A group of business leaders and academicians met in the spring of 1984 to accelerate the successful development of the entrepreneurial community in the State of Florida. A survey revealed that most entrepreneurs had sound technical expertise but many needed assistance in the areas of management, marketing and finance. The result of that meeting was the formation of an advisory and support organization called The Florida Venture Forum. The goal of the Forum is to help ensure the success of entrepreneurial ventures by offering expert counsel, exposure to funding opportunities, educational advice and managerial assistance. The Florida Venture Forum is a not for profit organization that is supported locally by private companies, service providers, venture capitalists and academic institutions.
The Forum hosts statewide educational programs that provide in-depth information on topics such as raising debt and equity capital, finance, management, marketing and research and development. Panelists for these instructional presentations consist of high ranking executives who share their experiences with the audience. By providing candid management and financial advice and hands-on technical assistance, these programs offer a valuable learning experience for entrepreneurs and other professionals.
Since 1992, the Florida Venture Forum has hosted the annual Florida Venture Capital Conference™. The purpose of the conference, held every year in late January or early February, is to showcase high growth companies looking for equity financing before a nationwide audience of venture capitalists and investment bankers. Over the past 22 years, former presenters of the Conference have been successful in raising almost $3 Billion. Additionally, since 2008, the Forum has hosted the Florida Early Stage Capital Conference™ now in its sixth year. To date, presenting early stage companies have raised $80 Million. In conjunction with the Florida Early Stage Capital Conference™ the Forum also hosts the Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition™, which is representative of the best from universities throughout the state. To date, winning competitors have raised $17 Million in funding.