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Broward College and BCEduventures, Inc. Announce the J. David Armstrong, Jr., Student Venture Fund

​BCEduventures, Inc. will provide seed funding to Startup Now Accelerator Program graduates

Fort Lauderdale, Fla (February 27, 2018) - Broward College students and graduates aspiring to be successful entrepreneurs will soon be able to compete for funding for their business ideas through a new Student Venture Fund proposed and founded by Broward College President J. David Armstrong, Jr. with support from a number of area businesses and community leaders.

The fund was announced Tuesday at the Broward College District Board of Trustees meeting and will be coordinated through the College's business venture unit, BCEduventures, Inc., in coordination with the College's business incubator "Innovation Hub" that helps entrepreneurs start and succeed with college mentors and support. BCEduventures, Inc. is chaired by President Armstrong, who is also a business investor, and includes BCEduventures board members and entrepreneurs David Maymon and Sean Guerin who will oversee the operations of the new venture fund. 

The College's board endorsed the naming of the fund as the J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund. The initiative which is the first of its kind in the region is the vision of President Armstrong. Through the oversight of an advisory board of successful entrepreneurs, BCEduventures, Inc. will provide seed funding and investment, in the form of a convertible note, to eligible student entrepreneurs who have successfully completed the "Startup Now Accelerator Program" which is estimated at 20 students per year.

The Broward College Startup Now Accelerator is a partnership with CareerSource Broward and offers participants a six-month, four-stage program from boot camp to launch. It challenges entrepreneurs to test their ideas for a potential product-market fit and students can earn up to 12 college credits toward an entrepreneurship certificate with Broward College.

In addition to one-time funding, each year all Startup Now graduates will compete in a "Seahawk Pitch Day" in front of potential investors, mentors and the BCEduventures Advisory board for one-time cash prizes and in-kind services of up to $50,000. Graduates will compete for first, second and third place prizes. The 2018 Seahawk Pitch Day, to be held in May, will kick-off the funds giving and seed funding will commence in the next fiscal year.  

"The goal is to help student entrepreneurs convert their ideas into successful businesses," said Armstrong, who has personally committed the first $100,000 to the fund. "My vision for this fund is that we will grow our next generation of Broward County entrepreneurs through mentorship and support of our outstanding and diverse student population and future business leaders."

The J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund has already received over $250,000 in commitments from community leaders and organizations including President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Bob Swindell, entrepreneur and Broward College Trustee David Maymon, Florida Power and Light, the South Florida Business Journal, and National Jets. The fundraising goal is to secure commitments of $500,000 by May 31, 2018.

Funds will be awarded to students who meet the following criteria: be a graduate of the Broward College/CareerSource Startup Now accelerator program, which includes developing a strong business plan and close work with a business mentor; have an innovative idea for starting a business in technology, in any of the financial, healthcare, social networking, gaming, aviation, and advanced manufacturing sectors or an innovative product or service, based in Broward County; and have demonstrated a high demand for the product or service. 

Erique Triay, director of the Innovation Hub at Broward College, said, "With the creation of this fund, the Innovation Hub comes full circle from its start three years ago, having built the physical infrastructure our entrepreneurs need, having surrounded it by the human component to run our programs and provide world class mentoring, and now having the opportunity to provide the risk capital to fuel the companies we have helped launch."

BCEduventures, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Direct Support Organization (DSO) of Broward College. The Board of Directors of BCEduventures reports directly to the Broward College Board of Trustees and features President J. David Armstrong as its Chairman.  

With direct oversight, BCEduventures will designate an Advisory board including successful local entrepreneurs to ensure governance of the fund and will continue to seek new funding sources to ensure its stability. The BCEduventures Board of Directors will administer and disburse the funds based on recommendations of the Advisory Board. The advisory board will consist of Broward College faculty, local entrepreneurs and accelerator mentors. Funding will depend on size of fund, qualifying factors and the number of participating organizations.

For more information, please contact Don Cook, Executive Director, BCEduventures at 954-201-7238 or dcook@broward.edu.

