South Florida is getting it first coding school. Wyncode, a nine-week immersion-style development boot camp teaching students computer programming and how to create their own web apps, will begin its first class in early May at The LAB Miami, a campus for creative entrepreneurs in Wynwood.
With the startup ecosystem developing in Miami, founders Juha Mikkola and Johanna Mikkola said they are launching Wyncode to contribute to the creation and growth of local developer talent, an area which has been a challenge for tech employers in the region. "By combining best practices from established bootcamp programs with a focus on business skills and a Made in Miami curriculum, we¹re looking forward to creating Miami¹s next generation of developer talent," said Johanna, Wyncode's managing director.
In nine weeks, the Wyncode student will create a variety of projects culminating in the creation and pitch of their own web application. Wyncode's first language of focus will be Ruby on Rails -- "the language of the future," it says -- and more languages could be added in future classes as demand expands.
Code schools are common in other tech and startup areas, such as Silicon Valley, Austin and Seattle. Wyncode's full-time bootcamp costs $9,000 (the first 20 students enrolled will get a $1,000 credit), competitively priced with what other code schools charge. Ed Toro, a well-known developer in Miami's tech community, is the lead instructor. Wyncode is working on developing a scholarship program with community partners.
Wyncode is holding free Learn to Code info sessions at 7 p.m. at The LAB on March 19, April 2nd and April 16. More info: Wyncode.co
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Florida District Office is one of 27 cities and communities across the country chosen for SBA’s 2014 Emerging Leaders (formerly e200) executive-level intensive entrepreneurship training initiative. Entering its seventh consecutive year, the initiative has trained more than 2,000 promising small business owners in underserved communities, and continues to expand its impact helping small businesses grow and create jobs.
The Emerging Leaders initiative has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for underserved communities. Surveyed Emerging Leader graduates have created nearly 2,000 new full-time jobs have been created since the program’s inception. These graduates also reported having secured more than $73 million in new financing for their businesses, and an increase in confidence when competing for government contracts. After participants in the Emerging Leaders training graduate, companies have reported they were awarded federal, state, local and tribal contracts, worth more than $1 billion. Sixty-two percent of surveyed participants reported an increase in revenue while 72 percent of those surveyed reported maintaining or creating new jobs in their communities.
The seven-month executive intensive entrepreneurship education series includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial communities. The deadline to apply is March 21.
To participate in the 2014 SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative, the business must:
• Be located in Miami-DadeCounty
• Have been established for at least three (3) years. (This curriculum is not for start-up companies.)
• Have annual revenues between $400,000 and $10 million per year.
• Have employees. (i.e. at least one employee besides the owner).
• Be represented by the key decision maker of the qualified business
• Participant must be able to commit to attending 13 training sessions and complete required homework. (about a 100 hour commitment)
Want to know what should go into a winning business plan? How do you pack the most important elements into a couple of pages? What impresses investors -- and what turns them off? We're here to help.
Whether you are planning to enter the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge or want to refine a short business plan you already have, our free Miami Herald Business Plan Bootcamp March 17 will help.
Our panel of experts -- all with years of experience in business planning and capital raising -- will give you advice on crafting a short business plan aimed at grabbing the attention of investors — or judges. If you are planning to enter the Challenge, we encourage you to bring your entry with you because the panel can critique critical sections of the short plan.
This bootcamp will include tips, investor insights and question-and-answer time. This information will be helpful whether you are starting your first business plan, refining the plan you already have or getting ready to pitch to investors. You do not have to be entering the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge to attend the bootcamp, but of course we hope you do enter! The Challenge deadline is April 5 (rules, judges' bios and other information can be found on MiamiHerald.com/challenge). I will also be on hand to answer any questions about the Challenge that you may have, and anyone with questions can also email me at email@example.com.
The Bootcamp presenters, all Business Plan Challenge judges who are also serial entrepreneurs, investors and mentors, are:
- * Melissa Krinzman (moderator), founder of Venture Architects, which positions private companies for capital-raising success, and co-founder of Krillion Ventures, a new venture capital fund that provides Seed and Series A stage funding to tech-enabled companies in Miami, New York City and San Francisco.
- * Richard Ginsburg, co-founder of G3 Capital Partners, an early-stage investment company in South Florida, a former CEO of two publicly traded security companies, and a mentor.
- * John Hall, executive director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at MiamiDadeCollege, a new program focused on helping companies scale, and former managing partner or president/CEO of five businesses.
- * Rob Strandberg, president of Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida (EDC), a public-private partnership that assists emerging science tech companies, and a former CEO or director for tech companies.
