What Do You Need to Start a Buisness

By Ballahan | October 21,2017

There’s 5 things I believe that you must have before starting any business.

1. A Niche

It sounds really simplistic and over used, but that’s because it’s true. Without a niche you have no focused audience and your gonna be too broad and all across the board with your marketing. If you have a central focus for your desired audience then you’re easier to recognize as a brand, you have a unique area that you can triple down on, and it just makes something that’s already incredibly difficult a lot easier.

Say you wanted to be a social influencer in the world of fitness, but you have no specific niche. Now you’re floating in space, because you can’t pick a planet.

Find something that you can just be on fire at 24/7. Something that you just don’t have SOME passion for but something that you can work on 16 hours or more a day, 5 days a week, no problem.

If you dread it, then it’s not worth it.

If you drag your feet during it even for a minute, it’s not the right niche.

Find something you can live for and kick everyone else’s asses at, and not just because you’re more talented than them but because you out work them.

2. Product

Think of it like archery. Your niche is your bow, your products or content are your arrows.

Take your niche and think of as many things that relate to that one particular market of fitness. Or music. Or pottery. Or whatever it is that you do. All of those “things” that you come up with are potential products or potential content for your business.

Not everything you come up with is a viable product. Not everything can be sold, or resold, easily in today’s market. For instance, if your business is to buy and resell phones. Buy iPhones. Don’t buy those fucking brick Nokias from the dark ages.

Today’s market doesn’t want them.

But let me give you a less simplistic example because I think it’ll give you more value.

Let’s use the same example to a certain extent. Your buying and reselling phones. You decide you understand iPhones the most and they’re the best seller for your market. Things are going well and you decide you want to incorporate phone cases into your business. That are some aspects to consider about what phone cases to sell. What colors sell best? Are you selling iPhone 6 or 7 cases? There’s no need for you to invest your money in cases that are iPhone 5 or less because they aren’t on the shelves of AT&T, Apple, T-Mobile, etc. meaning the market doesn’t want your phone cases either.

3. Content, Content, Content

Now that a niche and a product are established you have to market it, or no one will see it.

It’s 2017 almost 2018. If you aren’t using social media, then you’re behind. You must take 5–6 platforms and make then work for your niche and product and put out content that will attract the right audience. You also must make sure that the content your posting on periscope, Facebook, medium, instagram, YouTube or whatever is respectful to the platform.

What I mean is that people surfing on Facebook are going to have a different perspective then people on Pinterest. For instance, if a 43 year old woman named Jessica is on Facebook she is looking to keep up with all of her friends and family’s lives, and you going to market differently to her then if she is on Pinterest because on Pinterest she is looking to shop or redecorate. Same person different mindsets.

The other side of the coin is engaging with your audience after creating the content. I wouldn’t worry too much on aesthetics of the content of the content is made to be educational for example. However if your a model and your instagram account is to promote you as a model then aesthetics are everything because it’s the center piece of all of your content.

Let me move back to engagement though. If you’re putting out content but not engaging your robbing yourself of an audience. If you engage in comments more people will comment, but also more people will feel connected to you and therefore look for more ways to engage with you. Engagement is crucial to putting out content.

And use all the platforms that your “art” or industry can leverage effectively.

4. Engagement

This is essential. Content matters, direction matters, but without a community you won’t see success.

So, build a community on instagram, twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Do it. All the time. Everywhere you go. Build your community on every platform you can leverage.

The key to this being a success is by adding a thousand times more value than you ask for in return.

Let’s say you want to promote your buddy, who is a rapper, by running his social media accounts.

Okay, first start putting out content. Then engage with his current audience and grow a new audience and scale.

Simple right? But it takes a lot of work. Hours and hours of engagement and grinding. Then after you have given given given, you ask them to pre-order his new album that drops in 2 weeks.

Jab, jab, Jab… right hook.

5. Drive

Drive is my quirky way of saying motivation. But I don’t just mean motivation. I’m talking about something internal not external.

Motivation is when you watch a video and it makes you feel good, and then you do work for an hour or 2 and then go home.

DRIVE. That’s the fucking premium gas that you need to succeed. It’s internal. It’s obsessive. It’s nearly uncontrollable.

It’s that feeling you get when you wake up at 3am to go to Florida for the week and you can’t think about anything else.

Or that feeling when a girl you’ve been talking to texts you to come over late at night. Nothing. Else. Matters. That drive.

And when you’re drive is directed and aline with your purpose then you will be a legend in your business.

