Real advice, no fluff: That’s what experts at the upcoming Miami Herald Business Plan Bootcamp promise to deliver.
The free event on Feb. 18, held during the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge entry season, will help entrepreneurs getting started in their businesses as well as those who are further along. “Whether you’re applying to the Business Plan Challenge, raising investment capital or thinking about raising capital, the Bootcamp is not to be missed,” says Melissa Krinzman, who will lead a panel discussion with advice on what elements make a winning short business plan, as well as do’s and don’ts when pitching investors.
Krinzman, who has been a judge for the Business Plan Challenge for 10 years, is co-founder and managing partner of Krillion Ventures, a $50 million venture capital fund that invests in emerging technology companies at the seed and venture stages. She is also the founder of Venture Architects, a business planning firm that positions early and growth-stage companies for success in the capital-raising process. Since 1998, Venture Architects has worked with more than 900 companies that have raised more than $1 billion in investment capital.
Her panel of experts will include:
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▪ Leandro Finol, a serial entrepreneur, investor and professor. His first business in the United States was DIREC4U, a company that was formed with very little capital, grew to $76 million in revenue in six years and was sold in 2007. He has recently joined Miami Dade College as the executive director of the Idea Center, where he will work to bring innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to the institution and community. Finol will also be a judge in the Business Plan Challenge High School Track.
▪ Steven A. McKean, who specializes in starting and scaling technology companies. Most recently, he was CEO of Acceller, a company he founded and grew to 300 employees before merging with Bridgevine in 2014; he is vice chairman of the combined company. He also co-founded Animusoft and advises early stage companies in team-building, culture, financing and marketing. McKean is a veteran Business Plan Challenge judge in the Community Track.
▪ Adam T. Smith, a partner at Medina Capital. Smith has more than 17 years of experience as a legal executive with expertise in managing global legal affairs, corporate securities, technology contracting and mergers and acquisitions. He is responsible for sourcing potential investment opportunities and providing Medina Capital’s portfolio companies with strategic advice with business development, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, intellectual property protection, contracting and all legal issues.
▪ Benoit Wirz, director of venture investments at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Wirz manages the Knight Enterprise Fund, a venture fund investing in early stage startups that improve access to quality, useful information. He also helps advise the nonprofits in Knight’s portfolio around issues of sustainability and growth. Prior to Knight, he was a partner with US Global, where he invested in and developed energy, manufacturing and technology companies.
The bootcamp will be 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 18 (check in at 6:15) in the Chapman Conference Center at Miami Dade College’s downtown Miami Wolfson campus (300 NE 2nd Ave., Building 3, Room 3210). The program will start promptly. There is free parking in the MDC lot at 500 NE 2nd Ave. (entrances are on NE 5th and 6th Streets).
There is no cost but space is limited so registration and required. Register here: http://hrld.us/bootcamp. If you have a question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put bootcamp in the subject line.
Be sure to come with your questions: There will be plenty of time for Q&A.
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How to enter the Challenge
You have five weeks left to enter the 17th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, our annual contest to showcase South Florida’s entrepreneurial might.
If you have a business idea or your startup is under 2 years old, submit your entry in the form of a three-page business plan. There are three ways to win: a community track for all South Floridians, an FIU Track for students and alumni of that university and a High School Track.
See the contest rules and tips for preparing your entry on page 20; find judges’ bios, questions and answers and more information on MiamiHerald.com/challenge. Deadline: March 16. Good luck!