While at Global Ventures, Gustie gained global recognition as a disruptive retail thought leader, and the company’s next stage of growth includes launching a SaaS learning platform for Disruptive Retail,” said Karen S. Herman, CEO and Design Director of Gustie Creative.

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® is home to technology companies and research-based organizations working to support the research and development activities of Florida Atlantic University and to foster economic development and broaden the economic base of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Research Park at FAU hosts Global Ventures, an international soft-landing center for second-stage technology companies and FAU Tech Runway, a South Florida public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies. The Research Park at FAU is a 70-acre destination for R&D companies to thrive, established in 1985, it is widely regarded as South Florida’s laboratory for new entrepreneurial ideas and technologies. The Research Park at FAU is governed by the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, an independent special district created by Palm Beach and Broward counties in partnership with Florida Atlantic University, organized under Chapter 159, Part V, Florida Statues.

To learn more about Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, visit https://www.research-park.org/

By Nikki Cabus

Research Park at FAU recently announced the launch of The Smartest Place initiative

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The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® (the “Research Park at FAU”) recently announced the launch of The Smartest Place, an initiative to partner with FAU’s Institute for Sensing and Embedded Networks Systems Engineering (“I-SENSE”), creating a physical place for emerging IoT technologies to blend with real-time infrastructure, testing new technologies and locate deployment teams addressing common objectives.

Strategically located in Boca Raton, at the center of South Florida – the ninth largest metro area in the US – and adjacent to FAU’s flagship campus and leveraging a multi-million dollar, multi-year National Science Foundation (“NSF”) Engineering Research Center (“ERC”) grant to Florida Atlantic University along with four other collaborating universities and colleges, to create a rich ecosystem of streetscape applications built upon real-time, hyper-local intelligence to advance livable, safe, and inclusive communities, the Research Park at FAU will become a natural home and living test bed for the next generation of real-world smart infrastructure.

“We are excited to launch The Smartest Place initiative,” said Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU.

“We’re determined to bring the right partners to the Research Park at FAU and will be providing common shared office and laboratory space which will be set aside for participating smart infrastructure and IoT technology companies to use on a part-time or full-time basis.  In addition, we will aide in the deployment and trial use partners’ solutions and technology.”

The Research Park at FAU is creating a place for emerging IoT technologies to blend with real-world infrastructure, offering flexible office space to become not only a place to trial technologies but a place for companies to locate engineering and deployment teams in collaboration with their peers to address the needs and objectives of the NSF grant.

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® is home to technology companies and research-based organizations working to support the research and development activities of Florida Atlantic University and to foster economic development and broaden the economic base of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Research Park at FAU hosts Global Ventures, an international soft-landing center for second-stage technology companies and FAU Tech Runway, a South Florida public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies.

The Research Park at FAU is a 70-acre destination for R&D companies to thrive, established in 1985, it is widely regarded as South Florida’s laboratory for new entrepreneurial ideas and technologies. The Research Park at FAU is governed by the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, an independent special district created by Palm Beach and Broward counties in partnership with Florida Atlantic University, organized under Chapter 159, Part V, Florida Statues.

A primary benefit of locating in the Research Park at FAU is the ability to collaborate with FAU’s research faculty and student body: Smartest Place partners will have the opportunity to work with I-SENSE faculty and equipment as well as commercial real-world spaces to deploy and study the outcomes of the technology.

“The Research Park at FAU has been a critical partner for I-SENSE since the institute’s inception in 2015. Today, we could not be more excited to see this partnership strengthened even further. The Smartest Place initiative reflects an incredible opportunity to deliver new tools and services to Research Park at FAU tenants, while fostering the future of public space, public interest technologies through the new NSF ERC for Smart Streetscapes (CS3). Access to this proving ground is an absolute game changer,” stated Jason Hallstrom, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director of I-SENSE (currently on IPA assignment).

FAU’s College of Engineering is among the top three fastest improving engineering colleges in the United States, sitting in the increasingly important South Florida marketplace. South Florida is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States, rich in diversity and with a technology aware population in close proximity to the Latin America markets.

