Female Founders Pitch Competition at the 
Women Empower Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL
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All participants selected to pitch will receive exposure for their company at WEXFTL on the Main Stage. Additionally, the winning company will receive a prize package that includes:

Ticket to PS27 Female Founders Forum 2019 & PS27 Leadership Week 2019
Featured on Women Empower Expo Website and Pitched to the Press
Speaker Training Program To Learn How To Grow Your Business Through Public Speaking
Apply today for FREE for the opportunity to be selected to pitch live at WEX DC on the Main Stage on May 26, 2018.
The Women Empower Expo takes place in select cities across North America gathering thousands of female entrepreneurs, business leaders, creatives, and professionals who are passionate about making a positive difference in their career, life and community.

Our one-day events feature educational tracks and unique experiences for entrepreneurs at the different stages of the business lifecycle with a focus on the following:
At each of our events we focus on collaborating with local entrepreneurs, leaders, businesses and organizations to help create a thriving ecosystem to support female entrepreneurs year round.
  •  OPPORTUNITY TO PITCH: If selected you will have the opportunity to pitch LIVE in front of our panel of judges.
  •  EXPERT COACHING: Coaching and advice from experienced entrepreneurs and investors.
  •  BRAND AWARENESS: Exposure to thousands of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and professionals.
  • - Prize package valued at $3,500+
  • - Four complimentary passes to the Women Empower Expo 2019
  • - Exposure Across WEX Channels: 100K reach on social and via email newsletter
  • - Introduction to our esteemed panel of judges
  • - 2 Hour Consultation with PS27 Ventures 
  • - Speaker Training Program with BeAPublicSpeaker.com
  • - Media Exposure: Featured on the Women Empower Expo website for 1 year plus our PR team will be pitching you to the press!
  •  Oct 24 - Applications due
  •  Nov 2 - Selections made
  • Nov 10 - Women Empower Expo Female Founders Pitch Competition
  • Early-Stage Startup - Startup phase (1-3 years); generating revenue (no minimum); you are not required to be profitable
  •  Female Owned - Your company must be at least 51% woman-owned
  •  Demo-Ready - Your product or service must be demonstrable with a completed MVP or pilot
  •  Pitch Live-  All selected participants must be available to pitch their company live on Sat., November 10th at WEX in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Founder, President and CEO of Startup Nation Ventures
Dr. Rabenou is the Founder, President and CEO of StartUp Nation Ventures. Inspired by her first-hand experience taking Israeli startups to the U.S. market, Dr. Rabenou created StartUp Nation Ventures with a goal to facilitate and fast-track the entire process of propelling entrepreneurial dreams into revenue-generating realities.

With more than 20 years experience in the Israeli high-tech and health-tech industries, Dr. Rabenou also has a passion for furthering Florida’s role as a gateway to the U.S. startup market. She has a proven record of identifying and developing opportunities for growth and expansion, taking companies through the entire life cycle, from inception to sustainability, profitability, and ultimately, an IPO.

Propelled by her success founding Rad Biosciences and winning the prestigious Israeli government tender to establish and run the biomed incubator, Dr. Rabenou was selected to serve as a director on Isreal’s bio-tech and high-tech Incubators Investment Committees. In this role, Dr. Rabenou vetted hundreds of startups seeking government funding and identified a variety of successful companies in their early stages.
CPA, MS, Tax Partner at WithumSmith+Brown
Zsia has over 20 years of professional experience specializing in taxation including private and publicly held Corporations. She also is the Team Leader of Women in Technology for Withum's Technology Group. She has diverse experience within the technology sector and consults on a wide variety of related tax issues.

Zsia graduated from the State University of New York, Albany, with a BS degree in accounting and earned her MS degree in taxation from the same institution. In 2010 Zsia was honored as “Woman of the Year” by the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants of New Jersey. 
Vice President, HSN New Merchandise Business Development
Professionally Dara Trujillo is an Executive with 25+ years of experience: 10 years at traditional Brick and Morter-overseeing 28 department stores, directing fashion, Private Label development, Public Relations and Personal Shopping; 15 years with the Walt Disney Company’s theme park division overseeing new merchandise synergy and concepts, brand strategy development, and signature events. Concepts included team member master planning the new Disney Springs, development of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Goofy’s Candy Company, Once Upon a Toy, The Pirates League and she lead the charge with the company’s Pin Trading and Vinylmation initiatives. In her current role with HSN, as Vice President of Merchandise New Business Development, Dara oversees company initiatives, new business opportunities and manages the American Dream’s Program which highlights Entrepreneurs, their stories and products and gives Entrepreneurs live TV experience selling their products. Dara is always on the look out for an amazing product and a passionate Entrepreneur behind the product. She travels the country in search of the next million dollar product opportunity to introduce to HSN’s 90 million Households. In addition, Dara is currently a regular judge on the TV series Hatched. Having a successful business at HSN means understanding it all starts with People, a Purpose and the Product. We are looking for great stories and storytellers and when combined with great products- that’s the winning combination. 

