NV Grow Director Kevin Raiford, Staff, and Clients Meet SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in Las Vegas

On Monday, May 23rd, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, opened her Las Vegas visit with a roundtable discussion with Rep. Horsford, SBA Pacific Regional Administrator Elmy Bermejo, SBA Nevada Director Saul Ramos, local leaders & business owners, and NV Grow Director Kevin Raiford/staff, Blackstone LaunchPad champion NuLife Kicks, Pastadesso, & other clients/entrepreneurs to discuss leveraging equity and access, and to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster.

In recognition of Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, Administrator Guzman and Rep. Horsford also visited AAPI-owned Sun’s Thai Food, a local family business that benefitted from a PPP loan that helped sustain their operations during the height of the pandemic. At the Sun’s Thai Restaurant, they were greeted with traditional Thai dance, lots of deliciously prepared authentic Thai food, and were serenaded by one of the NV Grow staff member, Gabriel Interrante, who is a promising musician.

MONDAY, May 23rd: SBA Administrator Guzman to Visit Las Vegas to meet with Local Leaders and Small Businesses

PRESS OFFICE

Release Date: May 20, 2022

Release Number: MA22-26

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LAS VEGAS – On May 23, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, will visit Las Vegas. Administrator Guzman will participate in roundtable discussions with Rep. Horsford, Rep. Titus, local leaders, and local business owners to discuss increasing equity and access to opportunities to help uplift and support underserved and disadvantaged small businesses.

In recognition of Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, Administrator Guzman and Rep. Horsford will visit AAPI-owned Sun’s Thai Food, a local family business that benefitted from a PPP loan that helped sustain their operations during the height of the pandemic.

Administrator Guzman will meet with Andrea Vigil, COO of Allegiant Electric, LLC, to congratulate her on her recent award, 2022 Nevada Small Business Person of the Year. With the help of the SBA, Andrea was able to utilize two PPP loans, an EIDL loan, and skills learned through SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative to sustain her business during the pandemic and thrive in a male-dominated industry.

Administrator Guzman and Rep. Dina Titus will meet with Maria Davila, owner of Rika Arepa Express, a local minority-owned small business that received Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

A Women’s Small Business Roundtable discussion will be held with Administrator Guzman and Rep. Dina Titus and local women-owned small businesses to discuss how to increase access to capital and resources to start or grow their businesses.

Media are invited to attend open press events, but must RSVP by 5:00 PM PT on Sunday, May 22, 2022, for credentialing and further information.

Las Vegas Stops

Las Vegas, NV – May 23, 2022

WHAT:  Roundtable Discussion with Rep. Steve Horsford, local leaders, and local small business owners

WHEN: 12:10 PM

WHERE: 690 W Lake Mead Blvd, North Las Vegas, NV

WHO: Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration

Rep. Steve Horsford

Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy State Senator Dina Neal Elmy Bermejo, SBA Region 9 Administrator Saul Ramos, SBA NV District Director

Local Small Business Owners

WHAT: AAPI Business Visit with Rep. Steve Horsford

WHEN: 1:40 PM

WHERE: Sun’s Thai Food, 4941 W. Craig Rd, Las Vegas, NV, 89130

WHO: Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration Rep. Steve Horsford

Elmy Bermejo, SBA Region 9 Administrator

Saul Ramos, SBA NV District Director Local Small Business Owners

WHAT: Business Visit with Nevada’s Small Business Person of the Year

WHEN: 2:40 PM

WHERE: Allegiant Electric, LLC, 2480 N Decatur Blvd #115, Las Vegas, NV 89108

WHO: Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration

WHAT: Small Business Visit to Rika Arepa Express

WHEN: 3:30 PM

WHERE: 3650 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89121

WHO:  Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration

Rep. Dina Titus

Elmy Bermejo

SBA Region 9 Administrator Saul Ramos

SBA NV District Director

WHAT: Women’s Small Business Roundtable

WHEN: 5:30 PM

WHERE:  Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

WHO: Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration Rep. Dina Titus

Small Business Leaders

 

MEDIA RSVP: Please RSVP to Miryam Barajas at miryam.barajas@sba.gov with a reporter’s name and press outlet.

