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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

Verizon & CoLAB support startups with new Health Equity cohort

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VerizoncoLAB are supporting startups working to break down barriers to quality care with solutions leveraging next generation technology. They are currently accepting applications for the Verizon Forward for Good Accelerator’s newest cohort: Health Equity.
For the last 10+ years, coLAB has built and managed a community of over 150k innovators, corporate partners, VCs, universities, community organizations, industry experts, nonprofits, and beyond. Through collaboration, they have done everything from business model innovation for Fortune 500s, to working with the next-generation of startups solving pressing social issues like climate justice.
CoLAB leads with a client-first approach, so programs always deliver on specific goals. CoLAB is proud that they don’t take equity stakes in companies saying that they can focus on making you happy through customization, agility, and better prices than the competition. CoLAB focuses on accelerators, ecosystem development, intrapreneurship, pre-accelerators, and open innovation challenges.
Verizon and CoLAB are supporting startups working to close the gaps in health access and outcomes. The search is one for solutions leveraging next generation technology to break down barriers to quality care.
Over 16 weeks, selected startups will receive $50,000 in non-dilutive funding, hands-on technology coaching, industry mentorship, and additional resources to help scale their technology such as the opportunity to create with the community that you’re building for.

Verizon is looking for U.S-based Seed and Series A startups utilizing technologies like 5G, MEC, XR and AI to advance connected health solutions in:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Capture, Sharing & Analytics
  • Telemedicine
  • Streamlined Virtual Care
  • Medical Transportation
  • Chronic Disease Management & Monitoring
  • Care Coordination & Collaboration
  • Population Health Management
  • Digital Marketplace Enablement
  • Health e-Learning / Education

Health Tech has the potential to unlock a more equitable healthcare system. 5G offers one of the fastest networks ever seen, and can provide higher speed, lower latency and greater capacity than previous cellular networks. It can enhance the abilities of other supporting technologies like edge computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and immersive platforms using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Verizon is accelerating the digital evolution of health with 5G connectivity, data security, and collaboration solutions that are enabling the innovation ecosystem. Selected startups will receive hands-on coaching from a dedicated board of Verizon solution architects and healthcare subject matter experts throughout the program.

Applications are now open, but the deadline is Friday, November 11th. Click here for more info

By Riley Kaminer

Former Bay Area startup experts convene at LAB Miami for Seedfunders pitch competition

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Three startup experts who recently relocated from the Bay Area to South Florida judged an early stage startup pitch at the LAB Miami to compete for a $5,000 investment from Seedfunders Miami.

Seedfunders founder, Dave Chitester, told South Florida Tech Hub that they all didn’t realize the connection until sitting on the judges panel. Technologist and Seedfunders Miami investor Tahl Milburn, Miami Angels Principal Jared Schwitzke, and Silicon Valley Bank executive Derek Barnett judged the startups at the event. All three of these startup experts relocated to South Florida.

Barnett told South Florida Tech Hub that he was attracted to South Florida because it is an emerging tech hub with a lower cost of living, exciting culture, and ideal location near the beach. “Miami and South Florida have an amazing multi-cultural community,” he said. “The community here is very warm and inviting. They want to get to know you and they make you feel welcome.”

Barnett believes that South Florida is at an inflection point. “There are a lot of home grown founders that have been working hard to make the Miami ecosystem great,” he noted. That, combined with the influx of founders from other places, leads to the right conditions for startup success.

South Florida’s inviting environment also attracted Milburn. For our region to continue to grow, Milburn hopes that more technical talent and investors move to our region.

“We don’t have enough senior / strategic technology people in SoFlo at this point,” he told South Florida Tech Hub. “We also don’t have any notable technology-oriented colleges in Florida or enough technology majors.”

Schwitzke also underscored the need of talent in the South Florida market. “It’s no secret that Florida, particularly Southern Florida, lags far behind areas like the Northeast or California when considering the availability of tier-1 computer engineering programs. In order for us to truly rival Silicon Valley, it won’t be enough just to recruit talent; we’ll need to be able to produce it ourselves.”

That said, Schwitzke is still bullish on the South Florida market: “I like Miami because I believe it has the potential to become a global hub (rather than just a North American hub) for early-stage tech. Miami’s ties to Latin America are obvious and need no introduction. And as the Latin American early-stage tech market continues to mature, no city is better positioned than Miami to become the de facto HQ.”

For Barnett, the key to continued success for South Florida’s tech scene will be constantly evolving. “Florida needs a consistent reminder that it is unique and should not try to be like Silicon Valley but keep its own identity.”

“We need to focus on evolving and making each other better,” he added. Barnett also believes we need to focus on developing a startup talent pipeline – as well as enough housing stock to keep providing a high standard of living at a reasonable cost for South Floridians.

Events like these are crucial to helping build and support the tech, innovation and startup ecosystem in South Florida.

Ultimately, Miami-based fintech Dinerazo prevailed. The startup, which focuses on the Hispanic community, has developed an app that aims to make investing easy, low-cost, and transparent. Co-founder and CEO Israel Hernandez, who presented at the event, is a computer scientist and serial entrepreneur.

The other two startups chosen to present at the event were emergency response GovTech startup Emergency Ventures and catering talent marketplace Bookstaff.

Seedfunders founder David Chitester told South Florida Tech Hub that these three startups were chosen from around 25 submissions. “We narrowed it down by focusing on two things. First: Is it investible? And second: Are the founders coachable?”

For Chitester, a company’s investability often boils down to its uniqueness. “If there is a lot of competition already in their space, that means that it’s not unique.”

This event was unique because it featured South Florida companies that are pre-revenue. “At other pitch events, you see companies that are well established, with some revenue,” Chitester noted. He underscored that this event furthers Seedfunders’ unique mission of investing in pre-revenue, scalable tech companies in Florida.

Approximately 40 people were in attendance, with companies given 10 minutes to pitch and then a further 10 minutes for questions and answers. Chitester saw this event as a success for three reasons: it featured high quality companies, had good attendance, and featured a credible group of judges.

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 Adam Ross

Social Innovation Challenge Hosted by LG – The LIFE’S GOOD AWARD

LG’s social innovation challenge is accepting novel ideas from tech talents and innovators worldwide NOW!

LG Electronics’ USD 1M social innovation challenge asks entrants to submit their original and marketable solutions relating to Innovation for the Planet, which targets solutions for environmental health, or Innovation for People, which centers on ideas that can enrich daily life through prioritizing safety, usability, and accessibility. **Applications are open until Oct. 10.

The entries will be thoroughly evaluated in the first screening, and those with the highest marks will go through a second screening carried out by a judging panel composed of selected LG executives and renowned scholars presiding in leading academic institutions. The three finalists will be announced at CES® 2023, and will present to the judging panel in a final pitch session in January.

The first-place winner (Grand Prix) will be awarded USD 700,000 in prize money, and the second (Silver) and third place (Bronze) will receive USD 200,000 and USD 100,000.

BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners
$1M in grants were awarded to underrepresented founders; 4 in South Florida
Verizon & CoLAB support startups with new Health Equity cohort
Former Bay Area startup experts convene at LAB Miami for Seedfunders pitch competition
Tech Hub and Synapse named statewide organizers for GEW Florida
Social Innovation Challenge Hosted by LG – The LIFE’S GOOD AWARD