August 25, 2015

Green product businesses get help at EcoTech Visions

Ecotech- barbara jacques 2

BY NANCY DAHLBERG / ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com

Everything was humming along for Barbara Jacques (pictured above), who followed her passion and started Jacq’s Organics at her kitchen table. She was selling her all-natural skin, bath and body care products online, at farmers’ markets and charity events, and received favorable reviews and press. Then:

“Six months after I quit my day job and was all in, I got calls from huge companies and we couldn’t fulfill the orders.”

Pandwe Gibson, founder of the incubator EcoTech Visions, doesn’t want cash flow to be an insurmountable hurdle for Jacques or other entrepreneurs. That’s why a big focus of her new program is helping early-stage companies with raising capital and managing manfacturing processes.

Seeing local manufacturing as a job generator and believing local product entrepreneurs were underserved, Gibson opened EcoTech in west MiamiShores to serve green businesses. The current 20 member businesses include Aeolus, an electric motorcycle company; Earthware, a sustainable cutlery maker; Culito de Rana, creator of all-natural topical applications to soothe sunburns and prevent mosquito bites; Precision Barber Club, which makes skin-care products; and Fruit of Life Organics, builder of aquaponic systems.

EcoTech offers coworking space, workshops and mentorship and helps raise capital. Gibson is raising funds herself to add a manufacturing area so that incubator companies can make products onsite. She’s already been granted $450,000 from Miami-DadeCounty; much of that money she makes available to the member companies in the form of $25,000 loans. EcoTech also helped seven of its companies win $10,000 CRA grants to help fund their prototypes.

Gibson is helping three South Florida companies — Earthware, D Squared Engineering and Konie Cups — to pursue a joint school board contract. Developers do that all the time, so why not other companies? she thought. Earthware offers sustainable cutlery, Coney offers cups, and D Squared offers containers.

“Who wouldn’t want a sustainable fork if it costs the same as a plastic fork?” asked Gibson. But a big challenge for these companies is securing large enough contracts to get the manufacturing costs down.

EcoTech also helps entrepreneurs with their investor presentations and encourages them to join pitch competitions. Seven of them will be pitching at the upcoming Thrive Seminar with Daymond John on Thursday.

The incubator also is helping Jacq’s Organics with a business plan, pitch deck, human resources needs, and connections, Jacques said.

Jacq’s Organics curently works out of a 600-square-foot studio in DaniaBeach certified for light manufacturing. Raising capital investment and applying for grants has been a big challenge; investors and granting organizations don’t work on a startup schedule and “you jump through a lot of hoops just to be told no,” she said.

Jacques is now working with a couple of large companies to break up the big orders into more manageable shipments. In one case, she’s filling an order for 200,000 pieces in 60,000 increments, while continuing to service smaller orders from boutique businesses, a never-ending challenge for a small business, she said. “I’m looking at 600 bars of soap right now that I need to get out tonight.” But there are worse problems to have.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

Ecotech_EARTHWARE_CPJ (2)

Michael Caballero, CEO of Earthware, left, and Pandwe A. Gibson, CEO/executive director at EcoTech Visions are photographed at the incubator helping 25 green product companies in the Miami-Dade area. Earthware makes sustainable cutlery. Carl Juste MIAMI HERALD STAFF

 

A sampling of resources for South Florida's product entrepreneurs

  Moonlighter 2

BY NANCY DAHLBERG ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com

Get out of the garage — and into a maker space, incubator or entrepreneurship program. For consumer product startups, there’s no reason the journey needs to be solitary.

A growing number entrepreneurial resources are available to help consumer product companies in South Florida. Here are just a few:

Inspiration and collaboration: Maker spaces are popping up all over South Florida. For a membership fee, maker spaces provide the space, tools for designing, prototyping and fabricating your next innovation in a community of like-minded people who can help get the creative juices flowing. They often also provide workshops and events.

For example, Moonlighter Makerspace (pictured above) opened this month at 2041 NW 2nd Place in Miami. Members get access to tools that include a Makerbot 3D-printing lab, laser cutter, CNC Mill, a LittleBits Circuit Lab, handheld 3D-printing pens and industrial sewing machines. It’s one of a handful scattered around the tri-county area.

