The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded Florida Atlantic University’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurshipa two-year, $110,000 grant to expand its Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Business Plan Competition and other activities that will contribute to the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and economic development throughout Palm Beach County.
“The Knight Foundation grant enables the FAU Adams Center to expand its educational programs in partnership with both the private and public sectors across all of Palm Beach County,” said Roland Kidwell, director of the Adams Center and chair of the Department of Management Programs in FAU’s College of Business. “We hope this program will assist entrepreneurs and family firms particularly in traditionally underserved communities.”
Partnering with the 1909 Palm Beach County Entrepreneurship Initiative and local governments, the Adams Center will offer an eight-week Train-the-Trainer program in the spring, in which 1909 staff members and others in Palm Beach County are taught to effectively deliver the FAU boot camp program. Trainers will have the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs and mentors in the program and after graduation will have a certificate through the Adams Center to deliver the boot camp program to other groups of entrepreneurs. Boot camps will be offered in the fall in multiple locations, including downtown West Palm Beach and FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter.
The Knight Foundation project also will enable the Adams Center to expand its Business Plan Competition to a wider range of businesses. Along with seed money and a spot in the 1909 accelerator, teams will compete for legal and business services, and may have the opportunity to present their business plans to local angel investors and venture capital groups. Boot camp graduates will be invited to enter the annual community Business Plan Competition, which will take place in the fall, and eventually be invited to compete in the Launch Competition hosted by FAU Tech Runway.
The grant enables the Adams Center to expand its Family Firm Initiative efforts into West Palm Beach starting in the spring and to offer these services on a continuing basis. The Family Firm Initiative connects two important economic development players in South Florida: family firms and new ventures. Family firms in South Florida receive advice and assistance in developing innovative practices, strategic plans to define direction, succession and transition of the firm. Firms also receive assistance in managing family firm dynamics and conflict resolution. An estimated 10 to 20 firms will receive free introductory advising sessions each year under the grant.
“This program will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Palm Beach County by supporting entrepreneurs of all types across our communities,” said Kevin Cox, assistant director of the Adams Center and a visiting assistant professor in FAU’s College of Business.
Named in recognition of FAU alumnus Scott H. Adams in 2001, the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship prepares students and entrepreneurs in all disciplines who are looking to become successful business owners. The center also focuses on community engagement efforts offering a portfolio of programs such as the family business initiative, Shrimp Tank podcast, annual business plan competition, entrepreneur boot camp course and the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program.