November 15, 2015

Endeavor Miami report: 5 industries with strongest entrepreneurial growth potential

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Technology, healthcare, education services, creative industries and food/beverage are entrepreneurial industries that play to Miami’s strengths and appear to have the strongest growth potential in the local innovation economy, a new report by Endeavor Miami finds.

Endeavor Miami, a nonprofit organization that selects, supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs, produced a report in order to get a better reading on where Miami’s entrepreneurial economy may be headed.

“I believe that Miami is beginning to define itself as an entrepreneurial community,” said Endeavor Miami Managing Director Laura Maydón. “Over time, industries with competitive advantages in South Florida versus other ecosystems will be able to attract resources faster and will have a higher impact in the economic development of our community. This report allows us to have a strategic view of where South Florida's entrepreneurial movement is growing.”

Maydón said people sometimes think that entrepreneurship is mostly related to tech but the report shows that there is strong entrepreneurial activity in several industries. The report also shows in what sectors there is an opportunity to innovate and differentiate South Florida, but resources have to be allocated not to miss that opportunity, such as in education, she said.

Here are a few highlights of the report released this week and available on

Software rules: The technology industry shows potential as a leading industry for entrepreneurial activity in South Florida because of the strong infrastructure of support services, including eMerge Americas, the Idea Center at Miami Dade College, Venture Hive and Refresh Miami. The best evidence of promise is the investment progress: The software and technology sector was among the most active in South Florida in 2014 in venture funding. Furthermore, software and tech jobs are expected to grow faster than overall employment growth in South Florida — 1.6 percent average annual growth compared to 1.2 percent. In addition, the report found that jobs in this sector are expected to grow from about 36,000 in 2014 to 40,000 in 2022, the report found.

Healthcare has a healthy heartbeat: Success stories, a large mentor network and access to a talent pool are helping to drive substantial progress in entrepreneurship in the healthcare and medical technology sector. Indeed, the sector received the second-highest level of investment in South Florida (and this trend is accelerating in 2015). Growth in the talent pool is expected to accelerate with the number of biomedical engineers expected to grow 5.3 percent annually from 2014 to 2022, while the numbers of mechanical and electrical engineers are expected to grow 1.4 percent, all outpacing the average annual growth rate for all South Florida occupations.

Ginnybakes_2946It’s not only about tech: Food and beverage could sizzle for entrepreneurial activity because the ingredients are already here. Miami has been outperforming the rest of the state in food service earnings growth, while the number of firms and sector employment have also been increasing. There’s a foodie culture here, expertise, a talent base and educational opportunities to augment progress. Still, South Florida entrepreneurial investment in this sector has been sorely lagging, forcing entrepreneurs to go elsewhere for funding, the report said. Notably, three selected Endeavor Miami companies are in this sector: My Ceviche, DeliverLean and ginnybakes (Ginny Simon of ginnybakes pictured here).

Innovation gets creative: Similarly, the creative industries sector is seen as a leading player in entrepreneurial growth because of the infrastructure already in place: a pool of multicultural professionals, a burgeoning art scene and a growing network of TV production facilities, fashion designer icons and renowned art events. Some trending areas entrepreneurs could take a leading role in include solutions for making the supply chain more efficient; data analytics for retailers, brands and suppliers; wearable technology; leveraging video and social media for more consumer interaction; and Internet advertising.

Leading education innovation: Education services have underperformed in earnings, but healthy job growth reflects the potential need for more innovation in the industry. While private investment has been low, public investment in the classroom has been a bright spot and “leaders recognize that education is an important area to innovate in if our community is to flourish,” the report said. Game-based learning, online and hybrid learning, and data-driven learning and assessment are a few of the trends driving innovation in South Florida’s education services sector.

