February 07, 2016

Miami FinTech Forum launches with pitch contest

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In another new program for accelerating entrepreneurship, Citi Community Development, Village Capital and Florida International University on Thursday night kicked off a Miami Fintech Forum. About 15 financial technology startups were selected to participate in a yearlong program in which they will get help through education, mentorship and access to capital from the Small Business Development Center at FIU as well as experts from Citi and Village Capital. The Forum on Thursday included a pitching event, in which the companies took part in a full day of coaching and mentoring at Building.co, and in the evening 11 of the companies pitched to the crowd and were questioned by an expert judging panel.

Through votes of the audience and fellow entrepreneurs in their cohort, two teams were awarded $10,000 grants: DocuVital, a service to organize, automate and store vital information for end-of-life planning, pitched by CEO Joel Brown (pictured above), and VestMunity, opening the real estate investing market to everyday people through crowdfunding, pitched by founder Yemani Mason (pictured below). The other companies selected to pitch were: FlyScan, Gradvisor, MedXoom, Mosaic Money, OneCloud, Qbit Solutions, RNKR.io, Settleitsoft and Tip N’ Go.

Natalie Abatemarco, managing director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance, explained there would be more events and opportunities for these companies to raise capital because the partnership with Village Capital will open a lot of doors. The idea behind this venture is to reach out to the community with a strong anchor partner in FIU and level the playing field for entrepreneurs in underserved communities. Citi is also running programs in San Francisco and New York focusing on education technology and health-tech. 

“We want to help businesses to scale and help get communities the resources they need in order to survive, to thrive and really revitalize,” she said.

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January 23, 2016

Code Art Miami: Inspiring girls to code through art

Students, parents, educators and the tech community are invited to Code Art Miami’s inaugural event. It will be hosted at the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) at MDC Wolfson Campus, February 6, 2016.

Code Art Miami is a collaboration between Girls Who Code Clubs and CODeLLA, a non-profit organization teaching coding and tech skills to Latinas from underserved communities. Code Art Miami seeks to inspire more girls to code and to foster community among participating student groups. 

As part of the event, Code Art Miami is sponsoring a friendly competition for girls in grades 4-12. Students submitted digital and 3D-printed art created through coding that will be displayed throughout MAGIC’s facility. Winners will be announced at the event.

 At the event, there will be a short, entertaining speaker program, which will include Mary Spio, founder of Next Galaxy Corp, a Miami-based virtual reality company.  A silent auction will be held featuring unique art and tech-related items. Offerings include two newpieces created just for this event. A painting by world-renowned South Florida native Ahol, and a limited-edition print by London-based artist Ryca. 

There will be a raffle to win a one-week summer camp scholarship at MAGIC for ages 14-19 in animation or gaming and family-friendly MAGICal experiences in the venue’s green screen capture studio and sound recording studio. Net proceeds will fund scholarships for women enrolled in MDC’s gaming or animation program. The goal is to raise $7,000 to fully fund one student for two years.

The event is free and open to the public. It begins at 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 6th, at MAGIC at Miami Dade College, 315 NE 2nd Ave., 1st Floor. To learn more and reserve tickets, visit www.codeart.miami, or email us at info@codeart.miami. To donate to the scholarship fund, go to www.codeart.miami/donate.

“Women represent only 18% of computer science graduates and 22% of gaming developers. The Code Art Miami event will help increase those numbers. Coding is the language of tomorrow, and we want all girls to feel like they can be a part of the future,” said Maria Mejia, student founder of Code Art Miami.

  Maria Mejia is the founder of the Girls Who Code Club at iPrep Academy and student intern with CODeLLA. She graduated from the Girls Who Code summer immersion program in 2014. Since then, she has worked to expand opportunities for young women in computer science.  Code Art Miami was formed as a result of Maria bringing together local coding clubs at iPrep Academy, the Idea Center at MDC, Pinecrest Branch Library, and CODeLLA. Maria's vision is to make Code Art Miami an annual event that builds community and provides opportunities for South Florida girls interested in coding.