Co-working spaces also bring the like-minded creators together, and some, such as The LAB Miami, provide maker gatherings and workshops. Some like MADE at the Citidel also include maker spaces. A new co-warehousing space in Miami’s Little River area for product entrepreneurs and artists is in the works by Pipeline Workspaces that will include co-working spaces and conference areas, storage space for products, shared shipping and logistics support and a coffee shop.

Developing the business: Locally, incubators and accelerators provide mentoring services and important connections for product entrepreneurs, and engineering shops will provide services to develop your prototype. In addition, agencies such as SCORE (score.miamidade.org and broward.score.org) and the Florida Small Business Development Centers, including a relatively new center at Florida International University (SBDC.FIU.EDU), as well as university programs provide mentoring and workshops on various aspects of building a business. A fashion startup incubator, a project spearheaded by the Beacon Council and Macy’s, is expected to open in the next year.

Tech Runway , the Boca Raton entrepreneurship center and accelerator open to the community, as well as FAU students, is getting ready to welcome its third class of startups. The accelerator offers a 12-week program, where the companies are matched with teams of mentors and given workspace and $25,000 in grant funding. Tech Runway is industry-agnostic, so product companies mix with tech companies. When its space is complete, it also will include a maker space, said its director, Kimberly Gramm. In Miami, EcoTech Visions is a specialized incubator for green product manufacturers (see sidebar).

Businesses at least two years old with at least four employees and $150,000 or more in annual revenue can apply to Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at Miami Dade College. The free program provides 12 weeks of intense classroom instruction through a curriculum developed by Babson College, mentorship, networking and ongoing support even after program is over, said executive director John Hall. Applications are now open for the program’s seventh cohort; more than 120 entrepreneurs have graduated so far from the program that launched locally about 18 months ago. The Small Business Administration offers a free seven-month program for qualifying businesses called Emerging Leaders.

In addition, a number of businesses provide engineering services catering to startups and investors. Blue Ring Technologies is one example of a one-stop-shop for all kinds of services under one roof. Founder Jay Prendes developed the Davie company when he had trouble finding services to manufacture his own product several years ago. Today, its clients include independent inventors to large companies, and it can help with design, prototyping and small-batch manufacturing.

Protecting the business: The Institute for Commercialization of Public Research recently launched the Florida Patent Pro Bono Program in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The program links qualified inventors and small businesses with volunteer patent agents and attorneys who provide pro bono legal assistance on specific aspects of the patent process.

The Institute will match low-income inventors with patent lawyers. “It’s an issue of fairness and economic development. When you unlock that innovation, that is how you make a difference,” said Jennifer McDowell, USPTO pro bono coordinator in an interview earlier this year. “And once these matches get made and the patent applications get filed, we want the inventions to turn into money-making machines.”

If accepted into the Florida Patent Pro Bono Programwww.florida-institute.com/FloBono, applicants may expect exposure to intellectual property experts, support in certain aspects of the patent application process and partnership opportunities to enhance business development. The legal services would be free; the inventors would still need to pay the patent filing fees but could qualify for steep discounts.

Show me the money: Venture capital and angel-funding dollars typically go to high-growth technology startups, and consumer product startups often have to think outside that box. Consumer products often play well on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms.

Companies making coffee makers, boating accessories, toys, educational products, food and fashions have all appeared in recent crowdfunding campaigns. Several South Florida consumer product makers have excelled recently on Kickstarter and Indigogo, including BeatBuddy, a musician’s foot pedal machine for drum sounds, and Kabaccha Shoes, a men’s line with colorful soles.

Currently, 136 Miami-area products and projects are vying for funders on Kickstarter. Still, crowdfunding campaigns require time and strategic planning and aren’t for everyone. Kickstarter’s success rate is just 37 percent.