“Endeavor Miami will continue to look for the best high-impact entrepreneurs across industries; that won’t change,” said Maydón. “But the report provides us with guidance of where South Florida is growing and allows us to be more strategic about our sourcing. It also helps me think about what type of mentor capabilities and partners will be needed by our entrepreneurs as they continue to develop themselves within those verticals. The more entrepreneurial activity within one industry, the faster that sector will attract the resources needed to grow.”

Endeavor Miami launched in 2013 with significant funding from the Knight Foundation and Endeavor Miami’s local board; Endeavor Miami was the global nonprofit’s first U.S. program. In the past two years, Endeavor has screened 211 companies. Through an extensive selection process that culminated in judging by international selection panels, 11 companies with 17 entrepreneurs are now Endeavor Entrepreneurs, joining the global network of more than 1,100 entrepreneurs in 25 countries.

Together these 11 companies will generate more than $60 million in revenue and more than 1,200 jobs in 2015, the report said. Forty-nine mentors have donated 781 hours since 2013, and 12 of them sit on Endeavor Miami Entrepreneurs’ advisory boards. In addition to receiving mentorship and introductions, Endeavor companies have participated in or have been supported by programs such as EY’s Growth Navigator, Bain & Company’s “Externship” program, Harvard and Stanford business schools and Kellogg’s executive MBA program.

Endeavor banks on the multiplier effect: These high-growth companies not only generate jobs, but their founders become role models and leaders in the entrepreneurship community, inspiring and mentoring future generations to think big and pursue high-growth entrepreneurship.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg

Find out more about Endeavor Miami

Read the report, “Impact Report 2015: Insight on Trends in Entrepreneurship in South Florida,” find out more about Endeavor Miami and nominate a deserving entrepreneur for the program at Find the report here.

Coming up: Endeavor Gala

Endeavor Miami is holding a gala on Wednesday evening at the New World Center, and all proceeds go to furthering the organization’s mission. Honored with “Impact Awards” will be Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode, and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Group and GLAMSQUAD. Find out more and buy tickets at


November 05, 2015

Miami law students to provide South Florida startups free legal services

Law students at the University of Miami School of Law will begin providing free legal services to entrepreneurs in January to help support South Florida’s booming entrepreneurship community. Through the Larry Hoffman|Greenberg Traurig Startup Law Practicum, Miami Law students will help young businesses and organizations with a wide range of legal issues, including organizing, financing, talent, intellectual property, risk, and regulation.

The Startup Law Practicum’s Director, Daniel B. Ravicher, an attorney who has represented startups since the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, will supervise the students. Ravicher has helped entrepreneurs with a variety of legal matters and also advised investors in startups. Ravicher has been an entrepreneur himself, forming businesses in various sectors, and being named one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by the Echoing Green Foundation.

“We at the University of Miami School of Law are excited about South Florida’s quick ascent to becoming a leading center of entrepreneurial activity,” said Ravicher. “We want to help the community by providing free legal services to those very early stage entrepreneurs who otherwise would not be able to get the legal assistance they need.”

Specific legal matters Miami Law students will assist clients with include selecting and forming a business entity, such as LLC or C-corp, evaluating, negotiating and documenting financing transactions, both equity and debt, and drafting independent contractor, employee, joint venture and other agreements. They will also assist in protecting intellectual property, including applying for patents and trademarks, and drafting Terms of Service and Privacy Policies for websites and apps.

For more information about Miami Law’s Startup Law Practicum, including how to apply for services, visit

-submitted by University of Miami

November 02, 2015

With Knight funding, Startupbootcamp to open digital health accelerator in Miami next year


By Nancy Dahlberg /

Startupbootcamp, Europe’s largest business accelerator operating in eight countries, will launch its first U.S. program in Miami, with $2 million in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The organizations will announce Monday that the Miami program will focus on supporting and scaling startups in digital health, building on both the city’s reputation as a center for healthcare and life sciences and its position as a launchpad into Latin America.

