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By Nikki Cabus

BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners

Read Time 4 Minutes

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 Riley Kaminer

NBA legend Chris Bosh highlights the benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset in a Broward College speech

Read Time 3 Minutes

Last week, NBA Hall of Famer and former power forward for the Miami Heat Chris Bosh addressed the South Florida community about the role technology and entrepreneurship have played in his life.

In a talk hosted by Broward College at their Bailey Hall auditorium, Chris Bosh reiterated the message to dream big and don’t give up. He told attendees that they should not let preconceptions deter them from pursuing ambitious goals. 

Bosh was exposed to coding at a young age thanks to his tech-savvy parents. As a child, he said that he “began to notice that the world around me was spinning on an axis powered by varying patterns of 1s and 0s.”

“We’d be fools to ignore the power of mastering the designing and coding of those patterns,” he said in an op-ed for Wired. “If brute physical strength ran one era, and automation the next, this is the only way we can keep up. Most jobs of the future will be awarded to the ones who know how to code.”

Bosh also shared some insights from his 2021 book, Letters to a Young Athlete, in which he compiled lessons he learned from his years in the NBA and beyond. His basketball career was cut short due to an unexpected health condition. His career, which at the time was at its peak, ended “in a doctor’s office in the middle of the afternoon,” said Bosh. But now seven years into his post-NBA career, Bosh is keeping himself busy with entrepreneurship.

The portion of the event that was open to the public consisted of a 30-minute talk moderated by Carlos Parra, Broward College’s Senior Director of Student Engagement. 

In the private fireside chat, Bosh shared his own entrepreneurial journey and the benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset on and off the court. In attendance were many early-stage tech founders from BCEx, the Broward College Entrepreneurial Experience, led by Imran Siddiqui​, Associate Vice President of Employment Solutions and BCEx at Broward College and the Vice Chair of South Florida Tech Hub’s Startup Committee. 

Siddiqui, who​ moderated the fireside chat with Bosh, highlighted a handful of simple but profound thoughts that Bosh shared. For instance, the idea that your friends should want you to succeed, and that young people should surround themselves with people that want them to succeed.

“I had our BCEx students stand up and identify themselves, and [Bosh] was very encouraging about their aspirations,” Siddiqui told South Florida Tech Hub. “He said, ‘I know it’s a long lonely road, but you need to decide how committed you are. And if this is your thing, and if you’re committed, you need to remember that and you need to stay true to it and stay true to yourself and and see it through.’”

Bosh also expressed his view that entrepreneurship is a character-building exercise that can help students build a skill set and resiliency that is necessary for a successful life. This works well with BCEx’s mission, Siddiqui noted, that aims to empower students through business and the cultivation of a lifelong entrepreneurial mindset.

By Riley Kaminer

Spotlight on Our Startup Committee

Read Time 3 Minutes

From northern Palm Beach county to southern Miami-Dade, startups are popping up at a dizzying rate. 

Tech Hub South Florida understands that these fledgling companies are the backbone of our region’s innovation ecosystem. The organization’s recently-formed Startup Committee aims to foster a strong community within our region’s startup scene, promoting collaboration and shared success across South Florida. 

Central to the Committee’s mission is championing issues facing startups. That includes finding initial customers, securing funding, and connecting with mentors.

One tangible way the Startup Committee has already begun to help founders in our community is through the creation of a digital repository of everything founders need to know about the South Florida tech ecosystem. The webpage includes information about local development councils, where to find coworking spaces, and details around some of the region’s top accelerator programs. It also highlights corporations that are deeply involved in the growth of South Florida’s tech ecosystem.

Crucially, Tech Hub is taking a regional approach to the development of the startup ecosystem. Sarah Lucas, Chair of the Startup Committee and COO of Boca-based New World Angels, noted the novelty of this approach: “While innovation and ingenuity know no geographic limits, efforts to support entrepreneurship in South Florida have generally been constrained by city, county, or institutional boundaries.”

She continued, “Collaboration across counties that includes participation from economic development agencies, research institutions, early stage investors, entrepreneurial support organizations and others is critical to making sure that South Florida has staying power as a technology hub.”

Ultimately, Lucas said that this initiative is all about making founders feel at home in the region. “It’s my hope that our efforts will aid any founder in South Florida, whether they are new to the area or have lived here for many years, in accessing and navigating the many resources available to support in their success.”

Imran Siddiqui, District Director for BCEx at Broward College and Vice Chair of the Startup Committee, said that he finds it “rewarding to be a part of a regional effort that connects across our tri-county area to build entrepreneurship and diversify our economy.”

Siddiqui, a native South Floridian who left the region for law school but “made it a point to return back home,” said that he sees his involvement on the committee as a rewarding way to connect with “like-minded leadership from Jupiter to Miami.” 

A diverse set of stakeholders in the regional tech ecosystem sit on the Startup Committee, including venture capitalists, incubator/accelerator leaders, entrepreneurs, community builders, leaders in higher education, and corporate innovators. 

For example, Committee members Maria Dominguez, Site Director of CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) Miami, and Bob Nelson, Founder of VMT (Venture Mentoring Team), are working with Monica Rojas, Member & Inclusion Specialist from Tech Hub to implement regional mentoring hours for our startup founders. And John Wensveen of the Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation is helping to develop a physical space in the middle of our region that can be ground zero for high-tech startups.

Rojas said, “the Tech Hub team would like to thank our most involved committee members to date such as New World Angels, Broward College’s BCeX, Endeavor Miami, Refresh Miami, FAU Tech Runway, The Venture Mentoring Team (VMT), Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation, Founders Institute, aire ventures, CIC Miami, Startup Grind, and Miami-Dade Beacon Council. We appreciate your efforts in helping build South Florida’s Tech and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.” 

Tech Hub South Florida realizes that it is important to hear the voices of a wide range of stakeholders in the ecosystem, and urges South Floridians interested in taking part in this rapidly-growing initiative to get in touch.

BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners
NBA legend Chris Bosh highlights the benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset in a Broward College speech
Spotlight on Our Startup Committee