The Young Professionals of Wellington recently announced the panel of judges for the Xcelerate Wellington $10,000 Business Competition to take place Thursday, Nov. 19.
YPOW launched Xcelerate Wellington this year with the goal of engaging and stimulating the local business community by letting local businesses compete for a $10,000 grant to help the principals get their business to the next level.
Xcelerate Wellington is open to all businesses based in or serving Wellington. Applicants provide a pitch deck, general business information and an executive summary through an online application form at www.xceleratewellington.com.
The final date for submitting a business application is Friday, Nov. 6.
Businesses proceeding to the final round will have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to the judge’s panel on Thursday, Nov. 19, where the winning business will be awarded the $10,000 grant.
The judges include:
• Mark Bellissimo — Managing partner and the largest shareholder of Wellington Equestrian Partners LLC, Bellissimo is responsible for all operations of the partnership, including Equestrian Sport Productions, which owns and manages the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington. Equestrian Sport Productions operates the Winter Equestrian Festival, the largest and longest-running horse show in the world, as well as the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
Bellissimo received his bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and his master’s of business administration degree from the Harvard Business School. With his daughter Paige, he is co-founder of the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments. He is also publisher of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine. Bellissimo is a member of Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board.
Bellissimo manages the Rolex Central Park Horse Show through International Equestrian Group LLC. New ventures include the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina and the Colorado Horse Park.
• Jeff Brown — The 2015-16 Entrepreneur in Residence at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University, Brown is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur and founder of Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp.
Over the years, Brown has been a key member of the South Florida investment community, mentoring and advising potential investors and innovators through Honey Tree Holdings, of which he is a founding member, as well as Startup Quest, the Digital Venture Capital Association and Palm Beach Angels Inc.
Brown has founded various tech and media startups since 1988, and is a past director of the Gold Coast Venture Capital Association. He is an organizer and founding trustee of Awesome Journalism, which funds innovative journalism projects around the world.
“Thinking entrepreneurially and innovatively isn’t just for startups and business people, it serves journalists and professional communicators well, too,” Brown said. “The entrepreneur’s skill set of communication, branding, salesmanship, strategy and finance are core skills for 21st Century employees, as well as leaders and innovators within an organization.”
• Martin Hill — A Wellington resident, Hill appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank program in September for his invention, the Beebo, and walked away with a $200,000 investment from two “sharks.”
Hill, trained as an electrical engineer, moved from England to the United States five years ago after he met Sarah, now his wife. The couple has two young children.
Like many infants, his son was a fussy eater, and Hill noticed that one of the times his son was most relaxed was while they were reading together. Wanting to feed his son while reading a story but unable to flip the pages and hold the bottle at the same time, Hill decided that he had to invent something that would free up his hands when feeding his son. So, using Styrofoam, a cellphone case and a kitchen drying mat, he created the first prototype of the Beebo, a feeding tool that attaches to a parent’s shoulder and holds a bottle in place, giving parents a free hand while feeding.
• Robbin Lee — Chief executive officer of Wellington Regional Medical Center, Lee has more than 25 years of experience as a senior healthcare executive. Before joining WRMC, she served as chief operating officer at HCA’s Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and JFK Medical Center.
Her major focus is leading not-for-profit and for-profit academic and community-based healthcare organizations. Lee is a results-oriented, decisive leader with success in providing overall leadership and direction supporting strategic visioning, operational improvements, financial performance and physician alignment initiatives. She has a proven track record of building teams, physician relations and strategic planning.
Lee holds a master’s in business administration degree from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, a bachelor’s degree from Shorter College in Georgia and a nursing degree from Georgia Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, also in Georgia.
The Young Professionals of Wellington is a nonprofit organization that aims to identify, develop and engage the next generation of leadership in Wellington by increasing community awareness and promoting the social and economic interests of the community. To learn more, visit www.ypwellington.com.
Xcelerate Wellington would not be possible without the support of local business sponsors Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington Plaza and R5M Design.