Startupbootcamp operates 10 accelerators across Europe and one in Singapore — each focused on an industry suited to the location — and has been actively looking to expand into the United States, said Alex Farcet, who founded Startupbootcamp in Copenhagen in 2010. Since then, Startupbootcamp has supported 290 startups, of which over 70 percent have received an average of $660,000 in funding and together have created 1,160 jobs.

After three trips to Miami in the past three or four months, Farcet was sold on South Florida. “It just feels like the right time. We think we are in the sweet spot of being early but not completely pioneers. Miami itself and the health focus, access and visibility with Latin America, the support of the Knight Foundation — a lot of things came together that felt right,” Farcet said. “Miami is ready, and we are ready for Miami.”

Farcet said Startupbootcamp will put its proven accelerator and mentorship model to work helping to find, support, fund and grow 30 digital health startups over three years. Startupbootcamp Miami will invite entrepreneurs from across the globe to apply; 10 companies per year will be selected to participate in the three-month program. Applications will be due Feb. 1 and the first program will begin next spring; entrepreneurs can find more information and apply at

Each chosen startup will receive a three-month accelerator program, six months of free co-working office space, a seed investment of $20,000 with possible additional investments up to $100,000, and in-kind services from partners such as Google, PayPal and Amazon Web Services. More than 100 participating mentors will come from companies, venture firms and universities across the U.S., including Microsoft, CVS Health, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Healthways, Lyra Health, Bessemer Venture Partners, Google Ventures, MIT and Harvard.

The Miami area has a few accelerators, including the Knight-supported Venture Hive downtown, but it’s not enough to support the ecosystem, said Matt Haggman, the Miami program director of the Knight Foundation who is spearheading efforts to develop a tech and startup ecosystem. “We think Startupbootcamp is complementary to what is here because it is focused on a vertical,” Haggman said. “We have this huge healthcare system in Miami, and you are seeing some connection but not enough. This is a way to connect the dots.”

The Startupbootcamp funding is one of the top three Knight grants supporting Miami entrepreneurship. Knight has committed about $18 million to 165 organizations and projects in the past three years, including Endeavor, the Idea Center at Miami Dade College, LaunchCode and eMerge Americas.

Christian%20SealeChristian Seale will run the Miami program as managing director. Previously, he helped build Startupbootcamp’s Smart Transport & Energy accelerator in Berlin. He is also a founding member of Equitable Origin, a certification program for responsible energy production. Seale, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, has also worked for venture capital firm Maveron, Goldman Sachs, Teach for America and has spent a year in Barranquilla, Colombia, as a Fulbright Scholar.

Seale and Farcet said the decision to focus on digital health emerged after a number of discussions with leaders in the entrepreneurship community. Startupbootcamp will look for companies at the intersection of technology, in areas such as remote-patient monitoring, population health management, personalized medicine, telemedicine, payer administration and analytics, big-data and fraud detection.

Seale hopes some of the Miami program’s startups will serve up solutions for the growing yet underserved U.S. Latino population: “Latinos soon will comprise 30 percent of the U.S. population yet fewer than 4 percent of healthcare providers speak Spanish and many do not know how to approach the cultural and economic diversity within the Latino population. More broadly, we seek to support the eradication of healthcare disparities in the U.S.”

The accelerator location hasn’t yet been selected, but it will likely be a 4,000- to 6,000-square-foot space in Wynwood or downtown Miami with room to grow, said Seale, who has been visiting the area for tech events for a couple years and is relocating to South Florida now. Miami-based Carevoyance, which provides a platform for healthcare companies to access and analyze data, and its co-founder Abhinav Gautam will be part of Startupbootcamp’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.

Startupbootcamp Miami will host an internship program, and it will produce educational events and pitch days open to the public as well as make training available online. One event is already planned: Startupbootcamp and the Idea Center at Miami Dade College will co-host an MIT Hacking Medicine hackathon Feb. 20-21, Seale said.

