Miami Tech & Startup News

Meet the FAU professor whose bootcamp programs aim to help make our region an entrepreneurial hub

Meet the FAU professor whose bootcamp programs aim to help make our region an entrepreneurial hub

By Riley Kaminer

Dr. Kevin Cox is on a mission to make South Florida an innovation hub, one entrepreneur at a time – with Florida Atlantic University playing a key enabling role.

For the last ten years, this entrepreneurship professor has been running FAU’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp at the College of Business’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, where Cox is Associate Director.

The origins of the program stem from Tech Runway, FAU’s accelerator program. As an instructor in the program, Cox developed a series of materials to help entrepreneurs get their early stage ventures off the ground. 

“At the time, it was just a bunch of PowerPoints and a lot of stuff in my head,” Cox told Refresh Miami. But eventually Cox would assemble these disparate pieces of in a workbook – notably not a traditional textbook – that forms the core of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp.

Kevin Cox, FAU entrepreneurship professor

Over the course of eight weeks, this program enables entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a feasible business. It is designed to be affordable: $50 for students, $150 for FAU faculty and staff, and $300 for the broader community. 

The bootcamp does not provide college credit – rather, successful participants are provided with a certificate. There are neither grades nor traditional assignments. And the course meets at 5:30pm, allowing people to attend after work. 

The cost and structure of the program means that it attracts a diverse range of participants. Entrepreneurs have ranged in age from 14 to 65. They have been everything from students to scientists. And the businesses have been diverse – from innovative technology to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. The yearning to build a business is what brings all these disparate members of our community together under FAU’s roof.

“The bootcamp is a great primer to get entrepreneurs and new ventures prepared to apply for the more competitive accelerator programs,” said Cox, noting that the program is especially helpful for people with an idea but not a fully validated business model.

So far, the program boasts many success stories. Top of the list is probably Honor Lock. “It’s a good example because they actually did not get into Tech Runway, so they were sent to the bootcamp,” recalled Cox. Other notable examples include mobility company Doroni and fitness startup Toney Bands.

One major USP of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp is that they offer a Spanish-language program. Already going into its third cohort, Cox shared that the program has already experienced early success. He noted that government data suggests that Hispanic women are opening an outsized amount of small businesses, many of whom are likely in South Florida.

For Cox, the South Florida tech ecosystem’s rapid growth trajectory will likely continue. “I don’t think we’re quite where we’re going to end up – and I think that’s a good thing.” 

He underscored that our tech community benefits from a diverse set of ecosystem building initiatives – from eMerge and the Knight Foundation to South Florida Tech Hub and the Social Impact Lab at Lynn – and urged that these all work together to maximize their collective impact. “That’s what it will take to reach a tipping point in our tech sector.”

Learn more about the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp by visiting its website.

Photo at top of post: a recent cohort of FAU’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp


Riley Kaminer