Other avenues open to consumer-product entrepreneurs: friends and family investments, loans, government grants and loan programs including Miami Bayside Foundation, and pitch contests, such as the upcoming Thrive Seminar with Daymond John on Thursday.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

 

August 19, 2015

Venture for America adding 2nd class in Miami, with Knight support

Vfa sigVenture for America, a national nonprofit that recruits, trains and places top college graduates with startups, will send its second class of Fellows to Miami in August with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The eight new Fellows will join six current Fellows for a two-year program working for Miami-based startups.

The Fellows, who will undergo a  five-week training boot camp at Brown University before joining the startups as core team members, are recent graduates of Columbia University, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, Notre Dame and Morehouse College. They will be working at local firms Rokk3r Labs, AdMobilize, Kairos and Venture Hive.

The first class of VFA Fellows in Miami has already resulted in a new startup: Tracks, led by Princeton graduate Seth Forsgren.

"The right mix of talent and opportunity is essential to making Miami a global innovation hub," said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami, which provided a $240,000 grant to fund the program’s expansion. "Venture for America is pushing us toward that goal by seeking out high-impact startups and connecting them with the talent that will help these businesses scale and grow right here in Miami."

VFA believes one of the best ways to accelerate the path to entrepreneurship for young graduates is through apprenticeship. VFA offers training, mentorship and access to capital. Each Fellow is hired as a full-time employee by a startup in one of the VFA cities at a starting salary of $38,000 a year plus benefits.

Since its founding in 2011, Venture for America has placed 300 fellows in 15 cities, including Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Providence, R.I. Venture for America partner companies have added an average of 5 jobs within a year of hiring a fellow and 72 percent have experienced net job growth. Both fellows and startups go through a VFA vetting process. For more information, visit ventureforamerica.org.

Meet the 2015 Fellows

Muhan Zhang, Kairos: a Boston College graduate with a Computer Science degree, is an aspiring engineer who measures good software by lives touched. He is the creator of Noggin, a Google Glass app that helps users with speech and paralysis disabilities communicate via head movements. Designed under the guidance of assistive technology veteran James Gips, Noggin was a finalist for the Blackwood Student Design Award, competed in various business plan competitions on campus and was published by Springer in their Computer Science Proceedings this year. Previously, Muhan has spent time interning in foreign policy, management consulting, and studying Mandarin Chinese abroad as a Fulbright scholar.

 Jide Adebayo, Rokk3r Labs: Jide is a born and raised Memphian who decided to spend his college years in the big city. Jide graduated from Columbia University in New York with a BA in Philosophy and Economics and a Masters in Public Administration through an accelerated 5-year program. Jide has worked in various fields ranging from software development to public policy and founded two companies while attending Columbia. Jide’s first company was a non-profit that provided college mentoring/tutoring services for local high schools and middle schools in New York. The second, Univate, helped students and alumni transform class projects and side projects into startups.

Willem Prins, AdMobilize: Willem graduated with a Biomedical Engineering degree from Columbia University and a Biophysics degree from Elon University. Within research he has worked in several labs, including both attended universities, UNC, and at Pfizer. Willem believes in the future of a world health system with highly personalized healthcare.

Ben Weinstein, Venture Hive: Hailing from Mount Kisco, New York, Benjamin graduated from Connecticut College in 2015 with a Computer Science major. He spends a lot of his free time playing soccer with Conn’s club team and performing improv and stand-up comedy. He has just completed his minor in Philosophy, to appeal to his logical side and strengthen his creative, critical thinking abilities.

Garrett Ransom, Venture Hive: Garrett is a Bay Area bred life enthusiast, who graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in Business Administration. Growing up not too far from the Silicon Valley, he was always surrounded by budding start-ups, but spent most of his college experience networking within Wall Street, interning two summers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in their investment banking division.  Although he still loves to invest, he now spends a bit more time in the Atlanta Tech Village.

Jinesh Shah, Rokk3r Labs: Jinesh graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Information. His key field of study is user experience design. Last summer, he interned as a designer for Chalkfly, a Detroit-based VFA company that sells office supplies. Working for Chalkfly fueled his entrepreneurial spirit, and he plans to merge his passions for design, information, and technology to start his own company.

