Xcelerate Wellington Final Set For March 31 At PBIEC

Innovative and progressive businesses will compete at the Xcelerate Wellington 3.0 competition on Saturday, March 31 for the chance to win cash grants. The event, which is open to the public, will take place from 5 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during the final weekend of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Presented by the Young Professionals of Wellington (YPOW), this year’s event will be a two-in-one evening of excitement. The business pitches will begin at 5 p.m., and the winners will be announced at 7 p.m. After the Xcelerate Wellington prizes are presented, the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix will commence at 7:15 p.m.

The two were combined to attract more people and to invite a broader audience to witness both Wellington events, in which local entrepreneurs and equestrians compete at the same venue. The space will provide opportunity for people across the region to network and socialize in a distinctive setting.

This will be Xcelerate Wellington’s third annual event, and it is expected to be the biggest one yet. The business with the best-thought-out idea will win the $10,000 grand prize. A secondary prize of $2,500 will also be awarded to a local Wellington small business.

A local rendition of the Shark Tank television series, Xcelerate Wellington pits South Florida entrepreneurs against each other. The one whose innovative idea is judged as the most promising will earn the $10,000 cash prize for their business.

Xcelerate Wellington creates an opportunity-filled space for forward-thinkers from the surrounding region. They have the chance to present and pitch their unique business ideas to a panel of judges, who will ultimately determine a winner.

“We want to bring the conversation of entrepreneurship to Wellington,” YPOW’s Monica Van Tassel explained. “We have the people, ability and platform to join the bigger conversation of business taking place across the state.”

Although business owners from across the region can qualify to compete, the Homegrown People’s Choice Award, the secondary $2,500 price, will be presented only to a local Wellington business.

Xcelerate Wellington’s ultimate purpose is to initiate a fresh conversation on business development in South Florida, while aiding and encouraging local business leaders.

The finalists are applicants with either a local small business or startup organization, who have taken on the challenge of coming up with and presenting their unique business ideas to a panel of judges.

The finalists competing for the $10,000 grant are Brian Niles and Patrick Stinus with their pitch, Rooster; Matteo Ferrer with his Versattire pitch; Logan Rae with a Bacon Boxes pitch; and Rhys Ryan with the Ekkobar pitch.

Presenting sponsor Equestrian Sport Productions will award the $10,000 grand prize.

Along with the grand prize competition, Dr. Robin Schecter, Jenny Levin and Niquelle Averkamp will pitch their business ideas in the hopes of winning the Homegrown People’s Choice Award of $2,500. BNY Mellon Wealth Management will present the prize to the winning local business.

Contestants could not compete for both the grand prize and the Homegrown People’s Choice Award.

Each finalist will have five minutes to pitch his or her idea to the four judges, who will then provide their perspectives, likes and dislikes, on each of the business ideas presented. The finalists will answer questions for 10 minutes after their presentations.

Judges then each individually score the finalists’ ideas using scorecards, and the idea with the highest number of awarded points will win. The judges evaluate all pitches, not only on their uniqueness and likability, but also on their probability of success in the present economy.

The judges are each involved in varied Wellington enterprises and understand what it takes to build and maintain successful businesses. They are Howard Dvorkin, founder and CEO of Consolidated Credit; Jeff Brown, a business entrepreneur, investor and mentor; Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, which owns and operates the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the International Polo Club Palm Beach; and Robbin Lee, CEO of Wellington Regional Medical Center.

“We really wanted to stick to a panel of Wellington judges in order to create valuable conversation between them and the finalists,” Van Tassel explained.

Each prize will be awarded in cash, meaning that each of the two winners will obtain their grants in their entirety.

The goal is for the winners to utilize the grants as a stepping-stone resource for their business idea.

Tickets to the Xcelerate Wellington 3.0 final are $50, which includes free valet, an open bar, exclusive access to the Gallery Room, heavy hors d’oeuvres and the jumping competition that follows the business event. Purchase tickets at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=ohydj7sab&oeidk=a07ef7ez9zp3a36c741.

For more information, visit www.xceleratewellington.com.