FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Preparing to either launch a new business or take an existing business to higher levels can be challenging without the right support. A Broward program, FastTrac NewVenture, is designed to provide it through the County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD).

The program has graduated its fourth group of entrepreneurs from its highly successful program, an affiliate of the FastTrac® global entrepreneurship education program, designed to help aspiring and established entrepreneurs throughout Broward County evaluate business ideas and develop start-up plans.

During the free, four-month program, participants completed 10 fast-paced and challenging modules to gain the knowledge and skills needed to launch and grow their business. The first three modules of this initial program cycle were devoted to determining the viability and market potential of each student’s business concept. The remaining seven modules established the framework for the entrepreneurs to develop solid business plans. Through FastTrac® NewVenture™, OESBD has guided approximately 53 participants on how to identify and meet market needs and access business, financial and human resources.

“We are pleased to recognize and congratulate our fourth graduating class of NewVenture™ and are looking forward to welcoming our fifth group of participants for the upcoming 2019 course,”

said OESBD Director Sandy-Michael E. McDonald. “We are excited by the possibilities this program brings to Broward County by way of educating, engaging and empowering local entrepreneurs.”

This year’s program culminated with 15 entrepreneurs participating in a special graduation day competition event that featured oral presentations from the top three scored business plans eligible for varying seed money grants to help fund their start-up costs. The top three entrepreneurs and their prize amounts were Michelle Valor, Beach Buddies, Inc. $10,000; Marilyn DeMartini, Vitality Living – $7,500 and Portia Lundy-Dunkley, Teeny Violini – $5,000.

Instructed by Economic Development Specialist Herb Parlato, a skilled facilitator with over 12 years of experience working with start-up business owners, the program also incorporates guidance from successful entrepreneurs and the supportive peer community. All participating students received a certificate of completion.

For more information on the FastTrac® NewVenture™ program and the upcoming information session for the next course, contact the Office of Economic and Small Business Development at 954357-6400 or visit