If you have a drive then every minute matters, and nothing will stand in your way.

No one’s opinion of you matters anymore, all that matters is work. No external drug or substance matters anymore, all that matters is work. No one potential or current relationship will matter anymore, unless it has to do with work because all that matters is work.

This is my opinion on this topic. I’d love to hear yours.

But to quickly some up what I’m trying to deliver here with this post is this: figure out what you’re supposed to do and why you’re gonna do it, and then go fucking do it.

Work your fucking face off.

The Killer Combo: When Stored Value Meets a Network Effect

By Nir Eyal | December 28, 2017

The belief that products should always be as easy to use as possible is a sacred cow of the tech world. The rise of design thinking, coinciding with beautiful new products like the iPhone, has led some to conclude that creating slick interfaces is a hallmark of great design. But, like all attempts to create absolute rules about how we should interact with technology, the law that design should always decrease the amount of effort users expend doesn’t always hold true. In fact, putting users to work is critical in creating products people love. This will be referred to as “user investment”, or “investment”.

Several studies have shown that expending effort on a task seems to commit us to it. For example, when buying a lottery ticket, players are able to either choose their own numbers or play a set of digits generated randomly. Certainly, choosing either option has no effect on the odds of winning. Traditional thinking would predict that the less effortful path would be the one users prefer.

However, the opposite is true. Despite the considerable effort required to pick the lottery numbers, a process reminiscent of filling out multiple choice questions on the S.A.T., players who choose their own numbers play more. This phenomenon isn’t just about a skewed perception of luck. According to a classic study by Ellen Langler, even when players are explicitly told their chances of winning, they choose to trade worse odds for the ability to play the numbers they spent the time and effort picking.

Examples of how escalations of commitment makes our brain do funny things abound. Its power makes some people play video games until they keel over and die. It’s used to influence people to give more to charity. It has even been used to coerce prisoners of war to switch allegiances. Commitment is powerful stuff and it plays an important role in the things we do, the products we buy, and our perception of who we are.

Totally Committed

The last step of the Hook Model, a framework I developed to help explain a pattern found in habit-forming products, is the investment phase. After a user has been triggered into action and duly rewarded, the investment phase is where the user is asked to do work and starts building commitment. It is here that the user is prompted to put something of value back into the system, typically in the form of time, money, physical effort, social capital, or personal data.

As in any feedback loop, the cue, action, and reward cycle predictably condition a series of behaviors. Whenever users want the reward, the thinking goes, they do the intended action. For example, what prompted you to start reading this article? You were probably feeling a bit bored and were looking for something stimulating to read. You took the cue (boredom), now you’re doing the action (reading), and you’re now anticipating the reward (keep reading, it’s coming).

But this pattern differs slightly in products that truly hook users. The brain has a unique system for keeping us searching for rewards; it adapts. Soon, something that seemed novel and interesting becomes common and dull. To keep pace with the brain’s adaptation to stimulus, habit-forming products improve with repeated use. It is here that the investment phase is critical.

Bits of Work for Future Reward

Unlike actions in the standard feedback loop, investments are about the anticipation of rewards, not immediate gratification. The investment is a bit of work, which makes the user more likely to use the product in the future. In Twitter, for example, the investment comes in the form of a follow. After a few flicks through the stream have primed the user with titillating tweets, the user will find someone new and interesting to invest in. While there is no immediate reward for following someone, doing so makes the service more valuable and more likely to be used next time.

LinkedIn provides another example of a company that understands the power of asking users to make small investments in the site. As Josh Elman, an early Senior Product Manager at the company told me, “If we could get users to enter just a little information, they were much more likely to return.” Elman continued, “We made you type in your current title and position at sign up and then were able to use that to draw you back in.” The tiny bit of effort associated with providing workplace information created a hook the system could use get users to return.

Commitments as a Strategy

Habit-forming technology creates an association with an internal trigger, an itch to use the product, unprompted by an explicit call to action. The user engages with the service whenever cued by a particular emotion or context. The investment is the string that pulls the user back. The aim is to get the user to return unprompted. To do this, the habit-forming company increases the value of the product with each pass through the Hook Model. Value is added to the system in two ways:

Stored Value

Every time users input data, they create stored value. Evernote, Salesforce, and Pandora provide examples of products which do not necessarily create burning desires, but create habits by getting users to do bits of work. A habit is a behavior without, or with very little, cognition, and thus these products meet this definition. People use these stored value products as part of their regular routines. The more users invest, the less they think about using them. Evernote’s “smile graph” demonstrates how over time users increased engagement with the service the more they used it over time.