- * Mike Tomas, CEO of Miami-based Bioheart, a mentor and active investor in early-stage technology and biotech companies, and chairman of FIU’s Pino Global EntrepreneurshipCenter.
The two-hour Business Plan Bootcamp will start promptly at 6:30 p.m at Miami Dade College, Wolfson campus, auditorium Rm 1261, Building 1. There’s no charge for the bootcamp but you need to register directly here or go to the event page at https://extra.herald.com/events/ and click on the Business Plan Challenge logo.
We hope to see you all there!
Posted Feb. 21, 2014
By Andres Viglucci
Miami architect and planner Andres Duany learned how to subvert the rules when he mapped out Seaside, the neo-retro Florida beach town that brought walkable mixed-use neighborhoods — actually prohibited in most places by restrictive zoning codes — back into vogue, launching the influential New Urbanism movement.
Now, armed with a new $600,000 Knight Foundation grant, he's taking aim at a new target: the rising tide of bureaucracy and red tape that he says prevent young builders and entrepreneurs from starting up small-bore development and business enterprises to energize cities, towns and neighborhoods.
He's calling this NU outgrowth Lean Urbanism.
“It’s been a long time gestating,’’ Duany said in a phone interview from San Diego, where he was speaking at a small conference focused on Lean Urbanism. “To get a building built in a city is fantastically complicated. The codes are rigamarole. There is no way you can figure them out yourself. You have to hire lawyers and consultants. So the result is that everything is left to big corporations and big developers.’’
His prototypical examples: rules that prohibit baking and selling bread without a license and certified equipment, or that require someone looking to reuse a perfectly good old building to bring it up fully to modern codes, an often-prohibitive expense for an incipient entrepreneur. What usually happens instead, he said, is that the baker operates in the shadows, unable to expand the business, and the building stays empty.
The idea behind the three-year grant, which was announced Wednesday, is not wholesale reform, an impractical goal, Duany said. Instead, it’s to develop and disseminate strategies and tools to work around overly restrictive rules in a legal fashion, and lift the entry bar for Millenials and immigrants in particular, he said.
“They can’t get anything done,’’ he said. “A lot of young people today are becoming artists because art is one of the few things you can make and sell without a license.’’
The Miami-based Knight Foundation sees Lean Urbanism as a key piece in its strategy for fostering startups and an entrepreneurial “ecosystem’’ in its hometown and elsewhere. The grant will produce several pilot programs to put Duany’s strategy to the test.
“Andres is really fired up about making it easier for small actors to get in the game,’’ said Carol Coletta, the foundation’s vice president for community and national initiatives. “He’s serious, he’s rigorous, he’s passionate. I think it’s going to have a real impact.’’
The firm that Duany runs with his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, helped spearhead a revival of compact, pedestrian-friendly towns and urban neighborhoods that mix homes with shops and offices. That traditional approach, which undergirds successful new city districts like Midtown Miami and Mary Brickell Village, had been effectively banned across the country by zoning rules that strictly separated residential and commercial uses.
The first year of the Knight grant program, which will be run by Duany’s nonprofit, the Little Havana-based Center for Applied Transect Studies, will be dedicated to research and development of strategies, Coletta said. The second year will see the launch of pilot projects, at least one of which Duany said will be in South Florida and “immigrant-focused.’’ The third year will be focused on rolling out the toolbook and publicizing the projects nationally, Coletta said.
One necessary aspect of the strategy, Duany said, is to get local governments to recognize the need to relax some rules within reasonable parameters to encourage the kind of ground-up redevelopment schemes that could turn around neighborhoods, but that banks and big developers won’t touch.
That’s already happening in distressed cities like Detroit, where municipal rules and bureaucracy have receded to the point that young people are moving in and cheaply and creatively reviving some neighborhoods, Duany said. Not incidentally, Detroit was the location for a recent Lean Urbanism conference, and Duany extolled its promise as “the next Brookyln’’ on Fortune magazine’s website.
“We’re looking to stir up some trouble and get some attention on this,’’ Duany said.
Miami, too, is ripe for the strategy, he said. Overly restrictive regulations in the city have stymied small-scale efforts to revitalize poor neighborhoods like West Coconut Grove and Little Havana even as big developers have dominated the city’s downtown revival, Duany said.
Even the simplified Miami 21 zoning code that his firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk, oversaw can be complicated for a novice to navigate in combination with building codes that must meet new international standards, as well as environmental and handicapped-access rules, he said.
“It’s no longer, let’s get a potbellied stove and put a curtain over the window,’’ he said, referring to young urban homesteaders. “We don’t know exactly where the balance is, but we can provide the patches and workarounds so that people can get to work.”