The accelerator will partner with the Frost Museum of Science to test products and services from Startupbootcamp ventures, and is working with the Idea Center at Miami Dade College and U Innovation at the University of Miami to support more local innovation. “We want to help transform Miami into a place where if you want to start a healthcare company Miami is flat out on the top of your list,” Seale said.

In addition to the Knight Foundation, Startupbootcamp is backed by Univision, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Microsoft’s BizSpark Program as well as Dr. Maurice R. Ferré, chairman of Insightec and co-founder of MAKO Surgical, Michael Simkins, president and CEO of Innovate Development Group, which is leading the Miami Innovation District project, Miro Ventures and Rokk3r Labs.

Farcet said that historically, the mix of teams in other Startupbootcamp accelerators has been about 80 percent international and 20 percent local, and one of the measures of success for the new program will be how many of the entrepreneurs stay and grow their companies in Miami after the program is over.

“This is a test of both Startupbootcamp and Miami’s broader startup ecosystem,” said Farcet. “There are good programs in Miami already and a lot of initiatives. We expect to inject new talent and new blood by importing people and showing that Miami is a really strong alternative to Boston and California.”

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg

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October 21, 2015

Guest post: Why tech startups should incorporate in Florida

By Lior Leser

LeserEvery journey, even an entrepreneurial one, starts with a first step. Every new product, innovative service or groundbreaking technology starts with the formation of a company. Forming a company, forces us to move beyond the theoretical, the idea. It enables us to create a concrete vehicle in which to form, crystalize and enable our dreams. More so, forming a company, provides the us with many important legal benefits; chief among these are (1) limited liability (2) tax benefits and (3) deduction of expenses. But where should you form the company?

Most entrepreneurs know that they need to form an entity. What few understand is in what state should they form their next tech startup? Many are advised to incorporate in Delaware. Others are intrigued by having a California or New York company. Most are surprised to find out that Florida is one of the best and most popular states in which to incorporate tech startups.

Technologies startups are unlike startups in most other industries. The tech industry is unique in allowing successive failures and missteps to grow into tremendous successes. In many industries failure can be hard to overcome. Failure brands the individual and makes him less likely to attract talent and funds in the future. Not so in technology. One of the keys to success in technology is the ability to innovate, execute and most importantly pivot.

Entrepreneurs are continuously challenged to develop new and innovative products and services with full knowledge than many, if not most, will fail to gain market traction. What professional investors backing these startups are looking for in entrepreneurs is the ability to execute, learn and where necessary change. The ability to realize as quickly as possible where failure lies can often be the key to future success.

In a few states, Florida included, the legal environment supports this unique take on corporate evolution and growth. In these states, forming a corporate entity is (1) inexpensive (2) quick (preferably online)(3) and can easily be accomplished by the entrepreneurs themselves.

The reality is that across the 50 states, Florida stands among only a handful of states that enable tech entrepreneurs to quickly, easily and inexpensively form companies. Today, California claims it takes about a week to form a company. In my experience, it can take as long as a couple of months. In comparison, in Florida you form a company immediately and receive a confirmation by email the next business day.

In Delaware and California, all company formations are submitted in writing. Legal documents together with a cover letter must be typed, submitted by mail and use explicit formatting styles delineated by the state. In comparison, in Florida company formation can be done online using a simple fill in the blank format. No complicated legal forms need to be drafted.

In Florida, entity formation fees are straightforward. Forming a corporation costs $70 and forming a limited liability company (LLC) costs $125. In California, in comparison, forming a corporation costs $100. When forming an LLC in California, you pay $70 at the time of formation but are also likely to face a minimum tax of $800 a year. In NY corporate formation costs $125 and an LLC costs $200 for formation and an extra $50 for a required newspaper publication. In Florida the process is just simpler, faster and cheaper.

It is important to accept the possibility that the company you form today is not likely to be the one where all your dreams are realized. Spending weeks on forming the company, expending resources on drafting legal documents is likely to result in wasted efforts. You can imagine that if you had to do this multiple times, the legal process is even worse.

