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A celebrity endorsement for Miami tech

EMergingLeadersBreakfast-Pitbull (2)

The South Florida tech community reaped an unusual endorsement: from Pitbull.

Pitbull2"Count me in," he told a group of young leaders gathered for a breakfast event at the Coral Gables Hyatt on Tuesday to talk about supporting eMerge Americas, the technology conference Manny Medina and his team are bringing to Miami next May. "I told Manny I am in 150 percent, whatever I can do.  I love to see things happen from the ground up and building it in Miami is very special," added Pitbull, who shared his story and his love of Miami and couldn't resist a silicon-silicone joke. (You can guess how that one went.)

Before and after the rapper popped in, a panel discussion including Matt Haggman of the Knight Foundation, Carlos Garcia of Nobox, Derrick Ashong of Fusion and Jorge Plasencia of Republica focused on the tech hub movement. Then the eMerge team told the group about some of the highlights of the conference, including eMerge Innovate, which will include a competition of the best and the brightest startups, a mayoral summit and presentations by leading edge technologists from around the world. Many of the largest tech enterprise companies have signed on as partners, as well as accelerators and governments. Xavier Gonzalez, executive director of eMerge, said it will also be an opportunity to showcase the energy in the city and will also be a lot of fun.

How can young leaders get involved? "We want to harness the energy in this room," said Gonzalez. Suggestions for doing that included following and contributing to social media and inviting more people to participate in the young leaders group.

Photos of Pitbull addressing the eMerging Leaders breakfast are by Herby Garcia of the Technology Foundation of the Americas.

Posted: Nov. 12, 2013.