Our Core Values

WE ARE EDUCATORS

The Launch Pad is all about teaching aspiring entrepreneurs what it takes to build a company first hand.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A CAREER

We treat entrepreneurship as a legitimate career choice and serve clients from every major and school.

A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

We are all under NDAs and keep all client ideas confidential. We won’t share anything about any idea without express consent.


You Decide, We Support

Our services are always free and the ideas and companies generated belong 100% to our clients. We’re just here to help at every stage.

Our Programs

Venture Consulting

  • Just-In-Time

    We provide just-in-time delivery of resources to the Entrepreneurs as they are evaluating their ideas and developing them into viable self-sustaining enterprises.

  • Development

    We’re here not just to develop the ideas but also to develop the Entrepreneurs behind the ideas. We always support the entrepreneur, regardless of the stage of the idea.

  • CONFIDENTIAL

    It is never about us, it is always about our clients. Clients rely on us to offer them guidance and to act in their best interest and can’t benefit financially in any way from their dealings with TLP Entrepreneurs.

  • No Strings

    UM takes no stake in any idea submitted through our consulting program. We do this so that we are always in a position to provide supportive and unbiased advice as often as the entrepreneur wants.

On and Off Campus Events

  • GEW 

    Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an annual week-long series of events in November. At UM, we run events featuring prominent entrepreneurs and experts providing keynote addresses, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions.

  • Speakers

    Thanks to a generous donation by UM alumnusJeffrey Feldman, We are able to run the Feldman Entrepreneurial Featured Speaker Series at The Launch Pad, brining awesome speakers to campus.

  • Competitions & Fairs

    We provide numerous opportunities for students at UM to see a variety of events, such as our resources fair & demo day. We also prep and provide guidance to select clients to attend competitions such as eMerge, the ACC Innoventures challenge, Startup Madness, and the Florida Venture Forum to name a few.

  • Community Calendar

    Miami is an up-and-coming entrepreneurship hub, with a growing number of organizations putting on events every week. We try to pick and choose the best events for our clients and disseminate them every few weeks.

Venture Coaching

  • Community

    Venture Coaching Program provides entrepreneurs with smart, industry-specific advice from alumni and seasoned professionals within the surrounding community.

  • Miami

    We want our entrepreneurs to start businesses in South Florida, so by connecting them to the business community early, they are more likely to stay and strengthen our local economy.

  • Exclusive

    Launch Pad staff and Venture Coaches carefully-select early-stage ventures that meet rigorous criteria in order to provide free services and advice to them on a volunteer basis.

  • Mentoring

    Venture Coaches are introduced to new business projects in person through monthly networking events. Goals and objectives are customized based on various factors, including product or service attributes, team strengths and weaknesses, financial resources, and business model strategy.

Our Team

Full-Time Staff


William Silverman

William Silverman

Director


Dr. William Silverman (M.B.A. ’10), completed his Ph.D. at the UCLA Medical School and migrated into business upon realizing that his career as a biomedical researcher was a long-term exercise in entrepreneurship and start-up financing. He has lectured in graduate level neuroscience courses at the Miller School of Medicine at UM, as well in the School of Education, the School of Communication, and the School of Business at the University of Miami. Will is particularly interested in developing and commercializing financial technologies that increase access to financial services. He joined The Launch Pad at its inception as one of its first Venture Coaches, and rose to become its Director after just 2 years on staff. His business expertise lies in the areas of finance and marketing and he regularly leads workshops on venture feasibility, business strategy, marketing, financial modeling and valuations, and presenting business opportunities to investors.




Adrian E. Alvarez

Adrian E. Alvarez

Assistant Director, Program & Technology


Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Adrian Alvarez is a three-time alumnus of the University of Miami, graduating in 2007 with a B.B.A in International Finance and Marketing, and earning both a JD and MBA in 2011 and 2012 respectively. In 2007, between his two stints at the university, Adrian took a year off to start a test prep service company. He continued to grow the company while in school and also joined The Launch Pad in the Spring of 2010 as a Venture Consultant. Since graduating, he passed the Florida Bar and opened his own law firm and has co-founded two other companies. Adrian rejoined The Launch Pad in June of 2013 as the Program Manager.



