Two weeks ago I posted an article about Wynwood’s parking issues and thanks to the responsiveness of the Miami Parking Authority, we have come to a compromise that works. However, for the last couple weeks many people have asked me: “Why did you get involved in this endeavor and why I should I care?” And they are valid questions.
As a small business owner I am directly affected, but more importantly this struggle is about the future of Miami as a technology hub and an entrepreneur-friendly community. Wynwood has so far been exactly that for many businesses, and more than 100 jobs have been created there. I will highlight a few:
LearnerNation, a platform that adaptively reinforces knowledge to meet community business performance goal, has created eight jobs in the last five months and moved out of The LAB Miami to continue its growth.
LiveNinja, another Wynwood tech startup, has added seven new employees in this same time period and is set to create more jobs in Wynwood before the end of the year.
The LAB Miami has been central to all this tech growth. Wifredo and Danny, The LAB Miami’s founders, shared a vision of making Wynwood a place to find, meet, share, and validate business ideas with help from a thriving Miami tech community. This has been done organically with conferences, meetups, hackathons, and the support of the Knight Foundation.
LAB residents have also created over 29 jobs in the past seven months.
These jobs are not all technology-based either. Zak the Baker, who got me to eat my vegetables by way of some incredible soups, has created 14 new jobs in Wynwood in the last three months and there are countless galleries also creating jobs.
Passionate people and an interconnected community make Miami a technology hub. The goals of Wynwood entrepreneurs are to inspire people to follow their passions, connect members of this community with each other, help shift our city's culture to creating products, and facilitate partnerships between local government, businesses, and other organizations. Silicon Valley investors and tech analysts have noticed some of our businesses. It’s time Miami commissioners and planners, especially those charged with the Wynwood district, start noticing too.
That’s why I took an interest in this issue. We should take interest in the struggle to allow job growth, businesses and economic stability to flourish in our beloved city.
Mario Cruz is the CTO of Choose Digital, which employs nine in Wynwood.