Call for Florida startups: April 6 deadline to present at entrepreneurial conference

Executives and entrepreneurs with select Florida-based startups and early-stage companies will have the chance to pitch their businesses to a group of potential investors and venture capitalists during a May conference at the well-known Vinoy resort in St. Petersburg.

Florida Venture Forum, a nonprofit, statewide support organization for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, organizes the annual conference to serve a dual purpose: providing a platform for growing Florida startups and companies to pitch to potential investors, and promoting networking opportunities through workshops and expert panel discussions.

The annual event coincides with the organization’s 5th Annual Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, which will see entrepreneurship students from across Florida (including the University of South Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the University of Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and The Lauchpad at the University of Miami) competing for a presenter spot at the Early Stage Conference.

Florida Venture Forum president Kevin Burgoyne anticipates that this year’s conference will be “a record-breaking success,” citing increased interest among national investors and a number of early-stage companies that have already applied to present.

Cumulatively, past presenters at Early Stage Conferences have raised more than $20 million in investment capital. 

“We are thrilled to help another dynamic group of emerging companies connect with capital sources from across the country,” Burgoyne said in a press release. “This sends a clear message that Florida’s rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to gain momentum and national attention.“

Day one will consist of a workshop focusing on post-investment best practices, including topics such as: the fundamentals of preparing and executing a post-investment plan; mentoring entrepreneurs; management transition; board of directors; tax issues; follow-on funding; and exits. Florida Venture Forum presents the workshop in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, the catalyst behind the 1 Million Cups meetups in cities around the country (including St. Pete and Tampa locations), and its Angel Resource Institute.

Day two of the eighth annual Early Stage Conference will include the collegiate business plan competition, pitch presentations and a panel discussion. 

The 2015 Early Stage Conference will take place Wednesday, May 13, 1:30 pm-5:30 pm; and Thursday, May 14, 7 am-5:30 pm, at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club, 501 5th Ave NE, in St. Petersburg. Requirements for presenting companies can be found on the event website.

Interested early- to mid-stage Florida-based companies and entrepreneurs must apply to present at the 2015 Early Stage Conference by April 6, 2015.

Read more articles by Justine Benstead.

Justine Benstead is a feature writer for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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