Polyblox Totems launches innovative teaching toy. Partners with local tech firm Leap with Alice.

By: David Brim


Source: www.clickorlando.com

My $.02s…


The Polyblox toy founder, Laresa Tapia, has a deep passion for helping children learn that really shines through. It’s great to see her making such positive strides in her business and learning more about the difference their company is making.

I was very pleased to see that my friends at Leap with Alice have partnered with her to integrate an augmented reality component to the blocks.

Integrating digital experiences (augmented reality) with physical objects, like Polyblox, adds a whole dimension and realm of possibilities that can make learning much more fun and also lead to deeper comprehension.

Imagine scanning a block of an animal and having that animal appear through the block then being able to learn all about it. Very cool technology!
If you’d like to learn more about Leap with Alice, the co-founders recently joined us on our Orlando Entrepreneurs Podcast.

I look forward to seeing the future of both Polyblox and Leap with Alice.

From Teacher to Founder – Interview with Katie Brown

By: Josh Wilson

From Teacher to Founder – Interview with Katie Brown

00:00 / 00:50:43

About ClassMax:

When company founder, Katie Brown, began to feel the frustrations of the data collection demands placed on her as a secondary classroom teacher, she decided to do something about it. Armed with nothing more than a sketch pad, she began to dream up what an ideal classroom data collection tool would be for educators. After surveying over 500 teachers all across the country, Katie put together a robust and passionate leadership team and over the next six months, they developed ClassMax, a data collection platform for 21st century teachers.

ClassMax began by offering affordable, reliable, and efficient individual teacher accounts. After the popularity of these stand-alone users, the company began developing a school-wide platform which uses AI analysis to provide insights and information to administrators with data collected by their teachers. ClassMax Schools was launched in August of 2018 and has become successful enough to begin the development of ClassMax Districts in the spring of 2019.

About Katie:

Katie Brown is the founder and CEO of ClassMax.  As a veteran secondary classroom teacher, Katie felt the frustrations of the push towards data collection and management in her own classroom.  From this frustration, and with her dynamic leadership team, Katie founded and created ClassMax, a data collection tool for 21st century teachers.  ClassMax is in thousands of classrooms across the county, changing the way teachers are collecting and utilizing data in their instruction.

Katie has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida State University and a Masters in Science in Educational Leadership from Quinnipiac University.  She is a former Digital Curriculum Teacher Leader in Orange County Public Schools and recipient of the Teacher of the Year, Rotary Citizen of the Year, and Spirit of Women in Excellence awards.  She currently serves as President of the Dr. Phillips Elementary PTA and is active in the Dr. Phillips community with her husband, Chris, and her two children, Michael and Gracie.

How to connect:

Website / App




Built to Sell – Interview with Nick Parker

By: Josh Wilson

Built to Sell – Interview with Nick Parker

00:00 / 00:47:14

About Nick:

Nick Parker is the founder and CEO of LEADLION a digital marketing agency downtown Orlando. He’s an entrepreneur who’s started four companies in 4 different industries over the last 20 years. Nick’s raised seed investment twice from angel investors and boot strapped twice. He’s had over 250 television appearances as an industry expert across several industries. Married his childhood sweetheart and has two kid’s, boy and a girl ages 13 and 10.


Digital Marketing agency that specializes in Facebook advertising (as well as Instagram). Primarily serving the fitness industry throughout the country as well as a few other industries.

How to Connect:



Orlando Veteran Business Resources to Support your Entrepreneurial Mission

By: David Brim

2018 UCF Business Incubator – Veteran Graduating Class


Today is Veterans Day, and this particular Veterans Day marks 100 years since the end of World War I.

Over the last 3 years I have been fortunate to get to know many Veterans in our community through my board position with Crossroads Corral – a Central Florida based 501(c)(3) organization co-founded by my wife that promotes personal growth, hope and healing through the use of horses. Crossroads Corral’s leadership has a big heart for our Veterans and has collaborated with Mission Continues,  Wounded Warrior Project, Camaraderie Foundation and other Veteran support organizations.

Priscila Kalagian & Mayor Dyer cutting the ribbon to start the Veterans Day Parade.

As a community, we are thankful for the commitment that our Veterans have made to protect and serve our country. Many of the skills that Veterans have developed through their years of service translate very well into the business world. These include: hard work, commitment, determination, strategy, management, communication, resource allocation, the use of technology – the list goes on!