Administrator Guzman will be joined by Elmy Bermejo, Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region IX, who oversees the agency’s programs and services in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and Guam.

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

Video: Blackstone Student Pitch Competition Winners Announced! (Startup Grind Global 2022)

College of Southern Nevada’s NuLife Kicks snatched first place in the Blackstone Student Pitch Competition Startup Grind Global 2o22.

The Blackstone LaunchPad network makes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills accessible and relevant for all college students to help them build thriving companies and careers.

To view the entire announcement of the winners, click HERE.

CSN’s NuLife Kicks is the Grand Champion of the Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competitions at the StartUp Grind Global 2022

“Bringin’ Dead Kicks Back To Life” captured the hearts and minds of the Blackstone LaunchPad judges. College of Southern Nevada’s (CSN) NuLife Kicks is the Grand Champion of the Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competitions at the StartUp Grind Global 2022.  Akeem & Marquee Anifowoshe triumphantly beat over 130 nominations and 28 student teams from 24 schools that were selected as semi-finalists in the 2022 Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition.  They competed as one of five finalists that pitched live on April 12, 2022 for a chance to win a total of over $50,000 in prize money and in-kind prizes on the main stage of the Startup Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley. The competition also included a virtual People’s Choice Award, with online voting.

Nominated and mentored by Professor Kevin Raiford, CSN Blackstone LaunchPad Campus Director, and Professor Maria Schellhase, CSN Blackstone Academic Champion, NuLife Kicks represented to be the TOP candidate for the pitch competition based on four criteria: Innovation, Business Model and Viability, Team, and Pitch Quality.

NuLife Kicks is revolutionizing the way you maintain your kicks! Get rid of outdated methods of sneaker cleaning like the washing machine and concentrated solutions. The NuShoe Element solutions are chemically engineered for specific results on specific materials. Clean your kicks with precision using the NuShoe Element Tools.

They are now offering Sneaker Restoration Training! Learn to restore sneakers like the professionals. Start or grow a sneaker restoration business using Nu Methods, Nu Solutions and Nu Tools. Their trainings are created for all skill levels and include Signature NuShoe Element training kits. Open Enrollment is open now! Click HERE for NuLife Kicks Website.

Five Finalists Chosen to Compete in Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition @ Startup Grind These student teams will pitch live for a total of over $50,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Click HERE for the full article and video

Five student entrepreneurial teams have been selected to pitch live for a total of over $50,000 in cash and in-kind prizes at the upcoming Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition. The competition will be held in Silicon Valley on April 12th, on the main stage of the Startup Grind Global Conference, a convening of leaders in technology and big brands at the forefront of innovation.

The finalists have been selected from over 130 applications. Their teams attend five different schools across the United States and their ventures vary in industry, size, and geographical focus.

The all-woman panel of judges will include: Kelly Burton, Executive Director at Black Innovation Alliance, Kelsey Davis, Founder & CEO of CLLCTVE and Syracuse LaunchPad Alum, Christine Feng, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, and Devin Glenn, Managing Director, Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Blackstone. They will evaluate the finalists on the strength of the presentation, the viability of the idea, and the venture’s existing traction. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, April 13th on the Startup Grind Global Conference main stage and livestream.

Meet The Finalists

Bonsai, Shashank Kumar, UT Dallas

Bonsai is seeking to revolutionize the world of customer engagement through an AI-tool that automates and assists customer support teams. Customer service requests often take longer than is necessary because the agent doesn’t know the answer — Shashank estimates that 42% of employee time is wasted trying to access the right information. Bonsai seeks to elevate customer service systems by resolving tickets faster using AI-systems that can search a company’s database and find the right answer, reducing a 20-minute ticket to 2-minutes. The company has secured partners with several CRM companies, onboarded 15 paying customers, and raised $200K in pre-seed financing.

