Miami Small Business Boot Camp Winners to be Showcased at Upcoming Holiday Village

November 17, 2021
by Meg Daly

The Underline Holiday Village opens the second and third weekends of December and invites community to shop and support local businesses November 16, 2021 at 3:00 PM Eastern

Bank of America, in partnership with StartUP FIU, an entrepreneurship and innovation of Florida International University, 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 Argentinian treats to the creator of a tandem bike for riders with special needs, each received an invitation to showcase their products and services at the Small Business Holiday Village at The Underline for two consecutive weekends, December 10-12 and December 17-19. Each winner also received a $2,000 stipend to supplement their small business’ operations.

Prior to being selected, the winners participated in a small business boot camp at StartUP FIU, alongside 30 other local entrepreneurs. This two-week bootcamp aimed to strengthen the entrepreneurs’ skills in a variety of subjects, from team building and leadership development to raising capital and navigating the supply chain system.

At the end of each week, bootcamp participants were given the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges, including representatives from Florida International University, Bank of America, The Underline, Black Angels Miami, and Whole Foods. The 10 winners were selected based on a variety of criteria, including their unique value proposition, 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 Shwartz 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 Argentinian 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 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 their future growth and success.”

“We are so honored to partner with Bank of America and FIU to bring small businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities to The Underline,” Meg Daly CEO/Founder of Friends of The Underline said. “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 on December 10-12 and December 17-19 from 4 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 12 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. 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 $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. 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 communities.

Bank of America

At Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact.

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts.

StartUP FIU

StartUP FIU is a university-wide innovation hub that fosters and develops entrepreneurship and innovation to help students, researchers, and community connect, contribute to, and thrive in today’s fast-changing world. Programming within its three pillars, Research Commercialization, Student Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, work with individuals to ideate, launch and scale their businesses.

FIU

Florida International University is a Top 50 public university that drives real talent and innovation in Miami and globally. Very high research (R1) activity and high social mobility come together at FIU to uplift and accelerate learner success in a global city by focusing in the areas of environment, health, innovation, and justice. Today, FIU has two campuses and multiple centers. FIU serves a diverse student body of more than 58,000 and 270,000 Panther alumni. U.S. News and World Report places dozens of FIU programs among the best in the nation, including international business at No. 2. Washington Monthly Magazine ranks FIU among the top 20 public universities contributing to the public good.

The Underline

The Underline is a planned 10-mile urban trail, linear neighborhood park and public art destination that will span from the Miami River, north of Brickell Metrorail station, to Dadeland South. The Underline project will feature dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, amenities, art, programming, lighting, native vegetation as well as safety features and improvements at road crossings. The Underline will be built in three phases. The first phase, Brickell Backyard from the Miami River to Coral Way, opened February 2021. For more information, visit www.theunderline.org and/or follow on social media @theunderlinemia.