-submitted by Code Art Miami


January 19, 2016

Girls Who Code programs returning to Miami; registration open

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At Tech Station at Florida International University's School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS), Taty Graesser, 15, of Cutler Bay, center, and Riya Srivastava, 16, of Miami, right, were among 20 high school girls who participated in an intensive computer skills summer immersion program in 2015 presented by SCIS and Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization that equips girls with computing skills. MARSHA HALPER MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Girls Who Code, a tech education program for high school girls, is returning to Miami to provide another three years of Summer Immersion Programs, with $500,000 in new support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Applications for Girls Who Code’s 2016 Summer Immersion Program opened Tuesday in 11 cities across the country, including Miami. The program will begin this June and run for seven weeks, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The two Miami-based programs will include a total of 60 rising high school juniors and seniors who demonstrate a passion for technology, regardless of prior coding experience. Applications will be open until March 1 on the Girls Who Code website at girlswhocode.com/apply.

Launched in New York in 2012, Girls Who Code pairs intensive instruction in programming fundamentals, mobile phone development and robotics with engagement opportunities led by top female engineers and entrepreneurs. “The gender gap isn’t just a Silicon Valley issue anymore,” said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “The shortage of women in technical roles, whether it’s retail, entertainment or finance is an enormous crisis both in terms of innovation and socio-economic equality throughout the United States.”

Since its founding Girls Who Code has taught more than 10,000 girls in 42 states. The nonprofit conducted programs in 2014 and 2015 in the Miami area with Knight Foundation support.

January 17, 2016

What can you expect at WordCamp Feb. 19-21? Get the lowdown



WordCamp Miami is back for another year on Feb. 19-21, with an expanded lineup of content, a Kids’ Workshop and more. Organizer David Bisset gives us the lowdown:

What WordCamps Are: WordCamps (wordcamp.org) are conferences that focuses on everything WordPress, which is open-source software that currently makes up 25% of the top million website of the web. Most weeks out of the year a WordCamp is happening somewhere in the world. From the United States to Europe, to places throughout Asia and Australia.

WordCamp Miami: WordCamp Miami has been an annual event in South Florida for the past 8 years. It’s grown from a 150 person event from its first year to over 770 attendees in 2015. The scope of the event has also grown in that time to not only include talks specifically on WordPress but also blogging, content creation, SEO, designing, marketing, and developer related topics. It’s been on of the longest running non-profit tech conferences in South Florida.

The 8th annual WordCamp Miami is happening next month - February 19-21 - at Florida International University. It has a full schedule lined up for everyone from those wanting to learn WordPress for the first time to those who are already skilled at developing with it.

 Here are some of the highlights:

* If you’ve never used WordPress and want to learn, a full-day workshop is available on Friday February 19th. The class is limited to 100 individuals so that the instructors can take you step by step from learning hosting basics to being able to customize a basic WordPress site of your own.

* If you are a freelancer (whether you use WordPress or not), there’s a full-day freelancer’s workshop on Friday February 19th.

Saturday and Sunday (February 20th and 21st) are full of talks ranging from how to improve your website’s SEO, security, and how to build an commerce site with WordPress. Sunday has a full track dedicated to business owners and agencies, along with a brand new “Learn JavaScript deeply” for developers.

* The conference is especially family-friendly this year with a Kid’s Workshop Sunday morning (where parents and kids ages 8-13 can learn to create their first blog), an arts/crafts/STEM class in the afternoon, and then a kid’s panel to end the day (in which the invite is still open if you want to nominate your child who blogs to come and speak). Kids are welcome to attend both days on the weekend, and are free to attend.

Outside of the knowledge provided by over 70 speakers from across South Florida and the rest of the world, WordCamp Miami has many knowledgable sponsors on hand if you want to talk to anyone face to face about website hosting and security. There is also “Happiness Bar” staffed over the weekend by knowledgable WordPress users if you have a question about your WordPress site or need advice about your next website.