Mary Cornfield, Rokk3r Labs: Mary, a NJ native, graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a major in Finance and minors in Entrepreneurship and Constitutional Studies. She interned all over the world, from San Francisco to South Bend, from New York to London. She loves learning about new industries and the challenges they face as evidenced by the fact that all of her internships have been in different industries including business risk consulting, consumer goods, and even a mayoral campaign. Currently she works at Notre Dame’s Investment Office and a startup in the incubator Innovation Park.

 Jesse Golomb, Rokk3r Labs: Jesse graduated from Vanderbilt University with majors in Literary Studies and Communication Studies and a minor in Corporate Strategy. A New York native, he has been passionate about journalism, media and technology from a young age. In addition to interning at VICE Media, ESPN, Newsday, Steiner Sports and doing editorial and digital marketing consulting for a variety of small businesses, he has led several teams in a series of entrepreneurial projects on campus and is a feature writer for his school newspaper. Long term, he hopes to make a career developing technologies that help us communicate, share and learn in meaningful ways.

 

 

July 29, 2015

The Idea Center launches MarketHack, a new digital marketing program

Submitted by the Idea Center at Miami Dade College

The Idea Center at Miami Dade College (MDC), Miami’s hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, is launching a comprehensive professional training program in digital marketing called MarketHack.  Registration is open now at theideacenter.co/markethack

The program, which will include workshops and public events, will tap into top industry experts and use real-life group projects to teach participants how to influence customers in the digital era, create connections, sell products and ultimately grow their businesses.

MarketHack aims to fill the gap in the South Florida marketplace for highly skilled and broadly knowledgeable digital marketers, a key discipline for any enterprise.

“Miami is a creative city with top marketing and advertising agencies, but there has not been a place to learn about the latest digital marketing tools and techniques—until now,” said Leandro Finol, Executive Director of the Idea Center at MDC. “With MarketHack, we are creating a talent pipeline for the marketers of the 21st century.”

The first MarketHack course, a 16-week introductory course in digital marketing, runs from August 25 through December 15, 2015. The course will cover the techniques and tools used by digital marketers to generate and sustain conversations with their customers and, more importantly, conversions. It will feature guests from the top creative agencies to expose students to state-of-the-art techniques in this fast-moving industry. 

MarketHack courses will be taught by two top digital marketing professionals: Dan Grech, Vice President of Marketing at Offercraft, and Mike Schott, Director of online marketing at Open English.

“We have been hearing from employers across South Florida that they simply cannot find local talent in digital marketing.  We aimed to solve that,” said Grech.

The program will build relationships with local companies and creative agencies to create a pipeline for internships, apprenticeships and jobs. “República is committed to being a leader in South Florida's innovation ecosystem. As Miami emerges as the tech hub for the Americas, we are thrilled to partner with The Idea Center at MDC to launch MarketHack, a groundbreaking program that will cultivate some of the best and brightest digital marketing professionals in the country," stated Jorge A. Plasencia, República's co-founder, chairman and CEO.

Subsequent courses and workshops, with deep dives into specific topic areas, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will roll out starting in 2016.  The course costs $1,499 for community members, with an early-bird price of $999 until August 21. Current degree-seeking Miami Dade College students pay $249.

For more information, please contact Leandro Finol at lfinol@mdc.edu.

WHAT:            MarketHack: Introduction to Digital Marketing

WHEN:            Tuesdays, August 25 thru December 15, 6p.m. - 9p.m.

WHERE:         MDC, Idea Center Building 8, Fifth floor, 315 NE 2nd Ave

 

June 29, 2015

FIU College of Architecture + the Arts creating MakerBot Innovation Lab for students, community

Florida International University will create a MakerBot Innovation Lab, a 3,000-square-foot maker space for students and other innovators to be housed at its Miami Beach Urban Studios.

MakerbotThe MakerBot Innovation Lab, supported by a $185,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will include 30 state-of-the-art 3D printers and four 3D scanners where public programs and educational opportunities will be offered. The lab will support workshops for elementary and middle school students, dual enrollment programs for high school students, for-credit classes for FIU students and startup programs for recent graduates. Community members can also use the space to develop new product ideas and conduct research.