Posted Feb. 19, 2014
By Karen Rundlet
Last fall, an innovation training program called StartupQuest launched in South Florida. Full time employees were not welcome. It was specifically for folks who were out of work or underemployed.
The goal of the program was to help people get new technology skills -- and jobs.
When you hear the words "technology" or "innovation," you might picture a kid, in a hoodie, coding all night at a computer. But in this program, the average age of participants was 51, and almost everyone had a master’s degree and decades of experience.
For the WLRN-Miami Herald Friday Business Report, I spoke with StartupQuest graduate, Ronald Herbas (pictured at right in the suit).
Karen Rundlet: Ronald, what are you doing today, career-wise, after the program?
Ronald Herbas: What I’ve decided to do is to launch my own management consulting firm, focus on education technology firms that are targeting K-12 public schools.
KR: Why did you decide though to strike out on your own?
RH: I just couldn’t wait for the call back. I was sending resumes. It wasn’t happening for me here.
KR: Would you prefer to be doing something else other than going out on your own?
RH: To be honest with you, my dream was always to start my own company. I’ve been doing this for companies left and right for over 15 years.
KR: How did the StartupQuest program affect how you handle your business?
RH: The way it affected it was I realized that I needed to be part of an environment of entrepreneurs. People who were serious about starting or kicking off a new venture. Every time that I was away not doing anything, unproductive, was just chipping away at my confidence so I intentionally wanted to put myself and surround myself with like-minded people who really were somewhat in a similar situation but wanted to do something and to take ownership of essentially their destiny.
KR: You used to work in Chicago. What did you do?
RH: I was the Chief Operating Officer for Risemont Educational Solutions, which was a $25 million educational services company focused on the public school system in Chicago.
KR: So same field but this time you are self employed?
KR: How long have you been here?
RH: About a year.
KR: Did you come here with a job?
RH: No I actually came over here to focus on my family, to take care of Mom. Since Mom was not going to come to Chicago, I decided to basically sell everything up there and I took a role as the Vice President for Rocket Learning.
KR: But that didn’t last forever, clearly.
RH: No it just took me by surprise because I was there, completely changed my whole world, to focus on the business -- and next thing you know, I received my pink slip.
KR: Now one of the goals of StartupQuest is to teach tech skills and to get people jobs. Did that happen?
RH: Well in my case I have a computer science background. I already have master's in information systems, an MBA, so I already brought the foundational skills to the table. What they helped me with was refreshed my mind regarding the processes, building a business plan and commercializing technology but most importantly also is getting the courage to really do this.
KR: How long will you give South Florida before you consider moving again?
RH: Karen that’s a great question. My mother’s here and I want to make sure that she’s taken care of. I’m doing everything possible to make sure that South Florida becomes my home and I’ve put my stake and a flag out here. I really would like to make sure that we build a great business here.
Again that was Ronald Herbas, CEO of Global Educational Management Solutions. He was just one of about 120 people to graduate from StartupQuest in mid-November. About half of the participants have reported they have landed jobs since the program.
The application deadline for the next class is Feb. 26. Go here to apply: https://careersourcebroward.startupquest.org/
Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida, a nonprofit that supports emerging high-growth companies, will expand its services and establish a hub in downtown Miami.
With $175,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the EDC will base its Miami-Dade operations at Pipeline Brickell, a modern co-working center, and contribute to the growth of more than 40 Miami startups in the next 12 months. To do so, it will rely on its incubator model that supports business development at every stage, based on individual needs, the organizations announced. EDC will also host six events over the next year, ranging from pitch sessions to discussions with business leaders.
EDC, established in 1994 and previously based at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, is no stranger to Miami-Dade. It was an early supporter of Incubate Miami and is currently helping about two dozen startups in the Miami area. “We’ve always been coming down there and Knight made it possible for us to enhance the commitment. We’ve had a long history in Miami and this allows us to strengthen it,” said Rob Strandberg, Enterprise Development Corporation’s president (pictured).
In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the EDC currently works closely with about 50 early-stage companies and has been working to strengthen its ties with the investing community, said Strandberg. In addtion to the new location at Pipeline, the EDC runs an incubator in Coral Springs, is developing an incubator with Broward College, and is planning to open another one soon in Boca Raton, providing mentorship and helping companies with business planning, strategy and access to capital, he said. EDC also hosts the annual Emerging Technology Business Showcase, which highlights a couple dozen South Florida tech startups.
“Enterprise Development Corp. fills an important gap by providing entrepreneurs at all stages — newly created, mid-level, mature — with the essential resources they need to grow and succeed,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation’s program director for Miami. The new location offers convenience and visibility for Miami’s entrepreneurial community, Haggman added. The funding is part of Knight’s commitment to strengthening and accelerating Miami’s technology ecosystem.