Because this is a non-profit event, ticket prices are a low $35 for the weekend (plus a little more if you want to attend a workshop on Friday). Discounts for students and teachers available. The event usually sells out so you might want to pick up your tickets as soon as possible. Weekend tickets include food, swag, t-shirts and access to the after-party.

Tickets: 2016.miami.wordcamp.org/tickets


January 15, 2016

The Idea Center’s MarketHack to launch digital marketing class Feb. 2

An Information Session about Miami Dade College’s digital marketing training program for working professional will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 19

Submitted by Dan Grech, MarketHack Program Manager

 The Idea Center at Miami Dade College (MDC), Miami’s hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, is launching the second edition of its successful MarketHack digital marketing training program. The 16-week course offers a dynamic combination of lectures from top professionals, hands-on skills workshops, and real-life group projects that teach participants how to influence customers, create connections, and grow their businesses.

Aimed at filling a talent gap for highly skilled digital marketers in South Florida, the program will continue its successful partnership with República, a leading, independent cross-cultural advertising, communications and digital agency based in Miami. It will also build on relationships with other local companies and creative agencies that will help shape its curriculum and create a pipeline for internships, apprenticeships and jobs.

“Staying on top of digital trends is not easy, it seems like there’s a new social networking platform popping up every day, but understanding the nuances of 21st century communication is indispensable in nearly every industry,” said Jorge Azze, social media community manager at República and participant in the inaugural class. “MarketHack's stable of digital marketing pros makes staying up to speed feasible and actually really fun. The course provides a professional, yet laid back environment with people from all industries, ages and walks of life, that sparks new friendships, perspectives and opportunities.”

MarketHack is taught by two of South Florida’s top digital marketing professionals: program lead Dan Grech, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at OfferCraft, and co-teacher Mike Schott, Director of Online Marketing at Open English.

An Information Session with both instructors will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19, at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College, 315 NE 2nd Ave Building 8, 5th Floor, Miami, FL 33132. RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/markethack-mixer-info-session-tickets-20509268775

Guest speakers in the fall course included NBCUniversal’s Cesar Conde, Uber’s Kasra Moshkani, República’s Jorge A. Plasencia, Natcom Global’s Bob Rodriguez and many other leading digital executives and marketers. MarketHack’s January course will build on this successful platform.

“The core of the MarketHack experience is working in teams on high-stakes group projects with real clients,” said Leandro Finol, executive director of the Idea Center at Miami Dade College. “We want to give participants a taste of life in a marketing department or at a top digital marketing agency.”

The upcoming 16-week course, MarketHack Introduction to Digital Marketing,” will begin Feb 2.'Classes take place on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at the MDC Idea Center, Building 8, Fifth Floor, 315 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL.

Registration is now open at http://www.theideacenter.co/markethack. The course costs $1,999, with an early-registration price of $1,499. This is a non-credit class, and participants receive a Certificate from the Idea Center upon completion.

MarketHack is one of the 21st century skills-training programs for students and working professionals offered by the Idea Center at Miami Dade College. The program also offers coding education through its CodePro program.

For more information on MarketHack and to enroll in the class, please visit http://www.theideacenter.co/markethack


January 14, 2016

Florida's innovation economy sputtering, recent analyses show

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com
It seems as if every state and metro area is striving to be an “innovation economy” these days — indeed, President Barack Obama talked about it in his State of the Union address and it was a theme throughout the Greater Miami Chamber’s economic summit this week. Yet, according to some recent analyses, Florida may be falling behind.

In a Bloomberg analysis released this month, Florida ranks 35th among the 50 states on its state innovation index. The index is based on six measures: research and development intensity; productivity; high tech density; concentration in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) employment; science- and engineering-degree holders; and patent activity.

Florida scored relatively well in high-tech density (13th among states) and down the middle in patent activity (22nd), according to the analysis. But the Sunshine State ranked 32nd for the number of degree-holders in science and engineering, 36th in R&D intensity, 41st in STEM concentration and 44th in productivity.