Everyday I speak with tech entrepreneurs struggling to get their next big idea off the ground. When they ask about where to form their next venture, I always recommend Florida. We are lucky to live in a state that long ago invested in the tools needed to enable quick and inexpensive corporate formations. The unintended consequence of this was that Florida has quickly become one of the best places to form new tech startups. Add to that the state’s favorable tax code and one of the strongest corporate shield laws protecting your personal assets, and it is easy to see why entrepreneurs across the US flock to Florida to form their new companies.

So head out to Start a new company and execute on your great idea. If you need to pivot or close down an entity as a stepping stone to the next idea, feel assured that forming the next company will be just as easy, quick and inexpensive. And when the day comes when ideas, execution and opportunity converge and a venture capital firm is ready for a multimillion dollar round, rest assured that, if needed, you can move your company to another jurisdiction, like Delaware.

Lior Leser is an attorney trained at Stanford Law School and licensed in Florida and California. He works predominately with technology startups. If you have any questions about this or any other tech startup topic, feel free to reach out at


October 14, 2015

Continental National Bank launches entrepreneurship program with FIU, Miami Bayside Foundation

Continental National Bank announced the launch of its GROW Entrepreneurship Program designed to help professionals grow their companies, improve and strengthen their skills, and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

Developed in collaboration with Miami Bayside Foundation, Florida International University’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center and the Florida Small Business Development Center at FIU, began training sessions for its first class on Tuesday. Continental National Bank is accepting applications for the program’s upcoming sessions through its website

Through its GROW Entrepreneurship Program, Continental National Bank seeks to help the next generation of Miami business leaders through courses designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset. Qualifying professionals will have the opportunity to work with experienced SBDC mentors, attend workshops,and develop connections. They will also have access to a competitive small business loan program from the Miami Bayside Foundation.

“Our GROW Entrepreneurship Program is a resource that can open lucrative doors for local business owners. Professionals enrolled will have access to unique tools to increase their revenue, create jobs, and drive growth in our community – a goal that we are strongly committed to,” said Jaqueline Dascal-Chariff, chairman of Continental National Bank.

To review program eligibility criteria, visit


October 13, 2015

Libra Group launches entrepreneurship award program in Miami-Dade County

Libra Group, a privately owned diversified business group with 30 subsidiaries across six continents, will commit $500,000 to launch a new annual award program for budding entrepreneurs in Miami-Dade County as well as the Bronx in New York. The American Entrepreneurship Award will provide winners with business startup funding as well as mentorship and support services.

George Logothetis, Libra Group’s chairman and CEO, announced the award at an event Tuesday morning at Miami-Dade College’s Idea Center, an entrepreneurship hub for MDC’s 165,000 students. Logothetis said the two areas were chosen because of need – Miami-Dade County is the seventh-most populous county in the United States, yet 21 percent of families having incomes below the federal poverty level. The award program also expands an existing partnership with Miami Dade College, in which 10 students are given internships at one of the Libra Group companies, which span the industries of shipping, aviation, hospitality, energy and real estate, including FCA in Miami.

Libra Group has a track record running entrepreneurship awards targeted at communities in need. In Greece, the group created the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, now in its fourth year of operation. The winning businesses have created hundreds of jobs to the struggling Greek economy, he said. Libra Group is also a founding sponsor of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a nonprofit organization launched by President Obama and aimed at eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps for boys and young men of color.

The American Entrepreneurship Award will be open to entrepreneurs in the two regions whose business plans exhibit the promise of sustainability, financial prudence, innovation and local job creation. At least two winners – one from each region – will share a cash prize of $50,000, plus services; Miami Dade College pledged support through its Idea Center. The award program will open for entries in January; winners are expected to be announced next June. To learn more, visit

“In our experience, no matter who you are, and no matter where you come from, you can have an idea with the potential to become a world-class business. Through this award program we aspire to inspire anyone with the courage and the will to turn an idea into a plan of action,” said Logothetis, who has committed funding for a 10-year awards program. “It’s on of our way of giving back.”