FIU’s College of Architecture + the Arts will be the only arts/design college in the nation to house a MakerBot Innovation Lab, said John Stuart, AIA, associate dean for cultural and community engagement and the executive director of Miami Beach Urban Studios. He said the lab idea first came about because students were asking to get more involved in the maker movement. “This is an opportunity to explore and get this maker experience into the DNA of our students and our culture and our ecosystem, and I’m hoping students and community members will be inspired and will make things we can’t even imagine,” he said.

FIU Urban Studios will also work with FIU colleagues and students in hospitality, medicine and other disciplines in order to come up with innovation projects that fill a community need, for instance making a home safer and easier for the disabled, Stuart said. It will also collaborate with Miami Beach-based Rokk3r Labs, a company co-builder. to initiate workshops, seminars and other programming within the MakerBot Innovation Lab.

The Lab will be open by the fall, if not sooner, and can serve up to 60 students at one time with a 3D printer between each two workstations, Stuart said.

“Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has seen enormous growth over the last few years – adding co-working spaces, mentor and funder networks, educational offerings and a host of events. But there are few established makerspaces where entrepreneurs can experiment and build. The MakerBot Innovaation Lab will help fill this gap,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation’s Miami program director, in a news release.

June 24, 2015

Luminary Central aims to connect entrepreneurs, investors and resources

By the Luminary Central team

The South Florida entrepreneurial community is rapidly growing and gaining momentum with aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs, as well as those with great potential to become the next high growth success story for the region. Obtaining these levels of graduated success is not serendipitous. Recognizing this, Luminary Central - an online and offline platform connecting High Impact Entrepreneurs, Visionary Investors, and Optimal Resources, was launched by Romina Monasterio, Christine Johnson and Darryl Doonie as a means to facilitate the acceleration of entrepreneurs' business growth.

All of Luminary Central's efforts revolve around three primary activities: promoting, educating, and collaborating. Each activity's mission is to help foster and shape the entrepreneurial community into a sustainable, diverse, and resilient environment that is both collaborative and inclusive in nature.

In collaboration with the University of Miami, Luminary Central's first event, "Revenue Models and Pricing Strategies: The Path to Self Reliance" will take place on Saturday, June 27th. These topics are often overlooked by many entrepreneurs, though generating a cash flow is the only sustainable form of financing for most companies.

The Luminary Central team has crafted this event to target High Impact Entrepreneurs (HIEs) across all    industries. This is not meant to be a typical social gathering or lecture. Every detail is focused on ensuring providing you with actionable knowledge, fruitful relationships, and a roadmap to others' successes. The Forum goes beyond discussing growing your social capital - clicks, likes and follows - and "how to pitch".

Register to familiarize yourself with various revenue models and pricing strategies, learn from others' insights and experiences, and engage in valuable conversations with your peers.

The Forum features successful high growth entrepreneurs that have reached - and taken companies to - milestones of millions in revenue through duplicable business methodologies. A limited group of registered VIP attendees are able to partake in an intimate fireside chat style session with panelists during the day's networking period.

The panel includes: 

  • * Misha Kuryla-Gomer, Founder of Misha's Cupcakes, and generating over $4.4M in revenue
  • * Adam Boalt, Founder of LiveAnswer, since 2014 his company has signed over 1,000 clients including Uber and Nissan
  • * Jorge Cosio, former executive who has developed pricing strategies and revenue models for IBM, PepsiCo and Amex

 

To register for "Revenue Models and Pricing Strategies: The Path to Self Reliance" visit http://theuntapped.co/1LqzGbC . $59.99 (regular); $74.99 (VIP). Use code "SGATE15" to receive 15% off general admission.

Light refreshments and materials are included. #theUntapped

 

May 29, 2015

Entry deadline nears for Chase Mission Main Street Grants program

Chase is accepting applications for its Mission Main Street Grants program through June 5.

The program will award $100,000 grants to 20 small businesses around the country. Last year, Titan Paddles of Dania Beach was one of the grantees selected from 25,000 applications.

The public also is invited to vote for their favorite business since all registered applicants need at least 250 to move on to the next phase. Voting is open until June 19.

More information on the program is available at www.missionmainstreetgrants.com.