The Bloomberg state innovation index ranked Massachusetts tops in the country, followed by California, Washington, New Jersey and Connecticut. In the Southeast, North Carolina was the clear front-runner, ranking 16th nationwide, and Georgia landed at No. 26. The five lowest-ranked states for innovation were Louisiana, Arkansas, South Dakota, West Virginia and Mississippi.

“Innovation usually leads to job creation, and high-skilled job creation, mostly,” Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at global market analysis firm IHS, told Bloomberg. “But there are other jobs that come with it; namely, that as the labor force grows, they need haircuts, they need landscapers, all that stuff — so it does tend to have linkages to other parts of the economy.”

Behravesh noted the contribution of universities: MIT graduates have produced about 400 startup businesses over the past couple of decades, which then creates a “cluster” of companies that propel the labor market and growth.

The Florida Research Consortium and the Florida Chamber Foundation are conducting a series of reports analyzing the components of Florida’s innovation economy, starting with higher education. Its report released last week identifies a significant funding shortfall for higher education in Florida. It notes that in recent studies by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, Florida is identified as the lowest of the 50 states in funding per full-time student. It goes on to show that the gap is particularly large at the state’s Carnegie-designated “very high research” universities. At these institutions in Florida, total funding per student is 51 percent of the average of all the other states and 42 percent of the average of California, Texas and New York.

“Research shows us that a strong university system is a necessary foundational element for developing a dynamic innovation economy. This report shows us that investing in human capital leads to increased competitiveness — something we must do to secure Florida's future,” said Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research for the Florida Chamber Foundation.

The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities index for 2015 ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth, by measuring job creation, wage gains and technology industry growth trends. At the top of the index are San Jose and San Francisco in California; Provo, Utah; Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; and Seattle. While 11 Florida cities ranked in the top 100, South Florida cities fell in the middle of the pack, with Fort Lauderdale at 41, West Palm Beach at 50 and Miami at 65. Eight Florida metro areas were in the top 25 for fastest-growing metros; this group included Fort Lauderdale but not Miami or West Palm.

“Florida and local economic development organizations can learn from the most successful states and regions across the U.S. The most prominent performers are U.S. tech hubs and metro areas with the highest technology growth rates. We need a new direction with a prime focus on higher paying job creation and a more diverse and sustainable industry mix,” said Dale Gregory, executive director of the nonprofit InternetCoast, which tracks data such as Florida and South Florida STEM employment, university R&D expenditures, venture capital investment and other metrics on icoast.com.

The Progressive Policy Institute’s Chief Economic Strategist Michael Mandel recently released a list of the top 25 App Economy states that ranked Florida sixth in the nation for the number of jobs, with more than 59,000 “app economy jobs” in December 2015, up from 15,000 in April 2012.

However, when the institute measured the number of app economy jobs against all the other jobs in the state and ranked the share of app economy jobs in the workforce -- what it calls its "app intensity" ranking -- Florida fell to 28th, a spokesman said.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg


December 22, 2015

Wyncode to launch its third campus: WeWork in Miami Beach


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Wyncode Academy, Florida’s first bricks and mortar coding bootcamp, is expanding in South Florida.

Wyncode, which teaches computer programming in nine weeks, will be offering its bootcamp at a third location: WeWork in Miami Beach. That’s in addition to The LAB Miami in Wynwood, its original location and its headquarters, and General Provision in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Arts and Technology Village. WeWork is a creator and provider of shared workspace and services for startups, freelancers and growing businesses.

WeWork shares Wyncode’s passion for building community,” said Juha Mikkola, who co-founded Wyncode with his wife Johanna. “We believe that the foundation for a successful tech ecosystem is coding talent that can build amazing things. That talent is right here in Miami Beach, they just need to get access to the right type of training.”

Wyncode launched in 2014 and its intensive, full-time program has attracted people without a programming background from a variety of careers: chefs, lawyers, salespeople, accountants, concierges, marketing executives and entrepreneurs. For instance, after graduating from Wyncode, Mario Aguayo launched My Style Blox, a marketplace for models and their clients to discover, book and manage projects. Agauyo had been a talent manager and also worked in retailing before learned to code at Wyncode. Frank Ortiz, a former chef, was also was a Wyncode graduate, then was hired by Wyncode and is now working full-time in technology for Fusion Recruitment Labs.

