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By Nikki Cabus

BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners

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Broward College Entrepreneurial Experience (BCEx) helps program participants achieve their dreams. Those dreams were celebrated at the inaugural BCEx 2022 Showcase in Coconut Creek on November 17th – just in time for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Due to the pandemic and primarily virtual programming, the BCEx Showcase was the first in person event for current and past cohorts in 2 years.  The launch of the first cohort was summer 2020.

The celebration was the culmination of another successful year at BCEx and awarding community leaders, volunteers and supporters of the program’s mission. The program has been supported by fiserv and Bank United.

BCEx is Broward College’s lean launchpad startup and small business accelerator. Different from most accelerators, participants are majority female and many are minorities coming from underrepresented communities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Participants in BCEx receive support through six main strategies: Campus Accelerators and Events at Broward College, Student Learning at Broward College, the Innovation Hub at Broward College, LaunchBC – the BCEx business accelerator, the J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund, and Partnership Opportunities with Broward College.

BCEx doesn’t just support entrepreneurs, but empowers participants from students to faculty and community members through business and the cultivation of a lifelong entrepreneurial mindset. The mindset is key to the success of the program. The event featured a panel titled “Intrapreneurship in the Workplace” where four Broward College staff members (all women) shared how BCEx programs helped them take their careers to the next level. Panelists included Deborah Pinnock DebTalk LLC, Carole Hargrett, PhD, CEO of CDH Florida Groupo, Julan Samuels, PhD, CEO of IRISAJ Self-Care Hub, and Mitzi Fulwood, Broward College, Director of the iSTEM Center.

The following community supporters including our very own Tech Hub CEO, Nikki Cabus, received recognition and physical plaques for their support of the program:

  • BCEx Champion of the Year 2022: Fiserv / Shane Caldwell, BankUnited/Katrina Wright, Amazon/ Angelica Santibanez, Florida Panthers/Rob Stevenson, South Florida Tech Hub/Nikki Cabus
  • BCEx Advocate of the Year 2022: Dr. Mildred Coyne
  • BCEx Trailblazer of the Year 2022: Terry Bentley/ Mike O’Donnell
  • BCEx Academic Innovator of the Year 2022: Dr. Jamonica Rolle/Dr. Paul Moore
  • BCEx Faculty Coordinator of the year 2022: Joshua Kimber, Rudy Jean Bart, Trish Joyce, Andrea Apa

“I’m passionate about uplifting, empowering, and encouraging others; so, it was an honor to take part in BCEx’s Showcase, which was all about that! It was inspiring to be in a room with others who were empowered and equipped by this Broward College initiative to bring their business ideas to life, or/and improve their businesses if it already existed,” stated Deborah Pinnock, Broward College staff member and BCEx program alum.

“I am also grateful to BCEx for the opportunity I got to be part of a panel with passionate, powerful and authentic women, sharing on a topic that was substantive: entrepreneurship vs intrapreneurship. If you replace intrapreneur and entrepreneur with courageous, creative, problem solvers, it’s easy to understand why the right mindset is vital.

Imran Siddiqui, Associate Vice President of Broward College’s Employment Solutions division and BCEx, believes that the entrepreneurial mindset can change lives.

In his role he supports Senior Vice President, Mildred Coyne in building a revolutionary approach to higher-ed job placement with a goal of effectively transforming Broward College into a high-level job placement agency. He also oversees all entrepreneurship activity related to BCEx, the Broward College Innovation Hub and the J. David Armstrong Student Venture Fund.

BCEx has hosted notable events such as a a fireside chat with Chris Bosh, NBA legend and author of “Letters to a Young Athlete” and recently selected as the inaugural site for the Perkins V Entrepreneurship Education and Training Grant (EET). They have also received high-impact grants to help Broward College students, faculty, and staff cultivate their entrepreneurial mindset and turn their ideas into reality by launching high-quality businesses at little-to-no cost. Started in 2018, BCEx helps participants innovate, create, and prepare for the future of work through mentorship, coaching, funding, and training.

Learn more about the upcoming 12-week FREE-of-charge BCEx Lean Launchpad Accelerator coming Feb 2023. BCEx is accepting applicants for Cohort 6 this Spring and those that want to turn their start-up into reality while building your business foundation. Students, faculty, staff, and the community are encouraged to participate. There are only 20 SPOTS so act now and don’t miss out!

By Nikki Cabus

$1M in grants were awarded to underrepresented founders; 4 in South Florida

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Just in time for this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations (November 14 – 20, 2022), the recipients of the Antares REACH Grant Program were announced and four South Florida startups made the list!

Presented in partnership with Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Antares Capital will provide small businesses grants to help them grow and scale. This initiative awarded $20,000 grants totaling $1 million to 40 historically underrepresented entrepreneurs including women, people of color, military-affiliated, persons with disabilities, or LGBTQ+.