Other stored value technologies, like games, create rabid users by getting them to invest every time they play. Racking up higher scores, advancing to the next level, or earning and tending to virtual goods like a cow on a farm or the clothes on an avatar, are all examples of the power of commitment. These game mechanics disappear if the user stops playing, increasing the need to stay engaged. The stored value of these elements of the game are earned with time spent playing or purchased outright with real money.

Network Value

Products that increase in value as a greater number of people use them have a network effect. Companies which display this characteristic give investors joyful palpitations because of their ability to become industry standards and crowd-out rivals. Ebay, Skype, AirBnB, Pinterest and older technologies, like the fax machine and telephone, get better the more users join the network.

The Killer Combo

Where user investment really becomes valuable is when stored value meets a network effect. Facebook and Pinterest, both services which were useful as stored value products, exploded in use when the power of the network effect took hold. Both are habit-forming products, which bring large numbers of users back unprompted. The combination of stored value and a network effect, along with continual investment from users who regularly add content, has created a strong pull for a large percentage of their users.

Habit-forming technologies take hold when a pattern of trigger, action, reward, and investment, creates desire in the user while providing increasing amounts of value. The more users invest in a way of doing things through tiny bits of work, the more valuable the service becomes in their lives and the less they question its use.

Of course, users don’t stay hooked forever. Though these companies have a good ride, the next big thing inevitably comes along and creates a better way to start building user commitment. While the mantra of making the experience easier to use certainly has its place, the rule must be followed with a strategic purpose in mind — namely increasing the value of the service the more people use it.

Note: If you liked this post, and committed to reading this far, you should sign-up to be the first to receive future essays like this one for free via email. It’s a wise investment.

Thanks to Josh Elman, Jules Maltz, and Max Ogles for reading early versions of this essay.

Nir Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and blogs about the psychology of products at NirAndFar.com. For more insights on changing behavior, join his free newsletter and receive a free workbook.

Your Numbers Reveal Your Business Model

By Kate Sackman

Most entrepreneurs are inventors.  Even if they don’t have a patentable idea, they have discovered or created something they believe to be unique that is solving a problem that needs to be solved. They are inventors because they are focusing on creating their product, but often have not yet considered all the expenses and investments necessary to bring their idea to market. Early on in the 14-week Empower Accelerator program at StartUP FIU, we introduce the key elements in a financial model. Maybe you have heard it said that your financial model is your business plan expressed in numbers, which is a great way to think about it.

Financial models can be daunting for entrepreneurs. The numbers can be scary, but they help reveal the true story of the assumptions you are making about your business.  When you look at all the expenses of the business, including development costs, salaries, customer acquisition, and capital investment, you find out how viable your business model really is.

In addition, creating the financial model requires you to decide how to price your product and the various revenue streams your business can generate.  In order to project your profits over the next 12, 24, 36 months, you need to clarify for yourself exactly how you are going to reach customers, how long it will take to get them to buy (and pay you for) your product, how often they will buy, and how many products you will sell in each time period.  Whew.

If this seems daunting, think of a roadside lemonade stand, the costs of setting up, selling, getting customers, and how many cups of lemonade must be sold for the lemonade business to make a profit. It is a simple example, but determining your numbers at the early stages of your business is not that much different.

Just take it one step at a time.  I suggest you start with expenses (usually easier), then really ask yourself the hard questions about how you are going to get your first 10 paying customers, then the next 10, and so on.  When you do this thoughtfully and thoroughly, you will understand your funding needs, your staffing needs, and your business plan will start to write itself. In a few years when your business has traction, making a financial plan for the coming year is easier because you will have some history. Use your financial plan to set and track monthly sales goals for yourself and you will be much more in control of your success.

About Kate Sackman

Kate directs the Empower Accelerator at StartUP FIU and is a serial entrepreneur with industry experience in software, medical devices, media, environmental science, marketing and finance. She believes powerfully in the potential of passionate entrepreneurs when their energy is focused and persistent. As an adjunct professor at FIU, she teaches Global Social Entrepreneurship in the Honors College and Technology Entrepreneurship to master’s students in the Engineering school. Since joining FIU in 2016, she has truly enjoyed helping over 100 start-up founders innovate in all areas of strategy, business model, funding and pitching.

 

 

Guess What? Everyone Has Competition

By Kate Sackman

“The purpose of a competitive analysis is to get insights about yourself.”