The program focuses on tech skills like Ruby, Javascript, HTML and CSS and also on the business skills that startups require to be successful. It’s one of a number of new resources that have developed here focused on narrowing the gap of 400,000 unfilled jobs in tech expected by 2020. The Mikkolas, who were chosen as Endeavor Entrepreneurs this summer, have participated in White House programs about the need for coding education.

The Head Instructor for the Miami Beach campus is Auston Bunsen, a long-time Miami tech leader, programmer and entrepreneur. He is the former chief technology officer of 1Sale and founder of Miami tech conference SuperConf. Bunsen has written code that has powered millions of visits across platforms using Python, Ruby and JavaScript. “He is passionate about learning, hacking, community, open source and having a positive influence on the world around him and is an ideal fit for Wyncode’s team,” Juha Mikkola said.

A quarter of Wyncode’s last cohort in Wynwood came from out of state, including students from New York, Seattle, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. “We believe Miami Beach is a great option for these students, as they’ll have access to industry leading education that is just steps away from the beach,” Johanna Mikkola said.

Wyncode Academy is licensed by the Florida Department of Education and has graduated more than 180 Wyncoders in 10 cohorts, maintaining a 90 percent placement rate within three months of graduation, the company said. Of those, 96 percent are working as developers with the majority receiving full-time offers to stay in South Florida’s tech ecosystem. Wyncode is the third most student reviewed program on the global coding-school industry site Course Report, earning a 4.9 out of 5 star rating from its 66 reviewers.

Wyncode’s first cohort in Miami Beach will begin on Jan. 25 and is limited to 10 seats. WeWork members will receive a $500 discount on the $10,000 tuition. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and interested candidates should apply at wyncode.co. Wyncode is also starting cohorts in Wynwood and Fort Lauderdale in January; it offers financing partners for all programs and runs a scholarship program at its Wynwood location in conjunction with the Knight Foundation.



Wyncode's coding school is headquartered at The LAB Miami in Wynwood, top photo, and Demo Days such as this one at The LAB Miami end each cohort. Photos by David Salazar. 


December 18, 2015

Ironhack's Hackshow: Students shed their pasts for a future in tech

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By Ariel Quiñones

Ariel Quinones_HeadshotIn the past, computer science and coding were seen as uncreative and uninspiring; a niche area best left to the experts (and the geeks) but in the 21st century, this is no longer the case. Nothing demonstrated this better than Ironhack's recent Hackshow that graduated nearly 20 students from diverse backgrounds as Jr. Web Developers into Miami's tech community.  Ironhack is a leading international coding bootcamp with campuses in Miami, Madrid and Barcelona.  

More than 160 people including Ironhack’s hiring partners, leaders in the Miami tech community and the curious gathered on Thursday night at Building.co in Brickell to be wowed by the ideas from students who participated in Ironhack’s 23rd global cohort. 

Once again, we saw firsthand how people across a spectrum of jobs - lawyers, professional athletes, artists - are shedding their past for a future in the booming tech industry. Ironhack students dedicated eight weeks completely immersed in learning how to code in Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  All of the hours and hard work pays off at the Hackshow, where they present their final project web applications to a panel of judges who selected a winner.  

The student projects were built from scratch and included apps designed to solve real-life problems in various industries. These projects included - "Litigrade," "DocDoc Who's There," "Orthodox Chic," "MyFunTrip" and "STRIPPRS." The panel of judges was comprised of some of the leading CTOs in South Florida - Tobias Franoszek, CTO and Co-Founder of KIPU Systems, Brett Paden, CTO and Co-Founder of Glip, and Rich Kroll, Director of Engineering at Modernizing Medicine.  

The evening also marked Ironhack’s one-year anniversary in Miami. 