With the help of my friend Priscila Kalagian, a Veteran and the Chairperson of the Orlando Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council, we’ve organized a list of helpful resources for Central Florida Veteran entrepreneurs.


UCF Business Incubator Veterans Program

The UCF Business Incubation Program recognizes veterans are equipped with a powerful set of skills including leadership, striving for excellence and completing the mission. Through the incubator’s Veterans Initiative, we help veterans realize and leverage those skills in an entrepreneurial setting. Whether you’re veteran looking to explore an idea for a potential business or need help scaling your existing company, Our Mission is to empower and support veteran entrepreneurs through business guidance, education and mentorship. Learn more about the veteran entrepreneurship programs offered by UCF.

Boots to Business

Boots to Business (B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The course provides an overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals. Active Duty Service members (including National Guard and Reserve), Veterans of all eras, and spouses are eligible to participate. Learn more about the Boots to Business program.

Camaraderie Foundation Mentorship Program

Each year, Camaraderie Foundations partners with local business members in the Orlando Area to provide a leadership program to assist transitioning service members prepare for a career in the local community.  We provide this program free of charge to 15 highly qualified Veterans.

Successful business leaders in Central Florida with prior Military service will serve as Mentors to selected Protégé Veterans at points of transition in their lives including: Veterans in college who will soon graduate, Veterans seeking new careers, and soon-to-be Veterans who will be transitioning soon.

The Mentor Leadership Program has the following outcome objectives:

  • Build networking skills
  • Establish business relationships
  • Create new friendships
  • Learn about local opportunities
  • Improve transition readiness level
  • Share the benefits and skills learned through participating in the program

Learn more about the Camaraderie Foundation mentorship program.

Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses

The purpose for the Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses, Inc. (FAVOB) is to promote and unite the many established and start-up businesses that are owned by Veterans and Disabled Veterans throughout the State of Florida, and to increase awareness of the organization at the city, county, state and federal levels. Learn more about the Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses.

Veterans Business Initiative

The Veterans Business Initiative is offered by a partnership through the Disability Chamber and CareerSource Central Florida. This comprehensive program will select approximately 100 highly qualified candidates who wish to develop and refine their business acumen. Participants will receive the tools, knowledge and personal contacts needed to further their mission of establishing a meaningful career while advancing their education, and developing their entrepreneurial skills.

The Veterans Business Initiative offers the following services:

  • Job leads throughout Central Florida to assist with outcomes of placement
  • Veteran’s job matching program
  • Entrepreneurship education and training
  • Financial Training
  • Personalized Resume Assistance
  • Self-paced Computer Training
  • Training Grant Information
  • Salary and Job Market information
  • Continuing Education

Learn more about the Veterans Business Initiative.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal via Department of Veteran Affairs

The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time with direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship. VEP makes it easier for small businesses to access federal services, regardless of its source—and quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information.

Learn more about the VA Entrepreneur Portal.

Other Orlando Entrepreneurship Resources

In addition to the veteran specific resources, I would also encourage veterans to browse our Orlando Entrepreneurs resource center to take full advantage of many business and entrepreneurship resources that Orlando has to offer. On our resource center you can find organizations that assist with business advising, co-working space, funding, CEO roundtables, accelerators, incubators, and more.

Learn more about Orlando Entrepreneurship Resources.

Lift Orlando’s West Lakes Food Business Accelerator Pitch Night – November 16th, 2018

By: David Brim

Lift Orlando, the West Lakes Business Partnership and Rally invite you to the first West Lakes Food Business Accelerator Pitch Night at Credo Conduit. The 8 food businesses that are a part of the cohort are excited to showcase what they have been working on.
All are food-related businesses with a love for unique cuisine, community, and culture will pitch for an opportunity to engage investors, supporters, and new potential partnerships and restaurant goers.
Hear each company’s pitch, learn about the vision of West Lakes Partnership and Lift Orlando , find out how to get involved in Lift Orlando efforts, and enjoy community and food.

Networking @ 6 – 6:30 pm
Pitch Event @ 6:30 – 9 pm

What companies are in the cohort?

Food Trucks in the City: Food Trucks in the City is an events service that brings local artists, businesses, and food trucks together to provide a fun-filled time for the community. FTIC connects businesses to food trucks to improve employee and workplace morale, too. We have access to over 100+ food trucks and caterers in the Central Florida area that are eager to be of service.

