Broward College leader expands his role, pitches entrepreneurship as a path to improve lives

Broward College leader expands his role, pitches entrepreneurship as a path to improve lives

With pitch competitions and “outside-the-box partnerships” in the making, Broward College’s entrepreneurship mission is gaining momentum.  

Broward College has promoted Imran Siddiqui to the new position of Associate Vice President, BC Eduventures. Siddiqui will continue leading the Broward College Entrepreneurial Experience (BCEx), a program designed to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on South Floridians coming from historically underrepresented groups.

Imran Siddiqui

BC Eduventures is Broward College’s revenue-generating direct support organization (DSO). This legal distinction is important, Siddiqui told Refresh Miami: “The real benefit of the college having a DSO is that it allows us to seek creative solutions to drive revenue and continue our mission of serving our students and community. With the state legislature navigating a budget shortfall, Eduventures allows Broward College to think entrepreneurially with outside-the-box partnerships with the local business community.”

Top of mind for Siddiqui is to leverage the College’s ample space – much of which lay dormant for months due to the pandemic – to promote entrepreneurship in South Florida. “We have lots of physical property that can be utilized in creative ways, like partnering with startups to offer affordable office space if they want to have a physical presence,” said Siddiqui. He underscored how this will “provide more value to the community, not just the college itself.”

Siddiqui also highlighted that his team is “exploring exciting opportunities within e-sports,” a growing tech sector in South Florida. More broadly, the rise of e-sports has been a boon for colleges that are strapped for cash. In 2019, the 443 million people globally tuned into e-sports events, with an annual growth rate of more than 11%. As of last year, there were 170 collegiate varsity gaming programs in NCAA Division I.

There is an operational advantage to this role, Siddiqui explained, because “everything is under one umbrella of innovation and entrepreneurship.” Siddiqui’s new position sits more broadly within the overall college’s goal to, in his words, “reexamine how we can deliver better value to our students and our community through equity.” The cornerstone of this initiative is Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile’s flagship program, Broward UP.

This announcement comes as BCEx is hitting its stride. Siddiqui recently hosted BCEx’s second pitch night (pictured above), during which the organization distributed $28,000 of seed capital from the college’s J. David Armstrong Student Venture Fund. Calling the event “very successful,” Siddiqui says that he feels “motivated by the community-buy in.”

First place at the pitch night was split between three entrepreneurs: Sascha Rybinski from Flag It, Gregory Adams from Enherit, and Royce Lopez from AM Truck Services.

“I’m excited for the increased opportunities for our founders in BCEx, and their opportunity to grow,” Sidiqqui commented.

Siddiqui is a native South Floridian and a lawyer by trade. Before joining Broward College, Siddiqui worked as a lawyer and strategist for political and non-profit organizations.

To learn more about Broward College’s program, find it on Instagram and Twitter at the handle @BCExBroward.

READ MORE ON REFRESH: This Broward College initiative is breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship

 

Riley Kaminer

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