The Winner

After much deliberation from the judges, the winner was David James Knight, a licensed attorney and a member of the U.S. Military, who created an application called "Litigrade" that uses public court data to rate trial attorneys based on their wins and losses—not on peer reviews or other subjective criteria. “Before Ironhack, I was an attorney with a liberal arts background. I dabbled in front-end design (HTML, CSS, WordPress), but always thought that anything more technical than that was for Computer Science majors," says Knight. "Ironhack proved me wrong. In eight very intense weeks, I went from being an unhappy attorney to a legitimate developer and tech entrepreneur."

Code or Go Home

Coding skills and tech literacy in general aren't just useful in technology. They can be applied to all industries. What business today doesn't have a computer component? Learning to speak to computers through code forces people to think in different ways. Students learn to decompose problems in the systematic way that computers want them to. What's most interesting is that it turns out computers aren't all that smart - they only appear to be smart with a good set of instructions and some solid logic. Applying that way of thinking to other disciplines can have surprising results. Coding is truly one of the most exciting education opportunities of the twenty-first century, and Ironhack hopes to bring that to new groups of people.

Ironhack is accepting final applications for its next cohort beginning January 11, 2016. More information: Ironhack.com

Ariel Quiñones is Co-Founder of Ironhack.


With Knight funding, PowerMoves entrepreneurship program to launch in Miami


Miami Beach entrepreneur Dawn Dickson, CEO of Flat Out of Heels, won a PowerMoves pitch competition earlier this year. Pitch contests are one of the programs that PowerMoves will bring to Miami.


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

While black and Hispanic students earn nearly 20 percent of computer science degrees, they make up only 9 percent of the technology industry and less than 1 percent of technology company founders.

PowerMoves, a national initiative to increase the number of venture-backed, high-growth companies led by entrepreneurs of color, aims to help close that gap. The organization will open an office and program in Miami, with a $1.2 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Diversity is our greatest asset and differentiator and it’s our competitive advantage in Miami. As we continue to build Miami’s startup community and create more on-ramps into this rapidly growing community, we see PowerMoves as another important and impactful way to do that,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami.

PowerMoves began in 2014 as a hyper-local program to position New Orleans as a hub for entrepreneurs of color. Since then, it has rapidly grown, offering education, mentorship and investment opportunities. It has helped 100 companies nationwide secure more than $27 million in capital commitments.

Miami will be the first city outside of New Orleans to host a PowerMoves office and year-round programming including pitch competitions, bootcamps and fellowship programs.

Earl RobinsonEarl Robinson, CEO of PowerMoves, said his goal in Miami is to help make the entrepreneurial ecosystem broadly inclusive, particularly for African-American, Afro-Caribbean historically under-represented startup entrepreneurs. “We want to give under-represented entrepreneurs the support they need in a nurturing way but also be a portal and plug them into the incredibly deep existing resources in Miami,” said Robinson, an entrepreneur with a background in the private equity industry.


Leveraging Miami’s diversity and increasing inclusion is also one of Knight’s key goals and there is more work to do, Haggman said. Knight’s efforts in this area kicked off with a $2.18 million commitment a year ago that opened the Idea Center entrepreneurship hub at Miami Dade College, America’s largest and most diverse college campus. Other efforts have included Knight support of Black Tech Week, Digital Grass, Code Fever, LaunchCode and Girls Who Code, as well as a scholarship program at Wyncode coding school. Noting the well-documented lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, “as we are building from the ground up in Miami, diversity and inclusion need to be a key part from the beginning,” Haggman said.

The new office will be led by Janelle Alexander, who has been an outstanding PowerMoves Entrepreneur in Residence in New Orleans, was a Goldman Sachs executive and has Caribbean family roots, Robinson said. She and her team, including entrepreneurs-in-residence and mentors, will help local entrepreneurs refine business models and market strategies and connect them with advisors and capital to launch and scale their businesses. The office will be in a co-working center, Robinson said, but the particular space has not been selected yet.