Oley’s Yummy Kitchen (aka: Oley’s Smokehouse): Oley’s has been serving amazing and yummy food since 1990. Oley’s Restaurant, is “the” neighborhood restaurant that so many residents frequent for great food and conversation. It is a popular, highly-rated, family-style dining restaurant and catering company specializing in bar-b-que, Caribbean and American flare.

Nikki’s Place: Nikki’s Place has been serving up traditional flavor soul food and catering special events in Orlando, Florida since 1999. However, if you’ve never experienced the finer side of soul food, Southern Cuisine, then you must visit Nikki’s Place located less than two minutes from downtown Orlando. We know what you like and how you like it!

HEBNI Nutrition: Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc. is a community-based, not for profit agency formed in 1995 to educate high-risk, culturally diverse populations. HEBNI’s mission is to provide culturally appropriate nutrition education and intervention strategies to prevent diet-related diseases. H.E.B.N.I. stands for Health Education through Behavioral and Nutritional Initiatives.

Mercantile Coffee: Mercantile Coffee helps businesses thrive through quality coffee. They design, build, and manage beverage programs for organizations focused on offering exceptional experiences. Mercantile Coffee Co started as a nitro cold brew pop up bike at the Parramore Farmers Market in January 2018. With flavors from Nitro Thai Tea to Cereal Milk Lattes their originality, creativity, and craftsmanship shine through every drink.

Orlando Coffee Roasters: Orlando Coffee Roasters was established in 2004, and our family took ownership in 2006. As an established, family-owned business, we are committed to providing our customers with the best quality coffee experience. We offer fresh roasted coffee and a diverse selection of premier and high-quality beans from different regions around the world. The great thing about being a small, family-owned business is that we treat our customers like our family; and our mission is simple: to provide the best coffee and service to our coffee family.


Questions? Contact Casey at Casey@LiftOrlando.org


Source: www.eventbrite.com

My $.02s – I’m very impressed with the work Lift Orlando is doing to improve the West Lakes District. I love that they have engaged the community to understand their needs and help formulate their plans – very entrepreneurial approach to economic development!

Did you know they did over 1,200 door to door interviews to collect information? Talk about customer discovery!

Equipped with this information they have taken a strategic approach, working together with local stakeholders to advance the West Lakes Community.  This involves real estate development projects, health & wellness initiatives, educational efforts, and efforts to advance local businesses through the West Lakes Business Partnership and the Food Business Accelerator.

I’m honored to be a mentor to one of the companies in this year’s Food accelerator cohort and look forward to seeing the great work Lift Orlando will continue to do to advance the West Lakes community.

I encourage you to attend the West Lakes Food Business Accelerator Pitch Night on Wednesday November 14th at 6:00 pm.

Know Your Numbers – Interview with Joel Goldstein

By: Josh Wilson

Know Your Numbers – Interview with Joel Goldstein

00:00 / 00:40:16

About Joel:

Joel Goldstein developed his experiences in business as a young entrepreneur. He was able to develop and successfully exit his first startup before he graduated from high school. With entrepreneurship in his blood, he became a marketing consultant to some of the world’s most visited websites making a name for himself as the Google Guru.

He published his first book “A Professional’s Guide to Social Media” at the age of 26. The book quickly became a “best seller” on Amazon within the first month and is now in its third revision.

Joel’s second book “Start from Success” quickly rose to the #1 best selling business book on Amazon within the first week of its release. Through his study of successful entrepreneurs and innovative businesses, while researching for the book, he began to realize that there is a generational leadership gap developing among enterprise-level companies.

As a consultant, Joel met has met with hundreds of business leaders developing strategies to train, retain and develop future leaders. Joel began to research and write his third book, the “Millennial Leadership Manual” in 2013. Joel developed this book to share the trends and insights that pioneering executives have successfully employed when working with the Millennial generation.

With a certificate in management from the Wharton School of Business, Joel has been able to apply managerial principles from the classroom to the boardroom. Not the typical ivy league student, Joel has pursued extraordinary adventures such as deep sea diving, running with the bulls in Spain, and spelunking through ancient caves in Israel.

Joel has had the extraordinary privilege of speaking around the world for associations, corporations and prestigious universities on Millennial leadership. Joel is community focused and is the president or on the board of Orlando Young Professionals, New Leaders Council and Jewish Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, Joel has been asked to participate in the Congressional economic development committee held in Winter Park, FL.

Currently, Joel has purchased his family business Mr. Checkout Distributors and continues as it’s President. He also consults for a national think tank on retail business and sits on the board of 13 retail associations.

