Business Plan Challenge

The Business Plan Challenge is in its 20th year. Did the winners succeed?

Starting a business is a tricky and exhilarating journey.

Consider the stats: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about half of all new establishments make it to a sixth year of operation.

Better yet, ask the previous winners of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge. Since the Challenge began 20 years ago, the winners have navigated wide-ranging trails through obstacles both expected and unimaginable.

Many of the winners are running thriving businesses — though none has reached the heights of Palmetto grad and Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos. (Yet.)

For others, great ideas and the flexibility to pivot on a dime haven’t been enough. Under the stress of endless work, economic downturns, technology changes and limited funding, they’ve given up their websites and closed their doors. Interests diverged; partnerships crumbled.

Here are their stories:

2017: Community Track, FIU Track

2016: Elevated Careers (formerly Candidate.Guru)

2015: TheHighboy

2014: Munchkin Fun

2013: Make Them BEG

2012: Blend Craft Wines

2011: Arreva (formerly DonorCommunity)

2010: Recipe Costing (formerly Kitchen Porter Tech)

2009: WeAgree2

The Early Years