All posts by Nicolle Panuthos

Empower women’s lives; take part in the InnovateHER 2017 competition

Sign up NOW for InnovateHER 2017, a nationwide competition launched by the U.S. Small Business Administration to find innovative products and services that help impact and empower women’s lives.

St. Petersburg College is partnering with the SBA on the competition.

InnovateHER 2017 Competition

Register today for InnovateHER 2017

Pitch event

Local competitions are being held across the country for InnovateHER 2017. Those selected as winners at these events will move on to the semi-final round. Ten finalists will then be invited to the National InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge to be held in mid-2017 where they will compete for the top three awards and a total of $70,000 in prizes.

Locally, a pitch event for InnovateHER 2017 will be held at The Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College on Monday, May 22. There is limited availability to pitch at this event, which is open to the public.

Judging criteria includes:

  • Potential for commercialization
  • Impact on the lives of women and families
  • Ability to fill a need in the marketplace

Contact information

For more details, contact the Tampa Bay Innovation Center at

SPC hosts Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition

6th Annual Competition SCREENSAVER-2016 Green

SPC is now hosting its 6th Annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition, which awards over $10,000 in prizes to budding student entrepreneurs each year.

The competition offers an opportunity for students to showcase their talents and sharpen their skills as they prepare for and present in a live “Shark Tank” Like competition.

Students from all campuses and disciplines compete for the cash awards and many have gone on to launch their concepts and entered the business world more prepared for all the challenges in the marketplace. Student success stories are featured in our Mind Your Business Student Showcase display at the Seminole Campus and on the college’s website.

Each finalist that will be presenting on April 21st, 2016 has completed two rounds of judging with eight different panel members. Our judges are successful investors and entrepreneurs, who put our students and their bright ideas to the test.

SPC understands that entrepreneurship is important to students and our economy, and success is only possible through partnership and preparation. The competition offers both to each participant and provides not only a chance to build skills and confidence, and a solid network, it offers cash funds winners can use to get started on their business launch.

Mind Your Business Showcase

Student success stories are featured in our Mind Your Business Student Showcase display at the Seminole Campus.

All awards for the business plan competition have been made possible thanks to the generosity and commitment of our sponsors. Our list of business partners is growing. See our partners and join our sponsors by checking our Career & Entrepreneurship Center website at

Entrepreneurship Program, Career and Entrepreneurship Center

It’s not only our SPC students who have achieved success and recognition – so too has the Entrepreneurship Program and Career & Entrepreneurship Center at the Seminole Campus – home base for the Entrepreneurship Program at SPC.

The program and its faculty have received awards and recognition for:

  • Business of the Year at SPC Seminole Campus
  • The President’s Award for Supporting Entrepreneurship and Small Business
  • SPC Foundation Innovation Grant Awards for “Entrepreneurship Students and Technology on the Go” and partnership with Digital Media Department
  • Silverberg Grant Award for creative program and competition
  • National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship Awards for
    • Innovation in Entrepreneurship Education
    • Emerging Entrepreneurship Programs & Curriculum Development

SPC believes there is a formula for success in entrepreneurship. It includes creative students, quality curriculum and programs, and a caring and supportive community.

Join us April 21st at 6:00PM at the Seminole Campus main building Digitorium for this exciting business plan competition– where great ideas get a chance to shine! Students, faculty, staff and the local community are invited to attend the competition and the reception that follows for a taste of what launching a business is really all about.

This year’s finalists and special awards winners are from Seminole, Gibbs, Clearwater, Downtown, and Tarpons Springs with programs of study ranging from General AA, Health Sciences, and Business AS and BAS levels.

Congratulations to our Finalists and Special Award Winners:

•  Alexander Fisher
•  Felicia Harris
•  Dylan Wahl

•  Steven Berry
•  Kathryn Hamm
•  Lawrence Weglarz

•  Nikole Coonts
•  Bradyn Freeman
•  Jason Scott
•  Lawrence Weglarz

JOIN us on APRIL 21st @ 6PM
See who wins!

Expert entrepreneur panel provides tips to launch your business

Expert Entrepreneur Panel on stage talking

St. Petersburg College recently hosted the first Meet Our Expert Entrepreneur Panel: How to Launch Your Business, at the Seminole Campus Digitorium. The Lunch & Learn event was hosted by SPC’s Career and Entrepreneurship Center.

Thank you to our Expert Entrepreneurship Panel for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share their expertise with our SPC students and take student questions too!

Expert Entrepreneur Panel

Our expert entrepreneur panel in order of presentations were:

  • Deborah Cerminaro Eldrige, J.D.- Law Professor/Lead Business Law Instructor, St. Petersburg College
  • David Zillig, former CEO and Founder of Jani-King
  • Ken Gordon, CEO of FranBiz-International Franchise & Business Consulting
  • Linda Goldfarb, Owner of LSG Consulting Services, LLC-Coaching and Consulting
  • Tom Hamilton, CEO and Founder of West Bay Media Group

To be added to the next panel invite list, please send an email to

Earn an Entrepreneurship Certificate at SPC

Thinking of starting your own business? Our Entrepreneurship Certificate can point you in the right direction. Our online courses teach you how to develop a business plan and manage and market your business.

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hamilton Creative Director of West Bay Media Group.

Explore winning ideas in this year’s Business Plan and Elevator Pitch competition

Business Competition winners up on stage holding checks

Learn more about the winners from SPC’s 5th annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch competition. The annual event gives SPC students a chance to compete to win cash prizes totaling more than $10,000  to launch their business idea!