-Rhys Ryan, serial digital entrepreneur and graduate of Empower Accelerator Cohort 4

Even though you think your startup company’s product is unique, it’s not.  Ok, you may be one of the rare creatures in the universe that has a monopoly technology.  If so, that’s pretty cool. But never assume that is the case. If you’re like most people, you definitely have competitors.

In the Empower Accelerator at StartUP FIU, we frequently see entrepreneurs who either 1. believe they have no competition, or 2. totally underestimate the competition.  By the end of our 14-week program, however, they understand their competitive risks, including especially that it is likely larger companies will try to compete with them and probably have already initiated an effort to develop and sell a similar product.

Who is your competitor? Look at what your potential customers are doing now to address the problem you want to solve.  If you want to create a digital tutoring service, your competition is live tutors, schools, Kahn Academy and other online courses, books, libraries, tutoring centers. You get the idea.  Perhaps no one has a digital tutoring platform right now, but who are the digital education companies that could enter that space?  They probably have very deep pockets and could enter the market quickly, blowing your market share right out of the water.

In order to do a useful competitive analysis, you need to complete your deep, in-person end-user research. See my previous blog on this topic or use any thorough method that appeals to you, but don’t take any shortcuts. End user research is your foundation and it must be solid as a rock.

Finally, never underestimate your competition.  A thorough competitive analysis starts with reviewing every bit of information you can dig up – Google searches can come up with contracts, pricing, and all sorts of tidbits not available on the competitor’s website. Then analyze how satisfied people are with the competitors’ products. Map the structure of the market and notice the features and benefits around which the competitors cluster. Identify your unique offerings (features, functions, benefits, customer service, etc.). Then describe your competitive advantage using the language of your own customers. Ultimately, customer research is about understanding how you stand out. Make it work for you.

About Kate Sackman

Kate directs the Empower Accelerator at StartUP FIU and is a serial entrepreneur with industry experience in software, medical devices, media, environmental science, marketing and finance. She believes powerfully in the potential of passionate entrepreneurs when their energy is focused and persistent. As an adjunct professor at FIU, she teaches Global Social Entrepreneurship in the Honors College and Technology Entrepreneurship to master’s students in the Engineering school. Since joining FIU in 2016, she has truly enjoyed helping over 100 start-up founders innovate in all areas of strategy, business model, funding and pitching.

Attention Founders: Your Customers Know More Than You

By Kate Sackman

Just gotta say this to all aspiring entrepreneurs: Customer research is NOT a universe of one (you). Nor is it 10, or 20, or just your family and friends.  How are you going to know whether strangerswill buy your product if you don’t talk to them first?

In fact, waaaaaaay before you get enamored with your great new product or solution, go talk to 100 people who have the problem you think you want to solve.  This is not an online survey. It is conversations with and also quiet observation of 100 individuals.  Ask a lot of questions. Ask why and then ask why again and then again.  Simply sit and watch how people currently address the situation that you are undertaking to fix.  The solution you have in mind may be right on the mark or may not be appropriate at all.

For some reason, entrepreneurs are often reluctant to talk with their prospective customers. They procrastinate, they pretend, they convince themselves that a small sample of people they know will be good enough.  Why? Because they believe that their own concept of the ideal, never created before, home run solution is already perfect. Because they don’t want to hear about needed modifications. Because they have already designed a product without asking anyone about what they need. Because they don’t want to get rejected.  Well here’s the tough love part. Get over it and go talk to customers.

In the Empower Accelerator program at StartUP FIU, we have seen the full range of good, better, and non-existent customer research.  Inevitably, everyone who does thorough in-person interviews and observations with at least 100 potential customers is changed.  Inevitably they discover incredible insights that only could come from that type of qualitative research. As a result, they modify their offering, sometimes significantly.  They have a better understanding not just of how the product of service should function, but also of how to price it, how to deliver it, and how to be noticeably, beautifully different that the existing solutions. So get out there. You will thank me later.

About Kate Sackman

Kate directs the Empower Accelerator at StartUP FIU and is a serial entrepreneur with industry experience in software, medical devices, media, environmental science, marketing and finance. She believes powerfully in the potential of passionate entrepreneurs when their energy is focused and persistent. As an adjunct professor at FIU, she teaches Global Social Entrepreneurship in the Honors College and Technology Entrepreneurship to master’s students in the Engineering school. Since joining FIU in 2016, she has truly enjoyed helping over 100 start-up founders innovate in all areas of strategy, business model, funding and pitching.

