Advice from the judges


In coming weeks, we’ll keep adding to this list so check back often!

"Entrepreneurs have the ability to make changes and decisions quickly . Focus on activities and processes that are generating results and growing your business.  Einstein said,

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." As the CEO (Chief Everything Officer), you have to be strategic and efficient with your time."

Sal Feradas, High School Track


"Start by producing something that people can give you feedback on. Whether it's a drawing on paper or a physical prototype. Learn from that, and build it again. And again. And again."

Wifredo Fernandez, High School Track


"When you are creating a business, customer "development" is just as important as product development.  You have to start it just as early and it takes as much work as creating the product will.  You want to have customers ready to take the product as soon as you launch it."

John Fleming, FIU Track


"Sales and marketing has evolved from "push" to "pull" to now "customer experience". Defining the value proposition for the customer has become increasingly complex and important for early stage companies. Successful startups pick the customer segment they want to address rather than blindly following a market leader."

Robert Hacker, FIU Track


"The stand-out business plan entries typically have three elements – they define the problem their business is solving, clearly explain the solution, and provide tangible details as to why they have the ability to make the business a success."

Melissa Krinzman, Community Track


"As an entrepreneur, you will work harder than you ever thought possible and savor every minute. Surround yourself with a capable, energetic team and you will succeed."

Mercy San Miguel, High School Track


"The most important thing is not the idea, many ideas have been repeated over time - some with great success others catastrophically. The most important is the execution of that idea. No matter how innovative or simple your concept is, if you are resilient, work hard and constantly look for practical ways to move forward - there will be nothing you as an entrepreneur or business owner cannot accomplish."

Heather Schwarz-Lopes, FIU Track


"Miami is quickly emerging as perhaps Florida’s most significant hotbed for exciting, promising startups.   The other great news is that the entrepreneurial support community is growing just as fast so startups teams need to definitely reach out and tap into all of these readily available, valuable resources".   

Rob Strandberg, Community Track


"Let your passion shine through. Believe in yourself and your idea. Listen to advice from experienced entrepreneurs. Never give up!"

Joanie Stringer, High School Track


“Allocate resources and invest in professional services up front.  You will either pay now or pay later for accountants and attorneys.  Trust me:  now is better."

Mike Tomas, Community Track


"When thinking about your start-up business and creating your business plan, take into consideration the four pillars of a successful endeavor: 1) management – whether you are solo or you are part of a team – will you be able to exude the confidence necessary to execute the plan? What makes you and your team strong?;  2) the concept – is the product or service unique? Does it provide a solution to a problem? Who is your customer? What is the competition?;  3) financials – how do you plan to make money? How much are you going to charge for your product? How much is it going to cost you to produce and market?  What are your operating costs? What will it take to scale? Are your expectations realistic?; and 4) longer term vision – how do you see the venture evolving in a few years? Will you sell the company? Is your plan to expand geographically? Add additional products or services?  Franchise?  You need to have and convey clearly what do you see in the future for your venture."

Ricardo Weisz, FIU Track



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