Startup America Helps Entrepreneurs Get Off On The Right Foot
Maxine Gomez, CFO of Pompano Beach, Florida-based Swipes Inc., is on a roll.
Making a two-minute “elevator pitch” to a half-dozen corporate executives and a venture capitalist, Gomez passionately describes why her company’s “Swipes Lovin Wipes,” an eco-friendly moist napkin designed to use “after intimate moments” are catching on with consumers.
With product soon available at Walgreen’s and already at its Drugstore.com online retailer, Gomez believes the time is right for venture capital funding to help grow the mom-and-pop startup.
The pitch may have been just practice, but for Gomez and a group of 65 other entrepreneurs, the opportunity was precious. Thank IBM, the founder of Priceline.com, and President Barack Obama for making it happen.
White House Kickoff
The showcase for entrepreneurs rounded out an official launch event at St. Thomas University for Startup Florida, the state’s contribution to a new national program committed to supporting entrepreneurs and assisting start-up companies in their growth through mentoring, recruitment, scalability and access to capital.
The Startup America Partnership is an independent, private enterprise initiative, but has a “partnership” with the U.S. government, which got it a kickoff right at the White House in early 2011.
Held earlier this month during Global Entrepreneurship Week, the event succeeded in delivering Startup Florida’s key objectives directly to those who need their services.
“This was just an idea a few months ago,” said Maria Hernandez, a director at IBM who sparked the creation of Startup Florida. “We validated the need for this. We’re dealing with entrepreneurs day in and day out, and we noticed that we have great institutions that support entrepreneurs, but they are not connected. This helps to connect them.”