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Call for Florida companies: Compete to win $150,000 in prize money

Tampa Bay area startup and growth stage companies will have the chance to win $150,000 in prize money this fall.

The 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase in South Florida will offer select companies from across Florida the chance to present their businesses before a selection committee and to contend for cash awards.

The November 4 showcase, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables, is co-hosted by Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida, Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida.

Interested companies have until Sept. 24, 2015, to apply to compete in the showcase.

“This event offers selected Florida-based companies the opportunity to receive expert coaching and mentoring, in addition to the opportunity to present in front of investors and to compete for prize money,” Florida Venture Forum Managing Director Pat Schneider says. “All in all, this is a great opportunity for Florida's entrepreneurs.”

Cash prizes will total up $100,000 for a growth stage company, or $50,000 for a startup company. To be considered, growth stage companies cannot have raised more than $3 million in equity capital from professional investors, and startups cannot have raised more than $500,000.

Factors for selection will include aspects like a company's potential to attract third-party investment, prior funding, innovation and possibility of job creation. 

Preference will be given to growth stage and startup businesses in sectors like space transportation and advanced aerospace platforms, International Space Station and human life science, cyber security and robotics, and other components of information technology and health technology.

The wide array of industry sectors "offer Florida-based entrepreneurs broad categories for consideration,” Schneider says.

To learn more about the event’s selection criteria, click here; to apply for the 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase, click here
Along with the capital acceleration competition and time reserved for business networking, the showcase will feature an investor panel discussion and a keynote speaker. Retired NASA astronaut Capt. Winston Scott, who was born in Miami and who logged 24 days in space, will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase.

“Since Space Florida is sponsoring the prize money, it seemed befitting to have an astronaut speak,” Schneider says. “Also, many of the characteristics behind a successful space mission can be applied to successful entrepreneurship.”

Space Florida is an aerospace and spaceport development authority that works to promote aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce in the state of Florida. The organization partners with aerospace businesses to help them grow and thrive in Florida, where much of the necessary infrastructure to be competitive in the industry is already in place.

Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida has advised entrepreneurs and investors for over two decades through mentorship, management of incubator programs and customized services for startups in South Florida.  

Tampa-based Florida Venture Forum, a a nonprofit, statewide support organization for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, connects growing startup businesses with access to capital from local and national resources. The organization hosts the the Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition and the Early Stage Capital Conference. 

Florida Venture Forum will host the 2016 Florida Venture Capital Conference on January 27-28, 2016.

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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