October 08, 2015

Founder Institute to open two chapters in South Florida

The Founder Institute  announced this week that it is launching two chapters in South Florida: the Miami Founder Institute and the Fort Lauderdale- Boca Raton Founder Institute

Through the Founder Institute’s four-month entrepreneur training and startup launch program, entrepreneurs “learn by doing” and launch a company with training, expert feedback, and support from experienced startup CEOs, the Institute said in its press release. The program is part-time, so full-time professionals can test and build their ideas before making the leap from employee to entrepreneur and quitting their day jobs. If accepted into the program – which includes an aptitude test – participants will pay $1,000, plus a 3.5 percent equity share that is shared by mentors and participants in the program, according to

Founder Institute is based in Silicon Valley with chapters in 100 cities and 45 countries. Since 2009, more than 1,650 companies  have used the Founder Institute to validate their idea, develop their plans, refine their product, build an advisory board and prepare for seed funding - including fast-rising startups like UdemyRealty MoguliCarsClubItembasegoplaceit and Appota

Applications to the first ever Miami and Fort Lauderdale-Boca Raton Founder Institute programs are open now: or

“The region has all of the ingredients for a strong startup ecosystem - with a great mix of diversity, capital, universities, and large technology companies. Given the response we have seen, I have no doubt that the region can support both of these chapters, and provide expert training and mentorship to help produce top-notch companies," said Adeo Ressi, founder and CEO of the Founder Institute, in the press release.

The Founder Institute is hosting a series of free startup events open to the public:


Leading  Founder Institute Miami are Enrique Sierra, an executive-level leader and action-oriented consultant with broad experience in strategic modeling and implementation of ROI-driven businesses; Gustavo Fernandez, an alternative investments fund manager passionate about the innovative use of capital and technology to transform ideas into nimble, effective organizations; and Juan Meza, an innovation activist and mediator of entrepreneurship, profitability and social responsibility for Fortune 500 companies.

Fort Lauderdale’s chapter is led by Mark Volchek, a successful entrepreneur that built a project from 3 founders on a college campus into a public company listed on NYSE; Rodolfo Novarini, a seasoned entrepreneur and intrapreneur with over 15 years of experience creating and growing billion dollar businesses; and Michel Triana, the founder of several successful technology companies, including Ninut,, and Cine en Casa. 

About 60 technology leaders have signed on to mentor; they can be viewed at and,.

The application deadline for both South Florida chapters is on Sunday, Nov. 22, but anyone who applies by the early application deadline of Nov. 1 is eligible for scholarships - including the Female Founder Fellowship offered to the best overall female applicant for each chapter.

September 30, 2015

Q&A on SBDC at FIU's first 20 months: 900 entrepreneurs served, and counting ...

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Since early 2014, the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida International University has helped more than 900 South Florida entrepreneurs. The SBDC’s services are free and available to the community.

Jacqueline_Bueno Sousa_TORSO SHOTJacqueline Bueno Sousa, the program’s founding regional director, said SBDC at FIU looked at the landscape and needs in Miami-Dade County’s entrepreneurial community so that the services it offered would be value added. It settled on focusing on scalable existing businesses as well as startups, and particularly ones with global ambitions. In fact, one program it is starting later this year will focus on helping young companies go global from day one as well as helping existing companies reach new markets. “We have a focus on helping our companies grow globally because we think that is a game changer in terms of the local economy,” Sousa said.

SBDC specializes in offering entrepreneurs one-on-one counseling, and in many cases entrepreneurs get access to a team of SBDC consultants who specialize in different areas, such as finance, distribution, government contracting or marketing, Sousa said. The office, with 14 consultants, also has held a number of training programs and workshops in partnership with FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center and IronHack coding school.

