Thursday 26 Nov 2015
Startup Weekend adds 6 more Startup Teams to the Regional Ecosystem!
Congratulations to Cat Wine, “Premium cat drinks with catnip in every sip “for securing first place at the 2015 Jacksonville Startup Weekend!
iStart Jax Launches Program to Inspire Entrepreneurial Mindset in Underprivileged Population
E-Mindset is a 5 week-end program built on a rigor and relevance framework
COOLEAF makes it to Intel Innovation Award
Cooleaf, a technology startup focused on platforms for fitness engagement!
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By Maria Contreras-Sweet
Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

With apologies to baseball and your mother’s apple pie, nothing is more American than National Small Business Week.

Our country was founded by risk-taking pioneers in search of new horizons. More than two centuries later, what sets America apart in the world is the willingness of our entrepreneurs to take risks. Small businesses allow Americans to be their own boss and improve their lot in life through hard work – a core American value.

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation declaring National Small Business Week to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs, who create nearly two out of every three net, new U.S. jobs each year. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said it was our small businesses that powered our recovery after the Great Recession.


National Small Business Week, themed “SBA: Dream Big, Start Small,” will be held May 4-8.Special events will take place in Miami/Boca Raton, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York, and Washington. D.C.


Tune in all week for live-streaming, beginning at 1 p.m. ET Monday with a panel discussion on small business financing followed by a conversation with Joyce Rosenberg of the Associated Press. Or join me @MCS4Biz at #DreamSmallBiz. I promise you’ll learn a lot.


America is one of the few countries that give entrepreneurs a seat at the President’s cabinet table. This allows the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to speak with one voice on behalf of 28 million small businesses with divergent interests. 


The SBA also offers an extensive national network of small business lenders and counselors that’s unmatched anywhere in the world. Many entrepreneurs with great ideas and great potential do not begin with great wealth, so they need a great government partner to support their success.


The SBA offers the “three Cs” to help the best and brightest start or grow a business, secure capital, and commercialize their ideas to benefit society:

  • Capital: SBA fill gaps in the commercial lending marketplace so success in the small business sector is based on merit, not family wealth. To inquire about a small business loan, click here.
  • Counseling: SBA provides free consultation and advice to help businesses on Main Street succeed. To find a small business counselor near you, click here.
  • Contracts: SBA levels the playing field with big business by helping small businesses capture new revenue and new customers by winning government contracts, joining corporate supply chains, and exporting beyond our borders. To learn about contracting opportunities, click here.

This year, during National Small Business Week, we recommit ourselves to those fearless entrepreneurs who plan well, work hard, and dream big. Every business starts small. Nike, Apple, FedEx, Ben & Jerry’s, Under Armour and Outback Steakhouse were all once small businesses, until they found an SBA lender or investor to work with them.

I came to this country as a 5-year old immigrant who didn’t speak a word of English. Today, I serve in the cabinet of the President of the United States. My story is possible only because of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Success in business comes one small step at a time. So dream big, but take that next small step today, because the next great American success story could be staring back at you in the mirror.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet started three businesses in Los Angeles, including a community bank, before joining President Obama’s cabinet in April 2014.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (November 18, 2013) – iStart Jax is pleased to announce the launch of an ambitious program, E-Mindset. Short for Entrepreneurial Mindset, E-Mindset is a revolutionary and globally proven program focusing on engaging and inspiring underprivileged women and young adults on the fundamental concepts of the entrepreneurial mindset and its unlimited potential.

According to a recent study by The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, nearly 2.4 million college graduates cannot find employment in their area of study. That’s 80 percent of college graduates. The study also states that 54 percent of Millennials (ages 18-34) would like to start a business, but only 11 percent plan to do so.

iStart Jax, in association with Kauffman Laboratories for Enterprise Creation and local corporate sponsors including Florida Blue and The Jaguars Foundation, is working to reach its goal of empowering 1,000 participants with transformative experiences of the entrepreneurial mindset.

 “As a community working together, we can make this happen,” explained MJ Charmani, Founder and Chairman of iStart Jax.We need to create a whole new generation of youth who are job creators vs. job seekers. We will work with community champions, entrepreneurs, and leaders to reach our goal”.

E-Mindset-logoE-Mindset will be offered in a five-weekend format. Participants will go through a hands-on curriculum, which includes case studies of people with limited resources that have triumphed over hardship and adversity by embracing an entrepreneurial mindset. The overall objective is to empower learners through the development of entrepreneurial thinking while immersing them in real-world entrepreneurial experiences.

“It’s our responsibility as a society to provide our youth with the tools and guidance they need to take charge of their own futures and have a beneficial impact on their local communities,” said Yash Nath, CEO and President of iStart Jax Business Accelerator.

To sponsor an underprivileged women or young adult, please donate at

More information on the program is available at


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