Business Plan Challenge

Challenge announces 29 semifinalists

Who will win the 16th annual Business Plan Challenge? Twenty-nine business ideas are still in the mix.

Having the right ingredients in the plan to win over our judges isn’t easy: They were looking at the viability of the business model, the team, marketing strategy, financial projections and more. And a good idea alone won’t get you very far: Our judges were looking for a strong plan for execution.

To be sure, our three panels of judges — all serial entrepreneurs, investors or executives — had their work cut out for them. The Business Plan Challenge contest, sponsored by FIU’s Pino Global Entrerpreneurship Center, drew nearly 200 entries. The Community Track included 101 entries, ranging from fashion, food and education ventures to logistics, finance and real estate concepts. Competition in the high school track was especially fierce, with 68 entries. A couple of entire Ransom Everglades classes broke up into teams and entered, and we love to see that!

For all 196 of you who entered, congratulations! You now have a strong start on your business plan, your road map to growing your business.

Yet the judges persevered and today we are announcing our first cut, the semifinalists. In two weeks, we will announce our finalists, who will also be part of the video competition, and the winners will be announced on May 19. Here, in alphabetical order are the semifinalists:


AthleticSelect, by Travis Smith and Eric Dooling, connects aspiring athletes and their parents with experienced private coaches in their area and offers tools to help coaches market and monetize their business.

Cirrus Pos, by Robert Vasquez, Christopher Hoffman and John Alicea, is a point of sale application affordable for a small single restaurant but powerful enough to manage large restaurants and franchises.

Feel Good’s, by Steve Capellini and Patricia Woodson, provides the spa experience in a novel manner and unique environment, focusing on community involvement and technological integration.

Fitting Room Social, By Brad Liff, is more than a consumer fashion app, it’s a full-service e-commerce platform designed to help women answer the question, “Will this fit me?”

Lil Stems, by Judith Felix, is a learning enrichment center in Broward County that focuses on STEM education for minority children, ages 5 to 10.

Melt Haus, by Michelle Varat, Andy Varat and David Smith, is a website where customers merge fashionable garments with digital images using an easy online tool. Melt Haus transfers the image to the garment.

Miami Exchange, by Catherine Penrod and Audrey M. Nelligan, is a contact center business for small businesses, with a keen focus on healthcare service providers.

Munchkin Fun, by Valerie Schimel, Molly Blanco and Aleesa Adams, functions like a Ticketmaster for kids’ classes and camps, giving parents a single place to find and book children’s programs.

Playapy, by Amy Baez, is a child development resource for parents and educators created and supported by pediatric therapy professionals.

Play Corner, by Madeleine Funes and George Moss, provides a safe search process and enables kids to browse content on touch-screen devices independently, through a kid-friendly design.

Snapscore, by Ryan Del Rosal, Newt Porter and Taylor Auerbach, measures individuals’ qualifications and provides meaningful insights to accelerate their careers. Similar to a credit score, Snapscore is a baseline of their current professional merit.

Star and Moon Books, by Saba Haq, is an upcoming online retailer of Islamic children’s books and toys geared toward American Muslims.

Stylize, by Sara Fiedelholtz, creates a fashionable line of sunglasses with easily interchangeable looks, and has partnered with an optical manufacturer.


Groove Caddy, by Jose Espin, Carlos Martell and Mike Lowell, introduces a product that revolutionizes the way people clean their golf clubs, particularly in the grooves.

Kloset Karma, by Paula Celestino and Christopher Rivera, is a fashion exchange marketplace mobile app that allows users to affordably update wardrobes by finding new or almost-new clothing within their communities and pay using a controlled point currency system.

Moonlighter, by Daisy Nodal and Tom Pupo, is a tech cafe and lounge that allows local designers, entrepreneurs and the public to co-create, prototype and retail new products.

Recall Safe, by Steven A. Rojas Tallon, is focused on alerting consumers directly of recalls and safety warnings, seeking to change the entire process and help avoid preventable injuries or deaths.

Summer Camp Live, by Vicky di Colloredo-Mels, Carlo di Colloredo-Mels, Felipe Ospina and Juan Pablo Villegas, is a new way for summer camp owners to promote their services and cost effectively communicate with camp seekers worldwide.

XDG Technologies, by Carlos Hondal and Dr. Juan C. Roig, has developed a proprietary hand held medical device for the treatment of a genetic medical condition called polydactyly (i.e. extra fingers or toes) and the removal of skin tags.


Amplify, by Adam Chiavacci, Daniel Stein and Jack Davis of Ransom Everglades, would link up to six phones together so the host smartphone playing music can utilize all the other phones’ speakers as though it were its own.

Chinese Picture Dictionary, by Dante Bolzan, Adam Moreno-Mendelson and Ethan Arteaga of Ransom Everglades, is an app called Xue Wen, the Chinese word for knowledge, that provides a Chinese/Chinese-English dictionary with photo recognition software.

FoodNection, by Gavin Sitkoff-Vuong and Sabrina Ibarra of Ransom Everglades, will connect chefs, restaurants and passionate foodies through a web platform and app.

Maestro Rhythm, by Annabel Chyung of Ransom Everglades, is a game app that will help both beginner and advanced musicians triumph over their frustrations with rhythm.

MoodPoint, by Catherine Lindsay of Ransom Everglades, is an iPhone app that detects and offers basic relief for all forms of mental illness, including depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.

PurchaSync, by Ryan Amoils and Alvaro Ortega of Miami Country Day, is a smartphone app for digital receipts that also eases corporate reimbursement and income tax itemizing.

Reel Cause, by Andrew and Edward Hurowitz of University School of NSU, provides affordable video production services to help small- and mid-size nonprofits get their messages out.

Tutor Talk, by Bradley Jackson of Ransom Everglades, is the Yelp for SAT/ACT tutors, with a social mission of offering free tutoring to those in need.

Word Avenger, by Gerlannda Asse, Evanson Telisme, Franceline Pierre-Louis and Frantz Senat of Miami Edison, is a fun mobile app game created to help improve vocabulary and word knowledge.

YDatabase, by Yeyenne Telisme of Miami Edison, is a service business that will help create databases for small businesses to help them affordably manage their operations.