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By Nikki Cabus

GovCon Giants honored among South Florida’s 50 Most Powerful and Influential Black Business Leaders 2024

Read Time 3 Minutes

Legacy South Florida Magazine, a part of M•I•A Media Group, announced their “50 Most Powerful and Influential Black Business Leaders for 2024” and we are proud to share that South Florida Tech Hub member Eric Coffie made the list. 

Ft. Lauderdale-based M•I•A Media Group LLC is one of the nation’s largest Black publishers of its kind, with more than one million readers bi-monthly. The company publishes Legacy Miami, Legacy South Florida and M•I•A magazines. Legacy Miami and Legacy South Florida are business/news publications serving South Florida’s Black community with insightful articles and information on business, careers, politics, education, culture and social commentary. Founded by Dexter Bridgeman in 2004, the publications are distributed through the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel newspapers.

On Saturday, May 18th, M•I•A Media Group celebrated their 20th anniversary with a black-tie gala held at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Legacy South Florida magazine has been at the forefront of showcasing and recognizing South Florida’s Black affluencers and influencers for two decades, providing indispensable business and public affairs multimedia content throughout the region.  This milestone coincides with the unveiling of Legacy’s annual list honoring South Florida’s “The Most Influential & Powerful Black Professionals Of 2024.” These distinguished leaders represented a multitude of industries from legal to retail to technology and many others.

One of those leaders was Eric Coffie, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at GovCon Giants, who says his mission in life is to “help small businesses achieve overwhelming success in the federal marketplace.” After the real estate market crashed in 2007 Coffie launched a successful consulting company helping small business owners earn millions in revenues via federal small business programs. Then, he decided he wanted to help even more small businesses to the very same. In August 2016, GovCon Giants was born.

“I’m excited that I’ve been named one of the 50 Most Powerful and Influential Black Business Leaders for 2024 by Legacy Miami Magazine,” shared Coffie.

“Being on this list inspires me to keep making a positive impact and helping others succeed. Thank you to Legacy Miami Magazine, and everyone who has believed in me!”

Govcon Giants has been providing resources to help small business owners successfully grow their federal division. The organization’s goal is to guide and educate small businesses through the black box of federal contracting. Govcon Giants provides resources and customized training for small business owners to determine critical decisions needed to register, identify, negotiate and win federal contracts. Eric offers a free government contracting course for those interested in learning what it takes to get started.

Eric Coffie is also the host of the #1 YouTube channel, GovCon Giants, providing government contracting education. He is a life-changing coach who has helped thousands of people win contracts with the US government. His YouTube channel, Govcon Giants, teaches entrepreneurs how to navigate and succeed in the federal government arena.

“We are excited to celebrate black folks creating opportunities and making inroads in a region where traffic is not the only overwhelming force. At times, the fight for economic dignity is equally frustrating,” said Dinkinish O’Connor, Editor-in-Chief of Legacy Magazines. “What inspires me about many of the people featured in this issue was their resilience and ability to rise despite challenge after challenge.”

The publication also featured a Bea Hines-authored tribute to the late Nancy Ancrum, immediate past Pulitzer Prize-award-winning Miami Herald editorial director.

“Power is in one’s resilience. Nancy showed us that,” Dinkinish continued. “A beloved and indomitable force in journalism, Nancy died shortly and unexpectedly after retiring from The Miami Herald after 40 years of service. She was my editor and my friend.”

Additionally, ODP Corporation, parent company of Office Depot, was recognized with the “Corporate Citizenship Award.” The Boca Raton-based parent company of Office Depot, often partner with community organizations that distribute funding and resources back into the community such as Boys & Girls Clubs, Mark Cuban Foundation’s AI Bootcamp, and South Florida Tech Hub. ODP also launched the nonprofit, Elevate Together, which encourages and supports success among Black & Hispanic-owned small businesses.

To see the full list of this year’s South Florida leaders, visit miamediagrp.com or click here.

 

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

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready opens new round of grant funding

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Verizon just announced that a new grant funding opportunity for small businesses, totaling $500,000, is now available via Verizon Small Business Digital Ready.

In partnership with partners Next Street and LISC, the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready online resource is designed to give small businesses the tools they need to thrive in today’s digital economy. Small businesses can access, for free, personalized learning through over 40 courses, mentorship, peer networking, 1:1 expert coaching and incentives such as grant funding. There are over 30 online courses on digital readiness, finance, operations and more and more than 200 live and virtual events to connect with experts and peers.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Verizon.

“We developed the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal to give small businesses tools and resources that can help them succeed and, ultimately, help benefit their local economies.”

The Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal was created with and for small businesses, with a specific focus on helping diverse and under-resourced business owners. Starting March until May 12, 2023, small businesses can unlock the application for this round of grant funding by first registering on Verizon Small Business Digital Ready, available at www.verizon.com/smallbusinessdigitalready, and completing at least two of the following, in any combination: courses, live coaching or community events. Small businesses that complete the application will be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant.

“We had taken a Verizon Small Business Digital Ready course on social media and wanted to invest in digital marketing. And we were fortunate to receive a Verizon Small Business Digital Ready grant,” said Joe Alvarez, co-founder of iCareClean. “With the grant funds, we funded marketing projects and placed ads in online search results and on social media, all of which have significantly helped our sales efforts.”

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready includes courses designed to provide essential knowledge and tools, including topics such as developing a marketing strategy, marketing with influencers, creating a content calendar, and the basics of building your business website. The free portal also includes access to mentorship, providing small business owners with the opportunity to obtain ongoing advice and support from experienced professionals who can help them overcome business challenges. Spanish language course offerings, coaching from experts and community events are also available.

In an effort to help launch the next round of grants and support the small business community, Verizon welcomed hundreds of entrepreneurs for StartUP FIU’s Small Business Kick-Off presented by Bank of America this past week. Merdochey LaFrance, Director, Local Engagement (State & Local Government Affairs) at Verizon, moderated a discussion on Digital Equity for Small Business Panel which explored the importance of digital equity for small businesses in today’s digital age.

She was joined by panelists Martu E. Freeman-Parker, Director of Fashion Business Development at Mana Common, Steven Banasiak, Broker Associate at Baron Real Estate, Dr. J. Chris Ford,
Mission-to-Market Manager at FU, and Nikki Cabus, CEO at South Florida Tech Hub, who discussed the challenges small businesses face in accessing digital resources, strategies to create a level playing field for all businesses, and the potential long-term effects of building equity for small businesses.

This initiative is part of Verizon’s goal to support 1M small businesses by 2030 with the resources to thrive in the digital economy as part of its responsible business plan, Citizen Verizon.

Visit CitizenVerizon.com to learn more about the company’s responsible business efforts.

 

GovCon Giants honored among South Florida’s 50 Most Powerful and Influential Black Business Leaders 2024
FAU Adams Center Director Wins Best Paper at National Conference
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready opens new round of grant funding