Student Venture Fund Flyer


J. David Armstrong, Jr; STUDENT VENTURE FUND

Broward College, though BCEduventures, Inc. is launching the J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund, led by President Armstrong for the benefit of Broward College students who aspire to be successful entrepreneurs. The goal is to help student entrepreneurs convert their ideas into successful businesses by graduating from the “Startup Now” Accelerator Program. The Student Venture Fund will provide venture funding to these student-led startups.

The Broward College Startup Now Accelerator is a joint partnership with CareerSource Broward and offers participants a 6-month, four-stage program that challenges entrepreneurs to test their ideas for a potential product-market fit. Students can earn up to 12 college credits toward an Entrepreneurship certificate with Broward College.

Stage 1 | BOOTCAMP
Students learn key concepts about entrepreneurship, marketing and finance providing a comfort level when speaking to investors, key partners and associates.

Stage 2 | LEAN LAUNCHPAD
This premier methodology developed by entrepreneur Steve Blank is taught within a framework of accountability and support. By the end of this phase, student entrepreneurs know if they have a product-market fit or not.

METHODOLOGY
Lean LaunchPad pedagogy combines three elements:
  • Flipped Classroom--Deliberately trades lecture time for student/teaching team interaction. Students listen to recorded lectures and presentations before each class, and use class time to present what they learned from customer interviews the previous week.
  • Experiential learning--Exchanges passive learning and memorization for learning through creative thinking, problem-solving, and active interaction with customers, industry members, and stakeholders.
  • Team-based learning--Students present their findings which creates the basis for discussion, critiques, and brain-storming by both professors and students.

As of 2016, the Lean LaunchPad is taught in more than 200 universities worldwide and more than 300,000 people have signed up for a free online version of the class.

Stage 3 | START-UP+
The pace doesn’t slow down as our entrepreneurs write a business plan and develop a pitch. Entrepreneur, investor and best-selling author Michael O’Donnell teaches our student entrepreneurs how to write a rock-solid business plan and deliver an effective pitch.

Stage 4 | LAUNCH
The final stage is where student entrepreneurs begin the journey by holding themselves accountable to their advisory team - colleagues whom have taken this road and are launching their own businesses.

FUNDING DETAILS

Selection Process & Seed Funding: Through the oversight of an Advisory Board, BCEduventures, Inc. will provide up to $5,000 of seed funding, in the form of a convertible note, to each student entrepreneur who has successfully completed the Startup Now Accelerator Program. (Estimated 10-20 per year. Funding amounts will depend on factors

such as available fund balance.)

The J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund will award funds to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Must graduate from the Broward College / CareerSource Startup Now accelerator program.
  • Have an innovative idea for starting a business in technology, in any of the financial, healthcare, social networking, gaming, aviation and advanced manufacturing sectors or an innovative product or service, based in Broward County.
  • Have demonstrated a high demand for the product of service.

$50,000 One-Time Funding & Pitch Day | In addition to one-time funding, each year all Startup Now graduates will compete in a “Seahawk Pitch Day” in front of potential investors, mentors and the BCEduventuers Advisory board for one-time cash prizes and in-kind services of up to $50,000. Graduates will compete for first, second and third place prizes.

BCEduventures, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Direct Support Organization (DSO) of Broward College. The Board of Directors of BCEduventures reports directly to the Broward College Board of Trustees and features President J. David Armstrong as its Chairman. With direct oversight, BCEduventures will designate an Advisory board to ensure governance of the fund and will continue to seek new funding sources to ensure its stability. The BCEduventures Board of Directors will administer and disburse the funds based on recommendations of the Advisory Board. The advisory board will consist of Broward College faculty, local entrepreneurs and accelerator mentors.

The fundraising goal is to secure commitments of $500,000 by July 30, 2018. BCEduventures commits to raising $50,000 per year to sustain the fund. President Armstrong has personally committed the first $100,000 and BCEduventures has received over $250,000 in total commitments.


For more information, please contact:


Don Cook | Executive Director, BCEduventures
954-201-7238 or dcook@broward.edu

Enrique Triay | Director of the Broward College Center for Entrepreneurship
954-201-5357 or etriay@broward.edu

BC Eduventure


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