Janelle“I’m a true believer in the mission – I have a passion for early-stage companies and for inclusive innovation,” said Alexander, who also said she has always been a huge fan of Miami. In addition to running the programs, she plans to be on the lookout for outstanding companies. “My biggest worry is not that we can’t help them, it’s that there is a great entrepreneur of color out there who I don’t know about and I am not helping.”

PowerMoves Miami will host monthly meetups across the city open to the public. In addition, PowerMoves will hold bootcamps with six weeks of virtual classroom participation, three days of intensive in-person classroom development and a demo day. PowerMoves will also hold pitch contests for seed- and Series A-round companies. From those programs, six high-growth entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in a yearlong PowerMoves Miami Fellowship, Robinson said. The fellowship includes free rent at a co-working space; “Startup 201” education, part of which will be open to a broader population; mentoring; and access to investment capital and in-kind legal, marketing and financial services.

PowerMoves Miami will launch on Feb. 15 in conjunction with Black Tech Week, from Feb. 15-20, for which Knight is the founding sponsor. For more information about the organization: powermovesnola.org.

Over the past three years, Knight has committed nearly $20 million to more than 165 projects in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg

November 30, 2015

Venture Hive accepting applications for its 2016 Winter Accelerator Class

Venture hive

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Venture Hive, an entrepreneurial education company based in downtown Miami, is accepting applications for its 2016 Winter Accelerator Class.

This competitive accelerator program, sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority and Miami-Dade County, will host 10 selected high-growth businesses. Each selected startup will receive a 12-week entrepreneurship education program, office space and a $25,000 non-equity grant. This will be Venture Hive’s fourth Winter accelerator program. In 2014, Venture Hive received about 400 applicants from more than 40 countries, said Susan Amat, founder and CEO of Venture Hive. 

 Since January of 2013, Venture Hive has supported entrepreneurs from over 25 countries in its downtown Miami location to help them develop and grow their startups in the industry verticals that are the strengths of South Florida, Amat said. Some of the program’s graduates have included Quotanda, Waleteros, SWOL, Criptext, The Fan Machine, GetMyRx, Hair Construction and many others.

To be selected, applicants must have an innovative web or mobile technology solution applied to the creative industries (art, design, music, photography, etc.), finance, healthcare, hospitality/tourism or trade/logistics solutions. Participating startups must also have initial customers and revenue streams; no more than $500,000 in external funding; and a team of two to four English-speaking founders with complementary backgrounds who will commit to spending the 12 weeks of the program full-time in Venture Hive’s accelerator space in downtown Miami.

Benefits of the program include a $25,000 non-equity grant, a curriculum of highly practical workshops and training sessions, free dedicated space in its collaborative offices in downtown Miami for six months, mentoring from a vetted network of local, national and international entrepreneurs and experts, exposure to qualified investors and a Demo Day. 

The Venture Hive Winter Accelerator class will run from Feb. 29 – May 20. Applications for the class will be accepted from Nov. 30 – Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Selected companies will be announced on Jan. 28.

Apply at apply.venturehive.com/miami 

Venture Hive’s existing programs in Miami have shown a $7.3 million economic impact in its first 18 months of operation, Amat said. After three years, Venture Hive’s startups have created more than 100 new jobs and an investment leverage of over 20:1.

"We now have hardware and IoT companies calling Venture Hive home, and our programs have included high growth food and product startups as well,” said Amat. “We have some exciting announcements of new partnerships to join the list that includes the Knight Foundation, DLA Piper, Ernst & Young, and Microsoft."

 In addition to its Accelerator, Venture Hive runs entrepreneurship education programs for K-12 students, an accelerator for U.S. veterans, virtual accelerators  and other entrepreneurial initiatives, and has supported entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries through its clients including Microsoft, the World Bank, US Aid, the U.S. State Department, and other university and corporate partners. In 2014 Microsoft chose Venture Hive to house the only Microsoft Innovation Center in the United States, one of more than 120 globally.

Find out more about Venture Hive here: www.venturehive.com

Sergi Alexander Venture Hive 141