 

Founders’ Mindset: Be Coachable

By Kate Sackman

No one accomplishes anything alone. No one. Not even Olympic athletes. They have coaches, teammates, physical therapists, trainers.  The same is true for entrepreneurs.  Every ambitious entrepreneur wants to build a big company, retain 100% control, and make a lot of money.  Having confidence in your intelligence and abilities is great, but understanding your weaknesses is essential to creating success.  Other people are weak in areas that you are strong. Accept it. And pick the right people with the necessary skills to complete the team.

Founders need advice and have may ways to find it.  Mentors, experienced entrepreneurs, trainers, and your co-founders all have wisdom and advice to share. The founder’s job is to listen to the advice, consider it thoughtfully, filter it, and decide.  If the founder is closed and stubborn, no matter what advice he receives, it will have no value.

In the StartUP FIU Empower Accelerator program, our job as teachers and coaches is to stimulate innovative thinking in our early-stage founders.  The short 14 weeks of the program are an intense period in which we help founders reduce the risks of launching their company and become investor-ready. During that time, we are constantly challenging the entrepreneurs to deepen and improve their research to understand customers’ needs and desires as well as their competitors’ advantages and methods. We ask them to clarify and test all their assumptions about their business model.  For the know-it-all entrepreneur, this is a waste of time. But for those who are open and wise, the teachers, mentors, and peers in the program are an excellent source of wisdom. The coachable founder will be open to exploring ways she had not yet considered and inevitably her business model, strategy, and plan will change for the better.

 

About Kate Sackman

Kate directs the Empower Accelerator at StartUP FIU and is a serial entrepreneur with industry experience in software, medical devices, media, environmental science, marketing and finance. She believes powerfully in the potential of passionate entrepreneurs when their energy is focused and persistent. As an adjunct professor at FIU, she teaches Global Social Entrepreneurship in the Honors College and Technology Entrepreneurship to master’s students in the Engineering school. Since joining FIU in 2016, she has truly enjoyed helping over 100 start-up founders innovate in all areas of strategy, business model, funding and pitching.

Alana Athletica

Talent and training here but employers don’t see it, panel says

By: Camila Cepero

MiamiToday

StartUP FIU helps Miami software startup Addigy scale

By Jason Dettbarn

Originally posted on The Miami Herald

Addigy, a local Miami software company that helps corporations manage their Apple Mac fleet, is preparing to expand its global reach with the help of Florida International University’s StartUP FIU. Addigy is a quintessential Miami startup with deep roots within FIU. As founder and CEO, I hold a Masters in Computer Science from Florida International University and cut my teeth in the industry managing worldwide sales operations at Kaseya, a major Miami tech company. Three years ago, I left Kaseya in order to devote my full energy on creating and building the first full-stack IT management platform for managing Apple Mac computers.

Addigy is a self-funded company based on the sweat labor of extremely talented local Miami talent. The engineering team consists fully of FIU computer science graduates who have immigrated from Cuba over the past 10 years. Addigy was recently honored as one of the Top Ten late-stage Miami startups selected for eMerge Americas two years running and is one of the fastest growing companies in StartUP FIU’s program. Building upon Addigy’s 100-plus customers globally that use Addigy to manage their company’s world-wide Mac networks, the company’s growth is expected to increase significantly in 2017. Addigy continues to expand at a record pace helping customers not only secure and manage the ever vulnerable Macs in their enterprise, but also helping them attract the top millennial talent, some of whom have never used a PC.

StartUP FIU is an intensive 14-week accelerator program that rapidly guides entrepreneurs through the paces needed to develop their new business ideas into successful growth companies. The accelerator program is open to FIU students, faculty and early-stage startup entrepreneurs in South Florida. All types of companies are welcome including traditional companies, high-tech ventures and social enterprises.

StartUP FIU has been integral to helping Addigy prepare for the next stage in funding and scaling our growth. StartUP FIU has provided us with an abundance of resources at FIU and very deep networks of talent throughout Miami. Our mentor Mario Cruz (director of Watsco Ventures), for example, has been integral in guiding us through critical areas of the Addigy business. There is nothing else like StartUP FIU in South Florida, period.

Keep an eye on Addigy as it breaks new ground in Miami and globally in the coming years, as well as the many other great companies being groomed for success in the StartUP FIU Accelerator program in Miami.

Jason Dettbarn is founder and CEO of Addigy, a Miami-based tech startup.