Antares Capital aspires to increase representation in business by leveraging the organizations” financial resources and leadership skill sets to provide capital and support underrepresented entrepreneurs. The funds will support businesses as they prepare for the next stage of growth.

“Each grant recipient underscores REACH’s core mission of supporting diverse and historically underrepresented founders and ensuring they have the resources needed to expand their businesses,” said Mary (Gaede) Rose, managing director and head of the REACH program at Antares.

“We are thrilled to support these companies and enhance the flow of capital at a foundational level, expanding diversity in the ecosystem of business on the pathway toward private equity.”

This announcement comes just one year after women-founded companies received less than 2 percent of capital invested in VC-backed startups in the US, and Black-owned startups received just over 1 percent. REACH aims to address this discrepancy by expanding access to capital for these historically underrepresented groups at their earliest foundational stages.

Of the recipients, which were chosen from a pool of over 100,000 applications, 90 percent are businesses led by individuals of color, and 88 percent are led by females or gender non-conforming persons. Companies from over a dozen varied industries led by founders from 4 distinct generations are represented. The founders will use the grants to introduce products, expand their regional presence, and further promote a positive social impact within the communities in which they operate.

The four South Florida startups who made the list are:

  1. 2ndVault | Fort Lauderdale, FL | Jaclyn Strauss & Nicole Mayer
  2. Caribshopper | Davie, FL | Kadion Preston
  3. Rohi’s Readery | West Palm Beach, FL | Pranati (Pranoo) Kumar
  4. Tappas | Miami, FL | Sandra Portal-Andreu

Jaclyn Strauss, a licensed CPA in Florida for over 15 years, was given a second chance at life after experiencing a life-threatening condition while giving birth to her second child. Jaclyn has taken this second chance and allowed it to fuel her passion for helping others through the mission of tech startup 2nd Vault.

“Receiving the REACH grant is instrumental in enhancing our current digital vault by allowing us to further financially invest in our robust technology solution to cater to the business customer that serves hundreds, if not thousands, of clients daily,” said Strauss. “2ndVault could not be more grateful that Antares realized our value and, more importantly, the impact that we will have on the greater community. Thank you to both Antares Reach and Hello Alice. You have provided two female co-founders with a huge spark to continue fueling their passion.”

To qualify, businesses must have a viable product or service with less than $5M in annual revenue and they must be operated by entrepreneurs of historically underrepresented groups. In addition to the $20,000 grant, all recipients will be eligible to receive an additional $5,000 grant after completing a post-grant report demonstrating how the grant has impacted their business.. They will also be given access to professional development opportunities through Hello Alice.



By Nikki Cabus

Tech Hub and Synapse named statewide organizers for GEW Florida

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Global Entrepreneurship Network announced a collection of individuals to serve as the community organizers to drive engagement in thousands of activities this November to help start and grow startups around the world. Known as Global Entrepreneurship Week, the large-scale campaign is active in 180 countries with roughly 9 million participants in 35,000 activities – ranging from small, casual meetups to massive events and competitions. This year, GEW will take place November 14th – 20th. 

South Florida Tech Hub and Synapse will serve as the GEW Community Organizers for the state of Florida in 2022.

The state organizers tapped by GEN will encourage hundreds of organizations throughout their state to plan and conduct activities during GEW USA. They will also play a role in connecting those organizations and other key stakeholders to expand awareness and enable the participation of communities not traditionally engaged in entrepreneurial activity. 

“Each year, Global Entrepreneurship Week amplifies the great work being done by organizations across the country while connecting them to resources to help scale their companies. We are happy that Tech Hub can help represent our beautiful state of Florida and help bring everyone together around a common cause – entrepreneurship,” said Nikki Cabus, CEO of South Florida Tech Hub.

“We are launching this year’s statewide activities with the inaugural Ignite Florida Startup Summit to be held at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus the weekend of November 11th – 13th. We invite companies, investors, startups, ecosystem builders and anyone in the Florida community to take part. From Miami to Tampa to Tallahassee, we are all Building Florida’s tech and innovation ecosystem.”

The four global themes of GEW 2022 will focus on Ecosystems, Education, Inclusion and Policy. Event organizers are encouraged to consider these themes, but have the flexibility to plan their activity as best they see fit to suit their individual communities needs and interests. 

Organizations anywhere in the United States that are interested in planning and conducting an activity, event or competition during Global Entrepreneurship Week should create a profile and add their event to the official list at

Any individuals or organizations in Florida interested in getting involved in any capacity can reach out at

Florida events can be submitted at

By Riley Kaminer

Global Entrepreneurship Week shines a spotlight on South Florida’s tech scene

Read Time 4 Minutes

As South Florida’s innovation ecosystem continues to grow at a rapid clip, it can be difficult to keep track of the various tech initiatives happening from Miami to Martin County. The recent Global Entrepreneurship Week was no exception. This celebration of entrepreneurship saw a wide range of events, from the practical to the celebratory.