About Mr. Checkout:

Established 1989 | Mr. Checkout is a national group of Independent DSD Distributors, Full-Line Grocery Distributors and Wagon-Jobbers.

We represent products in over 60 major retailers and our distribution network services approximately 35,000 retailers across the United States, Canada and parts of the Caribbean.

Distributors, Wholesalers and Retailers turn to Mr. Checkout to find the best selling products, learn which categories are trending and discover what is the next hot new product.



Orlando Children’s Business Fair

By: David Brim

Don’t miss the Orlando Children’s Business Fair this upcoming Sunday (November 11th). Our areas finest young entrepreneurs will be showcasing their business at the Orlando Public Library from 2-5.

Ignite Your Child’s
Entrepreneurial Passions

Observe the opportunity for children to launch their very own startup business!

Kids develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at our one-day marketplace.

We will host 30 booths at the Orlando Public Library located at 101 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, FL 32801 on Sunday, November 11, 2018, from  2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

The Orlando Children’s Business Fair is brought to you by the Orange County Library System in conjunction with the Acton Academy, Acton School of Business, and the generous support of our partners and sponsors.  We all believe that principled entrepreneurs are heroes and role models for the next generation.

Whether an entrepreneur is famous like Elon Musk or Oprah Winfrey or they are one of the thousands of unsung business owners across this country, these are the people who make sacrifices to innovate, create jobs and serve their communities.

What Is Influencer Marketing- Interview with Kristen Wiley

By: Josh Wilson

What Is Influencer Marketing- Interview with Kristen Wiley

00:00 / 00:55:22

About Kristen:

Kristen is the Founder & CEO of Statusphere. Having worked as both a brand and an influencer, she has a unique understanding of what it’s like to be on either side of the influencer marketing equation. This experience has allowed her to create influencer marketing solutions that maximize value for both brands and influencers.’

About Statusphere:

We help brands find influencers to tell their story in a way that brings authenticity back to influencer marketing. In a time when influencer marketing has become extremely transactional, we are working to clean up the digital landscape by putting talented content creators first so that they can promote brands that they genuinely care about. How it works: Brands tell us how many influencers they want per month, send us the product, and we handle the rest.

How to connect:




City of Orlando Testing Amazon’s Facial Recognition Technology

By: David Brim

Amazon’s facial recognition software, called Rekognition, analyzes footage from video surveillance and works to identify the people in it by scanning their faces and searching databases.

Source: securitytoday.com

My $.02s…

This facial recognition technology is really neat (and a little scary)! While the article is not specifically related to Central Florida entrepreneurship per se, as our community further adopts technology into the fabric of various aspects of our lives it presents opportunities for entrepreneurs that are well prepared to innovate and create the future, and threats for those businesses not ready to adapt in industries poised for disruption.

This technology reminds me very much of the view Arnold had as the terminator in the mid 90s. The next 20 years is going to be quite interesting!

Entrepreneurs, unbuckle those seat belts, step out of your comfort zone and get prepared. Change is coming.


Tap Into Bigger Audiences – Interview with Rudy Ellis

By: Josh Wilson

Tap Into Bigger Audiences – Interview with Rudy Ellis

00:00 / 00:55:48

About Rudy:

Rudiger J. Ellis, better known as Rudy, is the CEO of Switchboard Live; the developer of a B2B-SaaS based live video, social media management platform named Switchboard Cloud. Switchboard Cloud helps Creators, Producers, and Brands manage the distribution and syndication of their live video activations, across multiple streaming platforms (i.e. YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, etc.) to improve audience reach and engagement. In the past 10 years, Rudy has held various senior leadership positions within the network operations and live streaming services industries. For three years, he served as the Director of Streaming Services for NeuLion. After leaving NeuLion, he worked for XOS Digital where he was responsible for implementing and the leading the Digital Broadcast and Live Services teams.

About Switchboard:

Switchboard Live offers a cloud-based solution that allows brands to live stream video content to multiple social media destinations. Distributing live video to Facebook and Periscope and Twitter and YouTube takes a technical heavy lift that many individuals are unwilling or unable to do – so they are relegated to one destination. Whether it’s sending live video to dozens of Facebook pages (sponsors, partners, or organizations) or across platforms, we have a seamless, intuitive solution to amplify the reach of your live stream. Switchboard Live let’s you engage with your audience no matter where they are watching from!

How to connect: