Staff Report

MIAMI — After participating in eight three hour sessions between May 2016 and August 2016, several South Florida small businesses demonstrated their knowledge and skills during a pitch challenge facilitated by The Greater Miami Convention & Visitor Bureau (GMCVB). The winner of the competition, Miami Urban Contemporary Experience (M.U.C.E.) received a check for $5,000 from GMCVB during the graduation ceremony at the Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown.

The 18 participants completed the GMCVB’s Tourism Business Enhancement Program, which targets small businesses in Miami’s heritage communities and multi-cultural businesses directly or indirectly affecting the hospitality industry to enhance business and tourism capacity.

Judges for the pitch challenge included John Hall, Miami Dade College-Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program-Executive Director, Althea A. Harris, U.S. Small Business Administration South Florida District Office-Assistant District of Marketing and Outreach-Area 1 and Kathleen Murphy, Miami Bayside Foundation-Executive Director.

In addition to the pitch challenge, a graduation took place for eighteen companies that successfully completed the Tourism Business Enhancement (TBE) program. The keynote speaker was Zaid Ansari, Business Intelligence Consultant.

“We are delighted with the ongoing evolution of the GMCVB Multicultural Tourism & Development Department (MTDD) and especially the enthusiastic reception it has received in the community,” said GMCVB President & CEO William D. Talbert III, CDME.

The GMCVB provided the participants access to workshops, one-on-one consulting, technical assistance, business resources and was designed to help community stakeholders in operating more profitable businesses and leveraging the vast promotional support of the GMCVB. The narrative of the TBE was to create stronger and more sustainable tourism-related businesses and attractions in Miami’s heritage communities.

“The GMCVB’s Tourism Business Enhancement – Initiative was developed specifically for small and emerging businesses in our diverse heritage neighborhoods. The program is designed to assist businesses in meeting the needs and expectations of tourists to our community,” said Talbert.

To enhance participants’ awareness of the richness available in the heritage communities, the GMCVB selected meeting locations at historic venues like the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Little Haiti, Latin American Chamber of Commerce in Little Havana, Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum and the Lyric Theater in Historic Overtown and the Frankie Shannon Rolle Center in West Coconut Grove.

“This program is cutting edge and a way for communities to energize their local assets and tourist attractions such as museums, churches, parks, restaurants, historic sites, history and culture,” said Graylyn Swilley Woods Associate Vice President of Business & Education Development Multi-cultural Tourism & Development, GMCVB. The Black Hospitality Initiative of Greater Miami contributed funds for certifications and for the Business Challenge Pitch monetary prizes. Milestones Marketing/Micro-Mentors development consultant provided the TBE program facilitation and evaluation in tandem with GMCVB’s Multicultural Tourism & Development Department.


Nemo’s WOW Lemonade Second Place – Prize $4,000
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Third Place $3,500
Gals on the Run Fourth Place $3,000
Tune Vox Entertainment Fifth Place – $2,500