Scroll down to learn about some of the top Global Entrepreneurship Week events in South Florida.


1909 Gala: Taking stock of Palm Beach’s thriving tech scene

The first 1909 Gala, which had a 1900s-themed dress code, was a roaring success. Almost 200 local entrepreneurs and creatives attended to celebrate the West Palm Beach-based innovation hub.

“The 1909 Gala was extra special because it felt like the celebration of all of our efforts over the past 3 years including having to shift all of our programming during a global pandemic,” 1909’s Executive Director, Shana Ostrovitz, told South Florida Tech Hub.

Ostrovitz acknowledged that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Palm Beach County is way more than just tech. “It feels like this is the moment in time we’ve all been waiting for,” she said. “We have a collaborative and supportive community foundation laid and we are starting to see the positive impact and results. Founders are able to find the support resources they need to be successful and sustainable – and they don’t have to move away to do it.”

The event featured a handful of speakers from the Palm Beach entrepreneurship and 1909 community, including Gaida Zirkelback of Sustainabase, Rodrigo Griesi of Neptunya, and Michelle Bakels of G2i.

Mayor Keith A. James of West Palm Beach delivered an opening address in which underscored that the city is an emerging tech hub, and that there is a “special place for entrepreneurs in [his] heart.”

Photos from the 1909 event are courtesy of Koda Creative.


Pitch Night at NSU’s Levan Innovation Center

South Florida Tech Hub hosted a pitch event at the Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation. Levan Center’s headquarters in Davie and the night was sponsored by New World Angels

“The event was a safe space for founders to share their ideas and pitch desks,” said Nikki Cabus, Tech Hub’s interim CEO. “It was a great opportunity for these local startups to get honest feedback and constructive criticism directly from founders, mentors and investors allowing them the the ability to implement impactful changes prior to pitching their ideas to investors.”

The session revolved around helping startups improve their pitches from the founders stage presence to pitch deck design and information and data presented. There was no competition or prize component, and the event’s intimate setting enabled experts to provide the most tangible and constructive advice to those who pitched.

There were around 40 entrepreneurs and business experts in attendance, including New World Angels COO and Tech Hub’s Startup Committee Chair, Sarah Lucas; CEO and CTO of LifeState, Tahl Milburn; local entrepreneur, Jim Green, and Mike Maniscalco, the Chair of Tech Hub’s Startup Founders Peer Group and the founder/CEO of Better Living Technologies.

The Startup Pitch Night lineup included:

  • SafeDate | Sid Klein
  • PadBlock | Alberto Marinas
  • Commin | Ryan Cox
  • Showspace Technologies | Mark Morrison
  • Happy Gift | Jeffry Mauricio Catano
  • Emergency Ventures | Joseph Russo
  • Owwll App | Jason Hill
  • Coally | Andres Joya Mosquera
  • Carevocacy | Stefano Carl Selorio
  • Edutainment | Ola Litkova

Jason Hill, Founder & CEO of the Owwll App, shared that it was his first time pitching his startup. Hill said, “It was amazing to see the Owwll Brand come alive on the big screens.” He continued, “It was truly a honor to have this opportunity to share the journey.”

The Innovation Center’s Chief Innovation Officer, John Wensveen, announced that evening that it was the center’s very first pitch event in their new “pitch room” with a state-of-the-art 18-screen video wall.


Developing the future of South Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

In collaboration with Junior Achievement of South Florida, Tech Hub hosted a panel conversation entitled “Inspiring Our Future Entrepreneurs.”

The JA panelists included Irlanda Velazquez, a current high school student; Isaac Hetzroni, Founder & CEO @ Imprint Genius; and Huguette St Hubert, an intern at South Florida Tech Hub, who all completed entrepreneurship programs with Junior Achievement. 

Additionally, young entrepreneurs from all over The School District of Palm Beach County heard inspirational experiences from area business leaders, thanks to a partnership with Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast. Local business owners and entrepreneurs shared ways students can use the skills they’re learning to prepare for a successful future. A video highlight showcased some of the week’s work.

One of those business leaders was Ryan Boylston, Founder and CEO of 2TON. Ryan leads a team of highly skilled design professionals and technologists that assist clients in increasing business awareness and visibility through creative marketing strategies. Ryan also serves as a City of Delray Beach Commissioner. He took the time to speak to local students at William T. Dwyer High School this year. Boylston stated, “I have a lot of hope for this generation. I think their ceiling is higher than any other generation.”

Are you a local technologist, businessperson, or innovator that is looking to play an active role in developing the future of South Florida’s tech entrepreneurial ecosystem? JA is always looking for partners. “Please support this organization,” said Cabus. “They are your future workforce!”

For more information, visit

BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners
$1M in grants were awarded to underrepresented founders; 4 in South Florida
Tech Hub and Synapse named statewide organizers for GEW Florida
Global Entrepreneurship Week shines a spotlight on South Florida’s tech scene