Personally: Dara has been married for 26 years to Joe and has 2 children, son Baylin is 25, married and is a school teacher and football coach and daughter Gene’ is 23 –lives in California and is a TV and film production assistant. 
Senior Executive in Local Government
Linda South is a senior executive experienced in many diverse settings. She is most
frequently found at the heart of complex problem solving, integrating operations with
strategic goals. She has taken her entrepreneur spirit, and experience as a business
creator, to bring solutions as CEO of a non-profit, and to public service as Agency Head
under two Governors. She currently serves as a senior executive in local government.
Christine McFaul
Media Advisor at PS27 Ventures
Christine McFaul is a Media Advisor that focuses on social management, web development and digital marketing for PS27 Ventures.

A visual thinker with a passion for web design, Christine creates and improves all aspects of a startup’s digital presence. Millennial-minded, with extensive experience in building social brand awareness, she builds social media followings by creating colorful graphics and clever taglines to tell stories. Christine particularly focuses on utilizing Instagram as a direct platform for informing targeted audiences.

Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in community leadership from the University of North Florida. Christine sits on the board of the Jax Chamber Professional Women’s Council and St. Vincent’s Shircliff Society. In her free time, she enjoys teaching painting classes, international travel, and volunteering at the Jacksonville Humane Society.

Connect with her on Twitter & Instagram.

Sarah Lucas
COO of New Word Angels
Sarah Lucas is the COO of New Word Angels, a Florida based membership group of accredited
private investors, operators and entrepreneurs dedicated to providing equity capital to early-stage
entrepreneurial companies throughout the state. 

She is also an adjunct faculty member in the College of Business at Lynn University. Sarah has a BA from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  She has worked in policy, communications and strategic planning roles in a range of settings, including the White House, the United States Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, a Fortune 500 corporation, and a privately held financial services firm. 

Sarah was also part of the FAU Tech Runway business accelerator team and CEO of WAHspace, an
online platform for at home workers and companies.

Mark Volchek
Founding Partner of Las Olas Venture Capital
Mark Volchek is a Founding Partner of Las Olas Venture Capital, an early stage venture fund focused
on Florida and other underserved venture capital markets. Prior to starting Las Olas VC, Mark
spent about 15 years at Higher One, a company he co-founded in 2000 while a senior in college. In
his roles as CFO, Chairman and then CEO, Mark has had a major hand in steering the company from
its first round of seed funding and multiple rounds of venture funding all the way to its successful
IPO in 2010, and beyond. He helped grow Higher One from just three founders to more than 1,000
employees and guide the company through multiple acquisitions exceeding $150mm in aggregate
value. When Mark left in 2014, Higher One’s products and services supported more than 1,900
schools and approximately 13 million enrolled students.

Since 2008 Mark has been an active angel investor and has invested in over 30 companies. He is
also a Director of the Founder Institute – South Florida, where he helps budding entrepreneurs get
their companies started. Mark is the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 New England Financial
Services Award winner and was an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 National Award finalist. He
has been a regional and national judge for the program since 2012.
Mark holds a BA and MA in Economics from Yale University. He was a founding officer of the Yale
Entrepreneurial Society and on its board from 2000 to 2010. This nonprofit organization promotes
entrepreneurship among Yale students, faculty and alumni, and sponsors an annual business plan
competition. Mark’s past civic roles include serving on the Fort Lauderdale Aviation Advisory Board
and as Chairman of the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority, and positions on the Florida Board of
Take Stock in Children, the New Haven Economic Development Committee.

Selection to participate in the pitch competition is determined by the following. 
  • Potential impact on market
  •  Differentiation of product/service
  •  Experience of founders/team
  •  Potential for growth
  •  Quality of business model
  •  Quality of revenue model

The Women Empower Expo (WEX) is the premier event for entrepreneurs, leaders, and executives. Our events bring together the most powerful and inspiring women with a focus on providing the knowledge, tools and community to help take their business and life to the next level. At WEX you’ll be able to learn from industry experts, network with entrepreneurs and change-makers, discover tools to grow your business, and feel empowered to create a positive change.
PS27 is an early stage venture capital firm that empowers early stage entrepreneurs with the skills and understanding to be impactful leaders and role models in business, community, and life. 
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