You’re invited to FIU Pitch Day on Dec. 6

Pitch Day is an important milestone for the inaugural Empower Accelerator Program cohort. By this day, StartUP FIU teams will have successfully completed the 14-week Empower Accelerator program. They would have participated in nearly 30 presentations and workshops, taken part in critical mentoring and business advice, and presented their required weekly deliverables in preparation for this one day. It will be 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the Graham Center Ballrooms on the Modesto Maidique campus.

 

Four-woman team of undergraduate students compete for top prize in social entrepreneurship with help from StartUP FIU.

By: Jane Schreier Jones

The 7th Annual Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition whose winner receives a cash prize of $1,000,000 to launch their social venture, this year challenged participants to build a sustainable, scalable start-up enterprise. The emphasis in the 2017 competition is to develop a product or service that will restore the rights and dignity of 10 million displaced migrants, including refugees, by 2022.

An all-female team of four undergraduate students from Florida International University (FIU) formed the social venture called WeWomen and emerged as the winners of the Hult@FIU competition on December 9, 2016. The win secured them a spot in the Hult Prize’s Boston Global Regional Finals and Cohort 2 of StartUP FIU’s Empower Accelerator Program.

“We’re thrilled to be competing in Boston and are grateful for all the support from the StartUP FIU team as well as our mentors, advisors, and professors,” says team member Dorothy Peck. StartUP FIU, which is sponsoring the WeWomen team in Boston, is an initiative to develop and foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Cohort 2 of its Empower Accelerator Program is designed to help FIU students, faculty or staff and early-stage startup entrepreneurs create and grow their traditional or social businesses.

“Being part of The Empower Accelerator has been awesome,” said Peck, speaking of the program which started late January with 20 teams in its second cohort. “None of us on the team are business majors, so the super intense learning has been extremely valuable.”

The diverse women of WeWomen are: Abeer Albarghouthi, a junior in biomedical engineering originally from Palestine; Isra Ibrahim, a junior in biological sciences originally from Sudan; Peck, a junior in international relations originally from the United States; and Allicia Rolle, a senior in sociology with a certification in women and gender studies originally from the Bahamas.

“It’s exciting to see women from different countries and different majors coming together to develop a sustainable business to provide real help for refugees and other displaced migrant women,” says Daniela Cadena, who oversees social entrepreneurship for StartUP FIU and has been the team’s advisor since October 2016.

Restoring dignity, empowering refugee women

WeWomen is dedicated to solving a real problem for millions of displaced migrants: the lack of feminine hygiene products in refugee camps. Their solution is using leaves from banana trees to produce environmentally friendly menstrual pads.

“Menstruation is stigmatized in many cultures,” said Peck. “The pads are also expensive and not seen as a necessity in households where men make all financial decisions.” Women and girls can often miss 50 days from work and school every year, a burden inconceivable to these students who grew up in the United States and the Bahamas. The issue is particularly acute in refugee camps where women have resorted to using soiled rags or garbage that can sometimes lead to toxic infections.

“And when periods are seen as a burden, women are seen as a burden,” thundered Peck during WeWomen’s business pitch on Saturday in front of a panel of five judges and peer teams.

The team’s business plan involves buying machines invented by an engineer in India to make the pads and obtaining banana leaves from Northern Colombia, another region with displaced migrant women, and employing them to prepare the leaves for export. WeWomen would sell its product in the U.S. market using proceeds from the sale to heavily subsidize the product in refugee camps in Africa and the Middle East.

Entrepreneurs don’t give up

Out of 50,000 applications and 65 Boston Global Regional teams, WeWomen narrowly lost its bid to be named one of the six finalists to Arizona State University’s team. “It doesn’t end here. It’s not a linear path, but entrepreneurs never stop,” said Cadena, who traveled with the team.

Ultimately the Rutgers University team won the Boston Regional Hult Prize competition earning them a spot to pitch for the top cash prize in September.

“I am extremely proud of WeWomen for taking FIU further than ever before at Hult Prize,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg, who followed the competition from Miami. “They are paving the way for students to create companies to help change the world!”

The team has already regrouped since Saturday. “We will be applying for the online wildcard spot at Hult and will continue in the Accelerator until Pitch Day,” said Peck. StartUP FIU co-founder and director Bob Hacker brought the Hult Prize to FIU as a way for students to engage in social entrepreneurship. “It’s exciting to see the evolution of our students from year to year,” says Hacker, who has been teaching Social Entrepreneurship for over ten years. “This generation will change the world.”