In South Florida, entrepreneurship is booming, and people from all over the U.S. are moving in to develop their innovative ideas into successful businesses. A 2017 study done by the Kauffman Foundation, a company that develops entrepreneurship programs and funds global research, ranked South Florida number one in the country as the center for new startup businesses.

To further the efforts to support the local community, Broward College developed a group of initiatives aimed to help not only our students but Broward County residents as well. The initiative is led by the Workforce Education, Innovation, and Impact team, and driven through the Broward College Entrepreneurship Experience (BCEx). The objective is building a reliable and robust network for aspiring leaders of tomorrow to develop their ideas.

Brandon Gibson, who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and active member of the Broward College Entrepreneurship Experience (BCEx), is a first-hand witness to how the College is addressing this trend. “One of the very first things we have learned at BCEx is that our economy is leaning towards entrepreneurship, and studies show that within the next decade or so, the workforce will be heavily dependent on it,” he says.

Building a Network Through BCEx

BCEx seeks to empower students, faculty, and staff by providing training focused on innovation, idea development, and social ventures.

“BCEx is part of the College’s solution to the demands of the changing nature of work,” explains Dr. Mildred G. Coyne, “Employers are expecting graduates that are mentally agile, creative, excellent communicator and innovate within their place of work.”

This program provides an environment of collaboration, creativity, and networking.

“In addition to the usual perks of BCEx, perhaps the most important to me is that you not only earn the knowledge on how to start your own business,” says Brandon who is currently working on a social app that will connect Broward College students with the programs, clubs, and initiatives that fit their interests and passions. “There is a big focus on opening the door for people want to develop ideas that will bring a positive change to their communities and the lives of others in general.”

Other Support for Entrepreneurs

In addition to BCEx, Broward College offers additional support to local entrepreneurs through its Innovation Hub and the J. David Armstrong Student Venture Fund. Both programs offer resources and guidance for business development.

Start at the Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub at Broward CollegeThe Innovation Hub is a mixed-use business space, located on the 11th floor of the Broward College Downtown Center and is comprised of private offices, dedicated workspace, and shared coworking areas. The Innovation Hub also has printing stations, free WiFi, and open access to networking events hosted by the Hub.

Additionally, the Broward College Innovation Hub, in partnership with Career Source Broward, has developed the Startup NOW Accelerator, a six-month program that provides training on how to start a business following a carefully crafted business plan with support from qualified mentors. The program offers workshops, hands-on research, and mentorship meetings. Participants earn 12 transferrable college credits and a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the College.

The J. David Armstrong Student Venture Fund

The J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund created in 2018, provides capital to Broward College students to launch startup businesses. The program is off to a great start, surpassing the initial fundraising goal of $500,000 by almost $100,000. To qualify, applicants must be  degree-seeking students at Broward College and enrolled in one of the entrepreneurial certificate programs.

Most entrepreneurship endeavors in South Florida are creating jobs in the tech industry. However, all industries are flourishing and welcoming of innovative ideas to be developed into successful businesses. Get started today and be a part of the modern economy.