NuLife Kicks, Akeem Anifowoshe and Marquee Anifowoshe, College of Southern Nevada

NuLife Kicks hopes to pioneer the sneaker restoration trade. With the sneaker industry trending to reach $126B by 2026, according to Akeem and Marquee’s estimates, sneakers are on the rise — but sneaker-care solutions have not grown to meet the demand. Sneakers are expensive, and traditional cobblers struggle to adapt their tools and methods to care for modern sneakers. NuShoe Elements, a line of sneaker care products developed by Akeem, includes solutions and tools designed to fit sneaker-specific materials and surfaces. In addition to care products, NuLife Kicks has initiated a business model to help develop and train other entrepreneurs in sneaker-care techniques.

Mindsets & Milestones, Diondraya Taylor, UCLA

Mindsets & Milestones is using entrepreneurship to help equip the next generation of young women with the skills and self-confidence to succeed in reaching their goals. Diondraya estimates that 30% of high school girls with a 4.0 GPA still don’t believe they’re smart enough to achieve their dream career, a problem that is less about education and skills and more about self-perception. Her company creates entrepreneurial learning curricula, teacher guides, and courses, so that students can learn to bring their ideas to life.

SPORA, Andrea Paz Lacavex, UC Santa Cruz

SPORA, or “Sociology, Planning, and Optimal Restoration of Algae,” is producing Green Gravel in hopes of making the reforestation of kelp forest ecosystems more accessible and scalable. Kelp forest ecosystems are disappearing from oceans around the world, putting pressure on fishing communities that rely on the algae habitats. SPORA’s Green Gravel is made by injecting microscopic kelp spores into gravel. Once the algae are securely attached to and growing in the rocks, the company gives the Green Gravel to fishing communities to throw into the ocean and become the source of a new kelp forests. Because Green Gravel is relatively inexpensive and does not require highly trained workers, SPORA hopes it can be a scalable, accessible solution for communities to jumpstart kelp reforestation.

StaffOnTap, Kayla Foley, Cornell

StaffOnTap wants to make a difference for seniors, nurses, and nursing homes by connecting understaffed nursing homes and temporary nurses at an affordable price. There’s a national shortage of nurses working in nursing homes, and Kayla has observed through her family’s business in nursing homes that nurses are interested in making extra money at nursing homes through flexible shifts. Through StaffOnTap, nurses with full-time and part-time jobs can post their availability for additional shifts on the platform for nursing homes to book, for a flat $30 fee. So far, StaffOnTap has onboarded 64 nursing professionals and 22 nursing homes, with an additional 60 nursing homes ready to onboard.

About Blackstone LaunchPad

The Blackstone LaunchPad network makes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills accessible and relevant for all college students to help them build thriving companies and careers. We work with higher-ed institutions to deliver proven startup resources, facilitate access to a global network of mentors and advisors, and offer unique virtual and physical convening opportunities so thousands of diverse college students can go further, faster. Students learn by doing, gaining knowledge and critical skills to help them succeed as a founder or contributor to the innovation economy. LaunchPad’s ever-expanding network encompasses campuses with predominantly underrepresented populations. Learn more: www.blackstonelaunchpad.org.

CSN Opens Its Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with a Japanese Tea Ceremony on April 7th! Join us!

The AAPI Heritage Month is normally celebrated in May; however, due to semester ending, graduation ceremony, and being a shorter academic month in May, CSN celebrates AAPI Heritage Month in April. Join us in opening the AAPI Heritage Month with a unique experience of learning a Chado Urasenke Japanese Tea Ceremony this Thursday, April 7th, at 12PM-1PM, via Microsoft TEAMS. See flyer.

Lauren Sochi Deutsch, a licensed instructor of the Urasenke School of Chado, the way of tea, will guide us inside a traditional tea room where a host will prepare a bowl of tea for a guest. While there is a precise choreography to this elevated experience of hospitality, it is profoundly simple and poetic.

