Business Plan Challenge

The judges have ruled. Her are the finalists in the 2018 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge

The Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge was born long before Miami had a startup movement.

In 2018, its 20th year, the Challenge drew more than 150 business plans from adults and teens in South Florida and from students, alumni and staff of Florida International University, the Challenge sponsor. Medical devices, education platforms, interchangeable soles for sports shoes and online marketplaces were among the many ideas submitted for review.

Today we're pleased to announce the Challenge finalists and runners-up in our three tracks.

We're also launching online voting for The People's Pick. At you'll find videos for the finalists in the Community and FIU tracks, plus a link for voting. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. April 30.

And now, our finalists!

Community Track


KlickEngage, app to help at-risk children monitor their emotional status and develop coping skills. Submitted by Samantha Pratt.

Luxefete, turn-key party-in-a-box rental services. Submitted by Nathalie Cadet-James.

VillaKey, autism-friendly vacation-rental platform. Submitted by Alice Horn.


Adult PE, low-cost exercise sessions in neighborhoods with few gyms. Submitted by Paul Raymond and Chazz Woodson.

Carepass, platform for linking parents with on-demand child care. Submitted by Tony HIll.

Heroes of American Life, program for recruiting young workers into construction trades. Submitted by Rina Cheah.

IMALAC, medical device to increase milk expression for breast-feeding mothers. Submitted by Noreen Sablatosky and Rachael Kish.

StatPearls, online education platform for the medical profession. Submitted by Susan Oliver and Michelle Viner for StatPearls team.

Workplace Stretching, workplace break program led by yoga professionals. Submitted by Will Thomas.

FIU Track


Major Marketplace, online marketplace for minority businesses. Submitted by Leyanis Diaz.

Redify, app identifies product ingredients and scans for potentially harmful chemicals. Submitted by Karina Villalba.

Vdrill, app to help athletes train more effectively. Submitted by Tyrone Walker.


PADL, self-service water sports rental service. Submitted by Andres Avello, Khalil Khouri and Felipe Jauregui.

RUNADIC, web-based platform for matching running companions. Submitted by Elliott Mason.

S.T.A.H.L. Synergy, home energy management via cellphone. Submitted by Gabriel Torres and Milagros Nugent.

Teen Track


  • Aptad, interchangeable shoe soles with cleats specific to turf, grass and indoor sports surfaces. Submitted by Karim Rahman, Johnny Ehrling and Ben Abrahams of Gulliver Preparatory.
  • SOL, an app-supported sensor system detecting when a child has been left in a car. Submitted by Alexandre Roth, Carolina Freund and Santiago Vergara of Gulliver Preparatory.

  • Vaska, a travel wardrobe carrier on wheels. Submitted by John DeLappe, Leonardo Gorgatti and Tadeo Acosta Rubio of Gulliver Preparatory.


  • Air Jet, a portable air purifier. Submitted by Sean Moore, Jack Copeland and Sebastian Hernandez of Gulliver Preparatory.
  • Allertek, a portable food-allergen testing device. submitted by Carolina Thompson, Daniel Bayer and Ricardo Sanchez of Gulliver Preparatory.
  • Eagle Eye, automobile camera system that eliminates driving blind spot. Submitted by Mathieu Peuch, Lauren Gold and Jacqueline Mccloskey of Gulliver Preparatory.

  • Hype Snipe, a clothing search engine that scans the web to find and display the lowest price for each chosen item. Submitted by Marc Ashi and German Giammattei of Ransom Everglades.

  • LanguaSign, an app translating all 130 sign languages to text and reverse. Submitted by Marissa Manley, Stephanie Morton and Eliza Morton of Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.

  • VolunteerMiami, an app connecting volunteers with nonprofit organizations. Submitted by Joshua Abrams and David Goldstein of Ransom Everglades.

Mark your calendars: To celebrate our 20 years, we'll be hosting a free event May 10 at Venture Cafe with past Challenge winners, and founders of the South Florida startup movement. We'll honor this year's Challenge winners and hear from Mark Penn, political strategist, communications executive and author of newly published Microtrends Squared: The New Small Forces Driving the Big Disruptions Today.

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