Manny Medina: Building a tech hub is the goal, putting on successful eMerge Americas is first battle
Peter Diamandis, chairman of XPrize Foundation, co-founder of Silicon Valley's Singularity University and author of Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, will be one of the keynote speakers at eMerge Americas, Manny Medina revealed at WorldCity's "One-on-One with Manny Medina" Tuesday morning in Coral Gables. Medina called himself one of Diamandis' biggest fans and highly recommended the book.
Medina, who founded, grew and sold Terremark and is now building the upcoming eMerge Americas, updated the local business leaders about the progress of the mega-conference coming to Miami Beach May 2-6. Another speaker Medina is very excited about is Bernie Meyerson, an IBM fellow and vice president of innovation, who has done groundbreaking work in big data with respect to urban development. Both Meyerson's and Diamandis' work represent that "there is no solution that technology can't solve," said Medina.
Explaining that eMerge Americas will have six tracks that are linked to the South Florida economy -- innovation, money, heathcare, cities, education and entertainment -- Medina said the ultimate goal of his Technology Foundation of the Americas is to build a tech hub for the Americas in South Florida. "The impact can be bigger than anything we've ever done as a community," he said, and asked the crowd for support. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend, and tickets are being sold on emergeamericas.org.
As part of the "Innovate" track, Latin America's most prominent incubators and accelerators, as well as Israel and other countries, are sending their best and brightest startups to compete at eMerge Americas Innovate Challenge, which will be offering $250,000 in prizes, Medina said.
Medina's larger vision is to help build an "Innovation Center of the Americas" with a data center, office and incubator space, living facilities and expo center, if he can rally the support in the real estate community, he said. But that's next, he said; for now he is focused on making eMerge a success and asked for the community's support. "I'm a big believer in if you want to win a war, you have to win one battle at a time."
In building a tech hub, there have been recent successes, such as the support of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and other government leaders as well as new accelerators and incubators such as Venture Hive, he said. Medina also pointed to exits like Prolexic, which was recently acquired for $450 million. "Now those executives can think about the next big thing."
Ten years from now, Medina said, he hopes that South Florida will have more large tech companies headquartered here, several areas with bustling tech centers of innovation, VCs established in the area and investing here, and eMerge known as the "biggest party of the year," he said.
Posted: Feb. 11, 2014
Pictured above: Manny Medina with WorldCity's Ken Roberts.
A common challenge for startups is determining when, how and where to obtain the legal advice they need -- as well as how much to pay. Perhaps this is a resource that will help.
Dade Legal Aid today announced the launch of the Venture Law Project supported by $75,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. As part of the project Dade Legal Aid has recruited attorney Ashley Juchawski to expand its existing services, incorporating free legal assistance to early-stage startups and she will begin immediately. “Ashley will bring her experience and business savvy together to optimize this project’s development, expand partner relationships, and increase the viability of Miami’s new venture startups,” said Karen Josefsberg Ladis, executive director of Dade Legal Aid, in the press release.
The Venture Law Project will advise startups on business formation, filing requirements, drafting legal contracts, negotiating lease agreements, copyrights and trademarks, tax planning and related matters. Entrepreneurs will have free access to training and legal materials, as well as regularly scheduled workshops from partner law firms and local incubators. “This project creates a tremendous resource for early-stage entrepreneurs to get the answers they need to move forward,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami.
Juchawski will serve as the project attorney, providing legal advice and recruiting experts to provide specialized guidance on the many steps that go into starting and sustaining a business.
Juchawski earned her Juris Doctor from St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens in 2012. She earned an honors Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 2008. She joins the project with valuable global business and legal experience. From 2008 to 2009 Juchawski lived and worked in Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing. While in law school, Juchawski studied international law in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, and clerked at a notable commercial and business litigation law firm in Toronto in 2011. She also clerked for Broward County 17th Judicial Circuit Criminal Court Judge Michael A. Usan. Most recently, Juchawski worked at a boutique civil litigation law firm. She is licensed as an attorney in both New York and Florida.
Posted Feb. 6, 2014
CreativeMornings, a free breakfast lecture series for creative types, is coming to Miami. CreativeMornings/Miami will host it first event from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at The LAB Miami in Wynwood.
There are 60 chapters around the world, and each chapter hosts a monthly event with a 20-minute talk about a global theme. This month’s topic is “Bravery” and Mike Tomas (pictured), who is CEO of Bioheart, a board member for Rokk3r Labs and chair of the FIU Pino Entrepreneurship Center, will be the featured speaker.
Find out more here: http://creativemornings.com/cities/mia
Posted Nov. 10, 2013