StartUP FIU, Bank of America and The Underline reveal the 10 winners of the inaugural Miami Small Business Bootcamp

Winners will showcase their products and services at The Underline Holiday Village during the second and third weekends of December

StartUP FIU, in partnership with Bank of America and The Underline, announced today the 10 winners of the inaugural Miami Small Business Bootcamp during a ceremony at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The winners, ranging from a mom-and-daughter duo specializing in Argentine treats to the creator of a tandem bike for riders with special needs, each received a $2,000 stipend and an invitation to showcase their products and services at the Small Business Holiday Village at The Underline for two consecutive weekends, Dec. 10-12 and Dec. 17-19. Additionally, winners will become members of StartUP FIU and gain access to its Grow LocalBiz learning platform, which provides one-on-one coaching, industry specific bootcamps and networking.

“We are grateful for the support and partnership of Bank of America and The Underline in our mission to help South Florida’s small businesses thrive at every stage of the entrepreneurial process, from concept and creation to launch, promotion and beyond,” said Emily Gresham, assistant vice president of Research & Economic Development at FIU and co-founder of StartUP FIU. “Congratulations to the winners of the Miami Small Business Bootcamp. We look forward to seeing your future growth and success.”

Prior to being selected as winners by a panel of judges, the small business owners were part of a group of 40 local entrepreneurs who participated in a two-week bootcamp at StartUP FIU to strengthen their skills in a variety of subjects from team building to leadership development, raising capital, and navigating the supply chain system. The participants ranged from owners of racially diverse businesses from technology/marketing and food/beverage to retail companies with a minimum of $30,000 in revenue, proof of concept and at least one year in business.

At the end of each week, all participants were given a chance to pitch their business to a panel of judges, including representatives from FIU, Bank of America, The Underline, Black Angels Miami, and Whole Foods. The 10 winners were selected based on criteria such as unique value proposition and solution, economic feasibility, marketing and growth strategy, entrepreneurial spirit, and overall presentation.

“We know empowering small businesses with the right tools will make a direct impact on our local community and economy,” said Gene Schaefer, president, Bank of America Miami. “The focus of this collaborative effort is to drive positive impact where it is needed most, inspire Miami’s entrepreneurial spirit and accelerate sustainable growth.”

The full list of Bank of America’s inaugural Miami Small Business Bootcamp winners includes:

  • Courtney Kohout of Courtney’s Cookies: Organic, vegan, low-glycemic cookies
  • Ivo D’Aguiar of Nidus Foods: Personalized meal delivery service
  • Jenifer Schwartz of Maven Baker: Traditional French pastries and guilt-free, freeze-dried cheesecake
  • Jeremie Etienne of InSeason LLC: Wellness service provider
  • Maurice Williams of Status Plus Productions LLC: Streetwear clothing and accessories
  • Natacha Metayer of JNCY Jewelers: Customized rings and jewelry for the minority bridal community
  • Paula Chavez of Paula’s Bake Shop: Traditional Argentine alfajores
  • Randa Quraan of Socially Loud: Integrated marketing/brand consulting service
  • Rose Jean of T-Shirt Mayhem Corp: Customized apparel printing
  • Shelley Patterson of Bikes for Every Body LLC: Manufacturer and distributor of The Buddy Bike®, an alternative tandem bicycle for riders with special needs

“We are so honored to partner with Bank of America and FIU to bring small businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities to The Underline,” said Meg Daly, CEO and founder of Friends of The Underline. “The open-air economy is proving to be one of the best ways to provide equitable access and experiences to all  including Miami’s emerging businesses.”

The Underline Holiday Village will be open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 12 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sundays from Dec. 10 to 19, 2021. The village will be set in the Brickell Backyard’s Promenade Station Grove, in front of the Brickell Metrorail Station North Entrance, SW 1st Ave, and SW 9th Street. Visitors are encouraged to take the Metrorail to Brickell Metrorail Station, exit north and walk toward the holiday lights and vendor carts. Those who wish to drive can use public parking lots at Brickell City Centre and Publix Mary Brickell Village.

This initiative was created as part of Bank of America’s $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity to $1.25 billion over five years. The effort aims to open doors for local small businesses by further accelerating Bank of America’s commitment to address racial equality and opportunity in Miami’s local communities.