FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Entrepreneurship continues to be the cornerstone of the American economy; with small businesses employing the bulk of the nation’s employees. Building a world class company from the start up stage takes information and motivation.

The Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) recently graduated 15 entrepreneurs from its first Kauffman Foundation FastTrac® NewVenture™ program. Over a 3-month period, the graduates completed 10 fastpaced and challenging modules held at the Innovation Hub at Broward College. OESBD, an affiliate of the FastTrac® global entrepreneurship education program, used a competitive application process to select the participants and now plans to incorporate the training program into its regular roster of free service offerings. The next FastTrac® NewVenture™ program session is scheduled to take place this fall.

“The weekly educational classes, which were intentionally kept small, allowed us to personally engage each participant,” said OESBD Director Sandy-Michael E. McDonald. “We are proud to offer the NewVenture™ program to Broward County residents and hope to educate more and more participants each year to empower them to fulfill their dreams of sustainable, growth-oriented business ownership.” Through FastTrac® NewVenture™, OESBD taught participants how to identify and meet market needs and access business, financial and human resources. 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.

The program culminated with a graduation featuring oral presentations from the top three scored business plans which became eligible for varying seed money grants. They were:

• Mercy Nzeakor, RENAL TRKRR APP
• Paul Fitzgerald, Pinnacle Ecological, Inc.
• Angela Williams, SPIN Healthcare & IT Solutions, Inc.

The FastTrac® NewVenture™ program helped participants refine their business concept, identify the components of a strong business plan and access the appropriate resources. Instructed by economic development specialist Herb Parlato, an experienced facilitator with over 10 years of experience working with start-up business owners, the program also received guidance from successful entrepreneurs and the supportive peer community. All participating students received a certificate of completion.

For more information on the Kauffman FastTrac® NewVenture™ program, contact the Office of Economic and Small Business Development at 954-357-6400 or visit