The IoT M2M Council, or “IMC,” is the largest community of qualified IoT adopters constantly measuring the pulse of their 25,000 rank-and-file members. They will be partnering with Florida Atlantic University. The IMC is comprised of companies providing solutions from all parts of the global Iot/M2M ecosystem as Sustaining Members. The organization has brought together large-scale connectivity providers, more dedicated network operators, systems integrators, equipment manufacturers, and chipware maker giants.

“Our data shows that the biggest hurdle the industry faces is getting IoT projects from proof-of-concept to larger scale, so the IoT sector needs more initiatives like The Smartest Place at Research Park at Florida Atlantic University®,” says IMC Executive Director Keith Kreisher. “We look forward to cooperating with industry participants of the Research Park at FAU initiative by providing access to IMC’s digital media channels and events in order to share The Smartest Place research, use cases, and success stories.”

IMC Adopter Members are qualified individuals that deploy IoT/M2M technology at companies as diverse as Fedex, Hyundai, Siemens Medical, Tata Group, Saudi Aramco, and the US Department of Defense. As of this writing, the IMC can claim to be the largest and fastest-growing IoT/M2M organization in the world, with over 25,000 Adopter Members on four continents, and growing at a rate of 300 Adopters per week.

The Iot Evolution Expo team will also be partnering with Florida Atlantic University. The recently hosted FAU at the expo in February as part of the larger annual ITEXPO to help make the announcement publicly. From IoT location solutions to securing the supply chain, IoT Evolution focuses on the IoT use cases around automation, security ESG, healthcare and more. There focus has been on AI and analytics and the role that plays in launching new innovative IoT solutions.

“The team from IoT Evolution Expo has been dedicated to fostering and growing the IoT ecosystem and South Florida market for many years. As the organizers of IoT Evolution, the industry’s longest continuously running annual trade show and educational event focused on IoT held each year in Fort Lauderdale, we were pleased to host the Research Park at FAU as they made their announcement from our keynote stage,” said Carl Ford, co-founder of IoT Evolution and conference co-chair. “As a trusted partner in the IoT ecosystem, IoT Evolution is delighted to collaborate with the Research Park at FAU as it creates a South Florida destination for IoT innovators.”

Interested IoT or smart infrastructure companies should contact Ryan Lilly at SmartestPlace@Research-Park.org or by telephone at +1 561-416-6092 Ext. 1401.

By Adam Ross

FAU Entrepreneur Boot Camp – Boca Raton Campus

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or ready to take your existing business to the next level, the Entrepreneur Boot Camp is for you. Upon completion of the Boot Camp, you will be prepared to enter the prestigious FAU Business Pitch Competition** or the FAU Tech Runway Venture Program and compete to fund your business. ** Must have one FAU student on team to compete in BPC.

Through 24 contact hours, Entrepreneur Boot Camp students learn:
-How to deliver value to your customer.
-How to validate an effective business model.
-How to write an effective business plan.
-How to pitch a plan to investors.
-How to determine sales methods and how to project sales revenues and expenses.
-How to find seed funding for your new venture.
-How to enter a business plan in the prestigious FAU Business Pitch Competition and compete for seed funding

In addition, Entrepreneur Boot Camp students will:
-Discover the most effective research tools available, from using databases in researching competition to understanding customer segments.
-Learn how to create a valuable marketing plan.
-Learn how to gain investor attention from family and friends, crowdsourcing, SBA, and institutional funding.

Course Overview
Entrepreneur Boot Camp is made up of eight sessions and includes access to mentor consultation. All participants will receive a Florida Atlantic University Certificate upon satisfactory completion of all sessions as well as assignments and class discussions. To receive the FAU certificate, unexcused class absences must not exceed two (2) sessions and participants must be on time. In-person attendance preferred but Zoom option available.

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FAU Entrepreneur Boot Camp – Boca Raton Campus