Samantha Palmer-Shields

Samantha Palmer-Shields

Senior Administrative Assistant


A native of Miami, Samantha Palmer-Shields, better known as “Sam”, joined the Launch Pad team as its Administrative Assistant in February 2013. Sam previously worked at the University of Miami School of Law Center for Ethics & Public Service, and its Legal Communication and Research Skills Program. Sam currently handles The Launch Pad’s day-to-day administrative operations, and also greets the many students, alumnus, and UM community who are interested in being a part of The Launch Pad. Sam is completing her BA in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University, and is the founder of Island Bloom, and unique flower arrangement delivery service.




Student Consultants


Connor Masterson

Connor Masterson


Connor is a senior at the University of Miami studying Finance, Business Law, and Motion Pictures. Connor is fascinated by entrepreneurship and the creative process. In 2013 Connor won the elevator pitch contest for Global Entrepreneurship Week. Connor previously worked in politics in Washington D.C, entrepreneurial law in Philadelphia, as well as worked with startups in the online advertising space. His current venture focuses on revolutionizing the customer loyalty industry.




Elijah Kirkland-Andrews

Elijah Kirkland-Andrews


Elijah is a Junior at the University of Miami in the Frost School of Music in the Media Writing and Production program from Atlanta. A lifelong musician, Elijah is constantly writing music on his computer and jamming on his violin. His musical background gives him a strong feel for culture and an unmatched ability to think outside the box quickly. These attributes have proven invaluable to his experiences in social media research and strategy, areas where he regularly consults for Launch Pad clients. Elijah has worked with companies ranging from local gyms to major network television shows. Outside of The Launch Pad, Elijah enjoys teaching violin lessons, going to concerts, and watching Jeopardy.



Ryan Berkun

Ryan Berkun


Ryan is a Junior at the University of Miami studying Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, Art History and Finance. Ryan is driven by the technological side of entrepreneurship. As a Freshman in college, Ryan designed, developed and launched his app “Request – Your App, Everyone’s Music”. The app connects partygoers to the DJ at the party, allowing guests to request their favorite songs. Since then, Ryan has developed numerous mobile applications and is looking to pursue emerging technologies.




Patrick Dier

Patrick Dier


Patrick is from London, England. He is an undecided sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. Patrick loves to dissect businesses of all sorts and come up with creative solutions to see them succeed. He has worked a lot in the sports industry on many levels. Outside of the Launch Pad, Patrick likes to stay healthy, does yoga and plays semi-professional soccer.


Martha Polanco

Martha Polanco


Martha is from Caracas, Venezuela she is a current a MBA student at the University of Miami. She holds a Bachelors degree in Communications and Media Production from The Catholic University Andres Bello in Venezuela. She has an specialization in Fashion Marketing from Parsons The New School for Design. Martha started Querida Penelope a boutique swimwear line back in Venezuela while she was working for E! Entertainment Television as a creative producer.She has worked for companies like Prada, Alexander Wang, Impremedia (a hispanic media publisher) and currently at Mastercard holding sales and marketing positions. Martha can support entrepreneurs developing marketing strategies and value propositions for their ventures.



Veda Cruz

Veda Cruz

Legal Fellow


Veda, a Miami native, received her B.A. in English and Political Science at the University of Miami. She is currently pursuing a J.D./M.B.A. at the University of Miami School of Law. Coming from a creative background of acting and creative writing, Veda is fascinated with the legal, tech, and entertainment industries. Veda is currently serving as a social media expert and consultant for a virtual reality start-up company. In her free time, Veda enjoys weight-lifting, gaming, and going to car meets around Miami.






Founders


Dr. William Green

Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education


William Scott Green joined the University of Miami as senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education in July 2006. He has overall responsibility for enhancing the quality of the undergraduate experience and strengthening the integration of university-wide undergraduate curricular and co-curricular initiatives. He also holds an appointment as professor of religious studies and senior fellow in the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. Green previously served as dean of the College at the University of Rochester and Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Judaic Studies. He led the development of Rochester’s innovative undergraduate liberal arts curriculum and founded its Department of Religion and Classics. Green earned an A.B. in religion at Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in religion from Brown University. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.