 

NuLife Kicks is REALLY on Its Way to Winning the Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition as One of the Five Finalist From Over 130 Nominations! With Over $50K in Prizes? It’s Pitch Time!

March 23, 2022

This message was communicated to the Blackstone LaunchPad Network.

This year was by far the strongest field we have seen in the over 10 years of the LaunchPad’s network and that is in large part to your efforts to cultivate entrepreneurship on your campuses.

Unfortunately, some very tough decisions had to be made. However, we are thrilled to announce the five finalist teams that will be going on to pitch live on Startup Grind’s stage on April 12:

BonsaiShashank Kumar, UT Dallas

AI-powered agent that automates and assists customer support teams

 Mindsets & Milestones, Diondraya Taylor, UCLA

Digital curriculum and resources to develop entrepreneurial skills in young girls

 NuLife Kicks, Akeem and Marquee Anifowoshe, College of Southern Nevada

Helps maintain and restore sneakers with eco-friendly cleaning solutions and provides training on restoration techniques

 SPORA, Andrea Paz Lacavex, UC Santa Cruz

Uses Green Gravel technique to restore kelp forests

 StaffOnTap, Kayla Foley, Cornell

Technology platform that connects understaffed nursing homes with temporary nurses

Finalist decisions have been communicated to all teams that participated in the semifinal round.

NuLife Kicks is on Its Way for a Chance to Win a Total of Over $50,000 in Prizes

28 Student Teams Selected as Annual Pitch Competition Semi-Finalists


From over 130 nominations, 28 student teams from 24 schools have been selected as semi-finalists in the 2022 Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition. They will compete to be one of five finalists pitching for a chance to win a total of over $50,000 in prize money and in-kind prizes.

Nominated by Campus Directors from across the network, these students represent the top candidates based on four criteria: Innovation, Business Model and Viability, Team, and Pitch Quality.

Over the next several weeks, the semi-finalists teams will pitch live to Blackstone LaunchPad judges, who will select the finalists. After receiving ongoing mentoring support from Blackstone Ambassadors, the finalists will pitch live on April 12, on the main stage of the Startup Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley. The competition will also include a virtual People’s Choice Award, with online voting starting soon, so stay tuned!

With nearly half of the students led by a woman founder and nearly three-quarters led by a student who identifies as BIPOC, the cohort of semifinalists is one of the most diverse groups to participate in a LaunchPad signature program. They demonstrate diversity of industry focus as well, with companies running the gamut from Zuk Fitness, which provides specialized workouts tailored to wheelchair users, to Culturally Kreative, a publishing company aiming to diversify the children’s book industry. More than five of the student founders previously participated in the Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship, a program geared towards helping earlier stage founders.

Last year’s first place winner was Marla Beyer, founder of pediatric mental-healthcare platform Hopscotch. Read about the other 2021 winners here.

Meet the 2022 LaunchPad Pitch Competition Semifinalists:
T4 Movement UT San Antonio
Algeon Materials UC San Diego
AllergFree UT Southwestern
Bonsai UT Dallas
Clocr UT Austin
CoStudy New York University
Culturally Kreative Spelman College
EthosSphere Cornell University
EV Motorworks University at Albany
FutrDoc UT Rio Grande Valley
Highlights DR UT Permian Basin
Illumenar Syracuse University
KovaDx UC Berkeley
Middlemen UC San Diego
Mindset & Milestones UC Los Angeles
Nailerz CUNY City College
Nex Generation Quantum CUNY Baruch
Nile Hair University of Southern California
NuLife Kicks College of Southern Nevada
OYA UC Los Angeles
REVCORP PC UT El Paso
Sentrify University at Bufffalo
Spikepen UC Irvine
SPORA UC Santa Cruz
StaffOnTap Cornell University
The Giddy Thrifter University of Montana
The Next Step CUNY Brooklyn College
Zuk Fitness University of Southern California