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2 South Florida small businesses are finalists in national contest; public voting is underway
[November 21, 2012]

2 South Florida small businesses are finalists in national contest; public voting is underway

Nov 21, 2012 (The Miami Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- TWO MIAMI AREA SMALL BUSINESSES -- a Doral preschool and a hospitality consulting company -- are in the top 10 finalists of The Small Business Challenge, a national competition that invited companies to compete for a share of $50,000 in cash and marketing resources to help grow their businesses and create new jobs. These 10 companies move on to the final round of public voting now underway.

Each of the 1,000 small businesses that entered the SMB Challenge was required to submit an application, make a video pitch that included how the funding would create jobs, and receive at least 100 votes. The top 50 companies were named semifinalists, and a panel of judges selected the 10 finalists.

The public will choose the three winners during a voting period now in progress through Nov. 23 at The winners will be announced Nov. 26.

The finalists from South Florida are: -- Little Heroes Learning Center of Doral: With 14 employees, Little Heroes is dedicated to providing a high-caliber preschool program in a "homelike" environment to children, parents and staff, says its director, Daisy Acosta. The company would use the prize money to hire a curriculum assistant.

-- Strategic Hospitality Group of Miami: Strategic Hospitality Group, which has six employees, provides hospitality and restaurant consulting services. Founded by veteran chef and Miami Heat food-service provider Michael B. Jacobs, the company would use the prize money to open a small gourmet sandwich shop in Miami.

"We're proud to announce that this competition has seen so many innovative ideas. The 10 companies now vying for the prize money have all shown a strong entrepreneurial spirit and took the SMB Challenge ideals to the next level," said Maurice Lopes, founder and CEO of Miami-based, the key sponsor of the contest.

Go to to vote.

___ (c)2012 The Miami Herald Visit The Miami Herald at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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