Shop local and support these Miami small business winners

Miami  small businesses will be showcased at the Holiday Village at the Underline. Let’s meet them.

Haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet? We have your back! Customized apparel, jewelry or a wellness service gift certificate might do the trick. Fancy some special treats around the holidays? How about some delectable Argentinan alfajores (pictured) or guilt-free cheese cake? Here’s a way to shop local and support winning small businesses – while enjoying your weekend at the Underline.

Today on Refresh Miami we learned just how big a piece of the economy these microbusinesses make up. Miami-Dade is No. 1 in the country for the microbusinesses, or businesses employing under 10 people. We have more microbusinesses than anywhere else.

Last month, Bank of America partnered with StartUP FIU, Florida International University’s innovation hub, and The Underline, Miami’s urban linear park, to select 10 winners of an inaugural Miami Small Business Bootcamp put on by StartUP FIU, with the support of Bank of America.

The winners each will get to showcase their products and services at the Small Business Holiday Village at The Underline’s Brickell Backyard, an urban park and public art destination. The Holiday Village will run  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.

Before being selected, the winners participated in a small business boot camp at StartUP FIU, alongside 30 other local entrepreneurs. This two-week bootcamp served up education and resources in a variety of areas entrepreneurs need, 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 judged on 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.”

Check out the Bank of America’s inaugural Miami Small Business Bootcamp winners who will be exhibiting at the Small Business Holiday Village this weekend and next:

  • 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 (she will also be renting the bikes for rides)

“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.

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.

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Nancy Dahlberg