Gabriella Genao/Contributing Writer
Despite the rumours circulating around campus, StartUp FIU does not take equity from businesses created through its program, according to the organization’s content strategist.
Michelle Roopchand, StartUp FIU’s content strategist for social media and public relations said that StartUp FIU is a free and available resource used by all students in varying major degrees and should not be categorized with common start-up companies that aim to make a profit.
Students can come to StartUp FIU with an idea or innovation, bringing his or her company from a start-up to a scale-up, which is a larger and more profitable company, said Roopchand.
For the student at the early developmental stages of his or her innovation, StartUp FIU provides two distinct programs to help: the incubator, a six-month to two year program, for those who have an idea but still need to develop it, and the accelerator, a 14-week program for those who are ready to take their business off the ground.
StartUp FIU Food is one of three cooperative efforts, geared toward the incubator process, and has spawned food entrepreneurs like Lemon City Tea and Happylicious by Betsy.
“We help them create their business plan, we help them build a team, we give them mentorship,” said Roopchand. “We give them all the ingredients they need to get ready to pitch their company, in order to get additional funding.”
Aside from providing the resources, connections and links which are necessary to create invention prototypes or market a food brand, Roopchand said that StartUp FIU is committed to provide all these tools for free to everyone.
“It’s no cost to the entrepreneur, which means it’s no cost to FIU students, no cost to the alumni, faculty, or staff,” said Roopchand.
Robert Castillo, a senior studying international relations, finds StartUp FIU to be a positive program useful to students.
“They would be willing to invest in your idea if it’s profitable, if it already has a set plan, if it’s already in motion and already developing revenue,” said Castillo.
Castillo said he’s had many encounters with StartUp FIU, and is involved with several entrepreneurial endeavors himself. StartUp FIU, he said, provides some of the best relationship connections for successful collaborative thinking in entrepreneurship.
Daniel Tillit, a senior majoring in international business, heard of StartUp FIU when he was the director of the American Marketing Association. Tillit admitted that staff from StartUp would deliver compelling conferences to his team, but making the effort to meet with StartUp was never his priority.
“Now that I actually started my own marketing firm, I really want to check it out, because the marketing firm is something that is starting from nothing. Lately, I’ve been meaning to visit StartUp FIU because it seems their program can only benefit what I’m doing now,” said Tillit.
StartUP FIU is located on the third floor of the Management and Advanced Research Center at the Modesto Maidique campus.
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