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Rugged Events co-founders Rob Dickens and Brad Scudder went on Shark Tank hoping for nothing more than some publicity. Instead, they left with $1.75 million—and, more importantly, the backing of mega-entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

Rugged Events sets up hard-core obstacle courses, including “The Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race” and “The Great Bull Run” (which is exactly what the name promises). The sharks loved the company’s unique take on the blooming business of extreme competitions. However, for Dickens and Schudder, the big deal didn’t come without a little sweat, blood and tears.

Here’s Dickens’ behind-the-scenes tips on how to make it big on Shark Tank.


Small Business Week Committee will award 4 businesses at the Big Bend Regional Match Maker and 31st Annual Small Business Week on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at the Augustus B. Turnbull Center.

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×300.jpg” width=”194″ align=”right” title=”2014 Small Business Week WINNERS” frame=”true” icon=”image”]

2014 Small Businesses of the Year WINNERS

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×214.jpg” width=”300″ align=”right” title=”Chelsea Beneby1″ frame=”true” icon=”image”]Chelsea is a Business Analyst with the FSBDC at FAMU. Chelsea received her Masters degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University in 2012. She temporarily served as the Training Coordinator for the 2012-2013 Construction Management Development Program/Bond Guarantee Program (CMDP-BGP); where she worked closely with Florida A&M-Small Business Development Center and the Florida Department of Transportation. Since the conclusion of the CMDP-BGP Chelsea has actively volunteered at the Florida A&M-Small Business Development Center. Chelsea’s areas of expertise include marketing, public relations, business plan development and human resource management.

Chelsea’s professional experience includes: understanding the fundamental needs of start-ups/small businesses, client service, business plan formulation, and conducting workshop seminars. Shortly after volunteering at the Florida A&M-Small Business Development Center, Chelsea used the skills and resources she was awarded to embark on her first entrepreneurial venture. In August of 2013 she created an online event supply retail company, Create Out of the Box, LLC. Chelsea’s clientele continues to expand rapidly through customer referrals and marketing. 

Chelsea is also a proud member of the Capital City Chamber of Commerce.

You call it making your money work for you. The Internal Revenue Service calls it unearned income. Regardless of the name, the tax collector wants to know how much you make each year on earnings from your savings accounts, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit or mutual funds.

Just how you report your investment income, however, depends largely on how much you made. For many taxpayers, the process is relatively simple and requires no additional tax forms. Those who pocketed a bit more from their investments will have to give the IRS details via extra forms.

And every investor who benefits from the lower capital gains and dividend tax rates will have to pay for their tax savings by running extra computations to figure out their precise IRS bill.


A Bright Future For Women-Owned Small Businesses

Today, women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of new businesses in our economy.

In fact, an analysis by American Express suggests that the number of women-owned businesses has risen by 200,000 over the past year alone, which is equivalent to just under 550 new women-owned firms created each day.

Regardless of how you slice the data, we know that this trend is growing and that women are over-indexing in entrepreneurship.

As Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), I travel all around the country meeting with small business owners and entrepreneurs. I see how their businesses are transforming their industries and rebuilding their communities following the economic downturn.

Click Here to READ Article in SBA.GOV

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×300.jpg” width=”200″ align=”right” title=”LaTanya White” frame=”true” icon=”image“]The ASBDC at Florida A&M University welcomes LaTanya White, our newest member to the Small Business Development Center team.

LaTanya White joins the FAMU SBDC as a Business Analyst with a background in teaching, speaking and consulting. Her focus on entrepreneurial education includes such global thought-leading concepts as Blue Ocean Strategy, Business Model Generation and Michael Gerber’s Business Development Process. LaTanya’s areas of expertise are in Business Model Development, Customer Profile Development, Digital Media, Financial Projections and Marketing Strategies.

LaTanya, known for her leadership with 71 Proof, a beverage catering service the Southeast has been applauded for bringing a multi-dimensional approach to teaching innovators how to make their mark in the world. She has studied Business in Tallahassee, Florida, Bartending in New Orleans, Louisiana, Innovation in Silicon Valley and Entrepreneurship in Bali, Indonesia. More than anything, she considers herself a global leader, learner and teacher.

As we begin the New Year, the prospects for small businesses in search of capital seem to be brighter than they were even a year ago. Last year was a good year for small business lending, and 2014 looks to be better. A big reason is because non-SBA loans by big banks are on the rise.

As I see it, there are several causes:

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Across Florida, private sector entrepreneurs and researchers at state and private universities are constantly developing products and ideas that can be commercialized, and the economic impact of developing the startup companies born from those ideas within the state can be significant. Florida is currently expanding its capacity to keep startup companies in the state and is helping develop companies that will provide high-wage jobs to Floridians.