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In 2015, Values Partnerships organized the first nationwide casting tour for ABC’s Shark Tank focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to the show.

We hosted 11 events in 6 cities. Many entrepreneurs from our casting events – including Sprëtz and Piper Wai – appeared on Season 7 of the show.

More importantly, we provided pitch prep, entrepreneurship resources, and access to capital discussions to entrepreneurs around the country with the goal of every entrepreneur leaving our events better than they came.

We kicked off our 2016 casting tour in Miami, FL!

On March 4th we brought the casting team for ABC’s Shark Tank to Miami for the first stop in a nationwide tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to the show. Values Partnerships partnered with the Knight Foundation, Urban League of Broward County, Miami Bayside Foundation, and  FIU SBDC to host a casting call at the LAB Miami.

Shark Tank 2016 - Miami - Cover Photo

According to the latest stats from the Minority Business Development Agency, Miami has the second highest proportion of Hispanic-owned firms in the United States; 73.9 percent. Miami has a long history of entrepreneurship fueling communities and creating new opportunity. The state of Florida has over 680,000 minority-owned firms, representing nearly 1/2 million jobs and 12% of all minority-owned firms in America.

The startup community continues to grow in Miami with diverse entrepreneurs leading the way. Black Tech Week, PowerMoves Miami, and AngelSummit Americas are bringing national and international attention to the ecosystem in Miami. The Knight Foundation’s support of this work made partnering with Miami program director – Matt Haggman – and is team imperative.

“Miami’s diversity is reflected in its entrepreneurs— from tech solutions and health food to education and finance tools— there are a wealth of ideas coming out of our city that have the potential for wide impact. We welcome the opportunity that Shark Tank presents to put these ideas on a wide national stage,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami.

A national stage is exactly what we wanted to give the entrepreneurs at our Miami casting event. Diverse business owners have been working with local leaders like Miami Bayside Foundation in co-working spaces like the LAB Miami to prepare to pitch to the sharks.

“Here at The LAB Miami, we strive to provide unique and exciting opportunities to our network of creative entrepreneurs and the Miami start up community. Working with Values Partnerships and the Shark Tank Casting Call was a huge success and an exemplary movement in facilitating global entrepreneurship on a local level.”- Ricardo Mesquita, CEO of The LAB Miami

Achieving global reach with local impact is at the core of our mission during the casting tour.

On the day of the event, entrepreneurs showed up early for pitch prep.  Business owners pitched to Values Partnerships staff and our event partners to get feedback before pitching to the Shark Tank casting team.

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(URAWk Energy Founder Isabel Gallego practice pitching)

Following pitch prep, each entrepreneur pitched to the Shark Tank casting team. Entrepreneurs get up to 3 minutes for their pitch and short discussion; about triple what they would get at a large open call casting. We follow up with everyone who applies to pitch at our events, and each entrepreneur we send to the Shark Tank team gets a follow up call.

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(Entrepreneurs from Cuffed Design practice pitching)

After the casting call, we held an access to capital panel discussion with our partners to discuss strategies for accessing capital in the Miami area. VC, angel, and traditional capital resources were discussed.

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(Wayne Johnson, Director of the Urban League of Broward County Entrepreneurship Center discusses capital resources with entrepreneurs)

We had an incredible day in Miami. We look forward to seeing the ecosystem continue to grow and hope to see Miami area entrepreneurs on Season 8 of the show!

 
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