SBDC at FIU ( is part of a statewide network that includes offices in Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties and is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state of Florida and other public and private partners. SBDC at FIU is also supported by FIU’s College of Business, where the office is based, and private funding.

The Miami Herald talked with Sousa about the SBDC at FIU’s first 20 months and what’s ahead.

Q. What is your one-liner for SBDC?

A. SBDC at FIU helps businesses grow and succeed.

Q. What services do you offer a small business?

A. We have a team of highly experienced business consultants who work one-on-one with small- and medium-size businesses to help them succeed. We have experts in finance, marketing, international business development, contracting, HR — all the major areas in which businesses experience growth challenges.

Continue reading "Q&A on SBDC at FIU's first 20 months: 900 entrepreneurs served, and counting ... " »

September 22, 2015

10,000 Small Businesses at MDC taking applications for Cohort 7

Miami Dade College is accepting applications for Cohort 7 of the 10,000 Small Businesses program scheduled to begin Jan. 28.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a classroom-based business education program that gives entrepreneurs skills for growing their businesses, the opportunity to access capital and networking opportunities at no cost to participants. The curriculum includes one-on-one advice, clinics and workshops; participants learn to identify and evaluate opportunities, understand financial statements, hire, retain and lead employees, negotiate successfully and create a comprehensive growth plan. The local program was launched in October 2013, funded with a five-year, $5 million grant from Goldman Sachs.

Applicants should be an owner or co-owner of a business with at least four employees and in operation for at least two years with revenues of at least $150,000 in the most recent fiscal year. So far, the program has graduated 132 businesses and Cohort 6 is in progress with 31 businesses. The range of annual gross revenue of the participating businesses has been $150,000 to $35 million.

Courses will be held at MDC’s Wolfson Campus. To apply, visit or call 305-237-7824. The deadline to apply for Cohort 7 is Oct. 8. To learn more, RSVP for an upcoming Webinar here.

September 17, 2015

Knight Foundation funds Venture Hive accelerator expansion

Venture Hive

To provide Miami’s entrepreneurship community with more mentorship, funding and networking opportunities, the Miami-Dade Entrepreneurial Development Organization, a not-for-profit group that promotes entrepreneurship initiatives in Miami, will help expand the Venture Hive accelerator program through a $210,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Venture Hive is an entrepreneurial hub in downtown Miami that is home to 31 companies from 18 countries, and its accelerator program helps entrepreneurs grow their technology businesses in Miami. The program offers selected participants a $25,000 grant, a 13-week intensive mentor-driven accelerator program, and six months of free office space at Venture Hive. In addition, participants are given access to a wide network of leading business professionals, as well as mentorship and funding opportunities.. The next Venture Hive Accelerator Program will begin in January 2016; applications will open in October.

Since its launch in 2013, Venture Hive’s accelerator program has helped establish 10 businesses and more than 50 local jobs. It has supported more than 2,600 hours of coaching and generated an investment leverage of more than 20:1 private-to-public dollar investment, said its founder, Susan Amat, a serial entrepreneur whose goal was to attract and retain top international startups to build on South Florida’s existing strengths, including finance, travel and hospitality, trade and logistics, creative industries and healthcare. Amat was also co-founder of The Launch Pad at the University of Miami.

Venture Hive also houses an incubator and high school entrepreneurship program as well as the Microsoft Innovation Center and pre-accelerator programs for institutions around the world. To learn more about an upcoming Angel Investor Summit in February at Venture Hive and its accelerator program visit:

 “Venture Hive has taken a leading role in shaping Miami’s global brand as a startup hub,” said Roberto Interiano, MEDO’s executive director and a board member. “While our programs and platform support entrepreneurs all over the world, Miami is our home where we test and validate our content and offerings,” added Amat.

This year, Venture Hive also opened an accelerator for veteran-run tech startups; it’s in Fort Walton Beach.