Review this year’s winning concepts:


  • 1st Place – Rebecca Rodriguez – 4 The Girls
    Grand Prize ($5,000) and People’s Choice Winner ($100). Rebecca is enrolled in our Bachelors of Business Program (St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus)and is pursing the Entrepreneurship track. Her business idea was focused on providing targeted fashion solutions for shapely women in professional, casual and evening settings.
  • 2nd Place – Nykko Ford –
    Prize ($2,500). Nykko is enrolled in our Bachelor’s in Management & Organizational Leadership (Downtown Campus) and also works as a peer advisor helping to support his fellow students. His business is a B2B marketing company formed to offer small to mid-size companies a cost effective self-serve option to buy and sell advertising across multimedia channels, is now in the launch phase through the TEC Garage St. Petersburg incubator space.


  • 1st Place – Michael Ganote – Elite Interviews
    Prize ($1,000). Michael is currently studying for his A.A. Degree (Seminole Campus). He is involved in the SGA (Student Government Association) and is the Vice President of the SPC Chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization Club. His business will provide employers with effective HR solutions to improve their business bottom line.
  • 2nd Place – David Thut – Origin Aquaponics
    Prize ($500). David is pursuing an A.S. in Industrial Management (Downtown Campus). His business idea is a commercial greenhouse with a unique focus and target market.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS:Other Special Recognition Awards 

  • Quentin Cumings – Tarpon Springs Campus-Awarded for Social Entrepreneurship Concept for his concept Charity Pools. This idea is focused on finding a way to combine Quentin’s interest in serving good causes while offering quality services home owners need. With his company customers would be able to allocate a portion of their monthly spending from pool services to charities. (Prize $250)
  • Kathleen Loney – St Petersburg/Gibbs Campus- Awarded for Service Entrepreneurship for the concept Fabulous Faces by Katie. Specializing in Bridal make-up provided on location, this mobile service business brings the expertise in hair and make-up design along with airbrushing directly to the bride Wedding party on site. Offering a much needed convenience option on the big and typically hectic/busy wedding day. (Prize $250)
  • Luz Perry – Seminole Campus-Awarded for Fitness & Health Concept for the concept Run Seminole. Her business is focused on training and fitness coupled with a mission to build Green Awareness and promote Planet Preservation. It is a locally based business that will use the nature and beauty available to Floridians to help them with their fitness and marathon goals. (Prize $250)

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch competition finalists

2014 Annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition winners standing on stage holding checks.

SPC’s 5th annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch competition gives SPC students enrolled in a degree or certificate program a chance to compete to win cash prizes totaling more than $10,000  to launch their business idea!

Winners will be announced on Thursday, April 30, 6 p.m., SPC Seminole Campus Digitorium. RSVP for event.

Finalists for this year’s competition are:


  • Brett Berner
  • Nykko Ford
  • Benjamin Woods


  • Michael Ganote
  • Rebecca Rodriquez
  • David Thut

ALTERNATE:  Kathleen Loney


  • Carmen Cruz
  • Quentin Cummings
  • Kira Gilson
  • Kathleen Loney
  • Luz Perry


Pitch your business idea and compete to win cash awards

BPEPC 2013 Winners standing on stage holding checks

SPC’s 5th annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch competition gives SPC students enrolled in a degree or certificate program a chance to compete to win cash prizes totaling more than $10,000  to launch their business idea!

Students can ask SPC business faculty and successful local entrepreneurs to help develop their plan or pitch for submission in the competition.

For rules and details visit:


  • March 30 – Application deadline
  • April 2 – Mandatory training for semi-finalists
  • April 10 – Finalists announced
  • April 30 – Competition and awards ceremony

For more information contact our Entrepreneurship Specialist at or 727-394-6946.

SPC College for Kids Entrepreneurship Camp

Group photo of kids at Entrepreneurship Camp

This past summer, Nicolle Panuthos, Academic Department Chair from College of Business & Entrepreneurship and Pam Levering, Entrepreneurship Program Specialist, partnered with Cecelia O’Dowd, Program Director for College for Kids (C4K) to provide opportunities for learning and exploration in the areas of entrepreneurship and sustainability.  The C4K-Entrepreneurship Camp was offered to students ranging from Kindergarten through 5th grade and provided exercises and activities to build students’ critical thinking skills and creativity. Nicolle Panuthos collaborated with students and graduates from the Entrepreneurship Certificate Program to create activities and curriculum.  Marie Rogers, SPC Business student graduate and winner in the 3rd Annual Business Plan & Elevator Pitch Competition, served as one of the camp counselors.

The Entrepreneurship Camp was featured at two sites in Largo and Dunedin:  Fuggit Elementary and Garrison Jones Elementary.  The camps developed were two week sessions with a focus on sustainable and social entrepreneurship, along with special focus on the three Rs of conservation:  Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle.  Partnerships with the Sea Turtle Trackers Inc., Pinellas County Waste Services, Largo Recycles and the City of Dunedin, facilitated student exploration and learning with field trips, hands on activities and real world examples of impactful solutions for the environment and businesses. The children were taught about the importance of solving problems that have far reaching impacts and learned how they could contribute at home and school.   At the end of the week, the students submitted their creations to a mini-contest, and  students were also given the opportunity to submit their creations in the annual  Recycled Innovations Contest feature by the City of Largo.   

One of our C4K students, Annabelle B., age 9, from our College 4 Kids Camp won in the Junior Innovator category with her recycled wind chime creation!

Annabelle_Wins Recycle Contest

LargoRecycles Contest-2014

The camp is expected to be offered as an ongoing camp in the College 4 Kids program, and prospects for expanding the camp to additional sites and to include middle school grade levels are being reviewed for 2015.