Business Plan Challenge announces semifinalists


What’s next

•  We’ll be announcing the finalists in the High School Track next Monday.

•  Also next Monday, we’ll be launching the People’s Pick competition, where the top six contenders in the Community Track and FIU Track give their elevator pitches. You vote.

•  The winners of the judges’ awards and the People’s Picks will be announced in a special report on May 6.

There is never a shortage of entrepreneurial spirit in South Florida. Entries to our 15th Annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge poured in, making cases for businesses in nearly every industry imaginable.

This year’s Challenge, sponsored by Florida International University’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, drew a record number of entries — 238 in all — and our judges said they saw a lot of creative and innovative ideas. But to really shine in the Business Plan Challenge, a good idea is never enough. The judges also need to see a smart business plan for execution.

Our judges rated written entries for market opportunity, business model, management team, marketing strategy, financials and more. We will be happy to share the judges’ feedback after the Challenge is over on May 6. Just email with your request.

With no further ado, today we announce the semifinalists in the Community and FIU Tracks. We will announce our High School Track finalists next week. And the semifinalists are:

Community Track

•  AdMobilize, by Rodolfo Saccoman. Utilizing proprietary portals, dashboards and metrics, AdMobilize creates two new advertising networks, transforming passenger vehicles and iPads into moving billboards.

•  Arctico, by Nestor Villalobos. Company’s purified ice in single-serving tamper-proof packaging allows consumers to cool their drinks using the expertly engineered slow-melting ice in places where they may not trust local sources.

•  Dog-E-Glow, by Gregory Brauser, creates and sells a high-end line of LED designed pet collars, leashes and other pet accessories featuring collegiate sports and other licensed logo designs.

•  iCare Intelligence, by John Suarez. iCare, currently in beta testing, delivers cloud-based performance management solutions and analytics for the purpose of controlling healthcare expenses.

•  Kitchen Popups, by Lauren Casgren-Tindall and Mauricia Ragland. People who follow a restrictive diet (vegan, gluten-free, Paleo, raw, etc.) find it difficult to dine outside the home due to a lack of food options. KP will curate an online network for people to share meals, while cross-selling related goods and services on its platform.

•  Lean Culinary Services, by Scott Harris and Olga Kuzenkov, offers DeliverLean, a healthy meal delivery service that combines flavor, quality balance and portion control, and OnJuice, a cold-pressed juice and cleanse line.

•  Make Them BEG, by Jessica Kizorek and Michelle Villalobos, offers an extensive virtual training curriculum and a monthly magazine developed to teach the self-employed how to create an irresistible personal brand.

•  Miami Winery Project, by Patrick Charpentier, Jerome Hayfil and Charles Mac Caffrey, includes a wine-bottling facility in Miami that would bottle wines imported in bulk from Argentina, Chile, France, Spain and Italy, allowing a 30 percent to 40 percent cost savings on the finished product.

•  Munchkin Fun Classes, by Valerie Schimel. This mompreneur’s company provides a single destination for parents to find, enroll in and pay for kids’ classes. It partners with marquis local businesses.

•  PAPA Systems, by Len Loffler. This patented and prototyped shock-reducing boat suspension deck platform, which is mounted on the deck of a boat, reduces the harmful stress on the spine of the occupants of a small boat in choppy water.

•  Playapy, by Amy Baez. This online child development resource for parents and educators of children up to 12 years of age offers ways to improve play and learn skills as well as access tips, videos and therapy professionals directly.

•  spendLO, by Corey Leff and Kristin Delaney. spendLO’s web-based (and soon to be mobile) service-request platform enables consumers to “name their price” on any service. Pre-qualified local vendors can submit bids within the consumers’ budgets.

•  Synergist, by Jared Kleinert. This web software platform helps social entrepreneurs build a network of people around common ideas to improve society, collaborate in a free shared workspace, and fund their movements.

FIU Track

•  Bowling and Family Entertainment Center, by Joshua Kaufman. This upscale family-oriented 40-lane computerized bowling facility would feature billiards, video arcade games, apparel and pro shop, bowling training facility, restaurant and bar.

•  Deubre, by John Romney, David Lewis and Paul Hoffmann. Deubre provides easily interchangeable Designer Shoe Lace Tags to style-conscious individuals.

•  Energy Consortium of the Americas, by Brian Zirulnikoff, Roberto Flores and Matthew Mecsery. An interactive web-based platform provides the average person with the technologies, know-how, installation, financing options and a computer application that will help establish a trainable, independent energy-auditing workforce.

•  EyeTalk, by Pia Celestino, Viurniel Sanchez, Esam Mashni and Jesus Amundarain, offers an affordable pair of eye glasses that allow people with severe vision impairment to hear the text in books, newspapers, menus, product packages and other items in a multitude of languages.

•  5K PARK Fest, by Marlene Quincoces and Humberto Casanova. This is a community event and fund-raising platform that promotes kindness, civic engagement and a healthy and active lifestyle.

•  Goodbun, by Daniel del Campo and Alec Fernandez. Rethinking the term “fast food,” Goodbun will offer burgers, fries, wraps and snacks that are tasty, convenient — and healthy.

•  Grounds to Ground, by Yvette Tablada and Andres De La Puente. The company’s mission is to create a green sustainable soil conditioner and insect repellent made from recycled coffee waste.

•  I Know Science, by Gabriela M. Brown. IKS offers a purposeful and fun after-school program for children in kindergarten through 5th grade to spark curiosity and a lifelong love of science through engaging and interactive labs.

•  Instant Islands, by Ryan S. Weier and Steven Weier. Engineered steel-reinforced concrete structures, or islands, would surround and protect environmentally sensitive areas such as sea grass beds and natural reefs from boat anchors and storm damage.

•  RingFit, by Charles Stack Sr., Rafael Crespo, Carmine Tufano and Charles Stack Jr. A workout program developed by real fighters and trainers in boxing focused on maximizing a person’s all-around athletic ability and performance.

•  Upsigo, by Carlos and Kari Edde, is an online platform designed for the dynamic negotiation of cargo between the shipper (freight forwarders) and carrier companies (cargo airlines, ocean carriers), which improves the way companies in the air and ocean cargo industry collaborate.

•  U.S. Radiology, by Michael Cabrera. A network of free-standing diagnostic imaging centers will provide scheduling services to payers, imaging centers and patients — initially in Florida and more specifically to the workers’ compensation marketplace.

Read more Business Plan Challenge stories from the Miami Herald

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