May 28, 2015

FAU's Tech Runway selects 2nd accelerator class

 Florida Atlantic University’s Tech Runway has selected its second Venture Vintage class of startup companies to participate in the business accelerator program.   

The four companies will receive a $25,000 non-equity grant, participate in a 16-week intensive boot camp, and will be provided collaborative workspace for one year. The companies also participate in a formal program for mentoring entrepreneurs and their ventures. The second class of companies are:

·       Honorlock offers award-winning, cloud-based solutions to curb academic dishonesty while remaining non-invasive.

·       Tone-y-Bands brings to market unique arm toning wrist weights that can be worn throughout the day to provide a workout from regular activities and improve exercise results.  

·       Candidate.Guru delivers applications designed to vastly improve the hiring process for companies through the application of big data and machine learning technologies.

·       TightTalk Electronics has created the EarDrive audio recording, transcription and translation solution that works with any audio source.

Supported by FAU and the State of Florida, FAU Tech Runway launched in October 2014 with five companies Venture Vintage I (VVI) pilot group. The program is based on two proven models for startup ventures, MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service and Stanford’s NSF-funded Lean Launchpad curriculum. Offered in conjunction with existing resources, FAU Tech Runway provides ventures the complete ecosystem for successful launch.

Applications for a third round of Venture Vintage companies will be solicited and evaluated by FAU Tech Runway later this summer. Startups will be sought in all industries, with an emphasis on technology.  The application process includes a business plan, pitch deck, three letters of recommendation and bio for each founder. Criteria for evaluation include but is not limited to the market opportunity, distinctive competence/competitive advantage, financial understanding of the revenue model and the investment potential. For more information on FAU’s Tech Runway, visit techrunway.fau.edu.

Information provided by Tech Runway

May 26, 2015

The Florida Microfinance Act: How can it help my small business?

BY BOB WHITE

The Florida Microfinance Act (Florida Statutes Sections 288.993 to 288.9937) was enacted in 2014 to help provide access to certain financing options for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have historically had significant problems raising capital, and the act was intended to address these problems.

Effective April 2, the state authorized designated loan administrators to begin accepting applications for participation in the program. The program has two components: a loan program where qualifying small businesses and entrepreneurs can get loans of up to $50,000, and a loan guarantee program (administered by Enterprise Florida) under which qualifying participants can obtain a loan guarantee in connection with loans from $50,000 to $250,000. The program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

This program is available to small businesses or entrepreneurs in Florida that have no more than 25 employees and annual revenues of up to $1.5 million. Borrowers who seek loans must participate in business training and technical assistance provided by the Florida Small Business Development Network. Proceeds from a loan under the program must be used for startup costs, working capital and to purchase materials, supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment. The repayment of loans must be personally guaranteed, and borrowers must provide information about job creation and other financial data to the loan administrator. A borrower can receive a maximum of $75,000 in loans each year and a maximum of two loans a year and five loans over a three-year period. The program is also designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs get subsequent private financing.

How can this help your small business? It may provide relatively quick access to capital for qualifying small businesses and entrepreneurs. This can be very valuable because it provides a much-needed potential source of capital at a critical stage in development. Additionally, these companies and entrepreneurs often have difficulty raising initial capital. Personal resources and friend and family funds are usually limited, and most of these companies and entrepreneurs will not yet have realistic access to traditional bank financing or equity financing through venture capital, private equity or angel investors. This program may provide the initial jump start that a small company or entrepreneur needs to get the business going and to progress to the next step.

This program may be especially helpful in industries where technology has substantially reduced the amount of capital required for a business. In many industries the use of cloud-based technology, for example, has significantly reduced the costs of starting and operating the business. Even though the amounts available in the program are relatively small, they should be sufficient to allow many businesses to successfully navigate their early stage financial challenges and move to the next level.

Find information about the program and the requirements for participation at http://www.floridajobs.org/microfinanceprograms.

Bob White is a shareholder with Gunster law firm.

May 22, 2015

International Women's Forum bringing 2-day workshop to Miami

The International Women’s Forum, the largest global membership organization for women in senior leadership positions, will host a two-day Executive Development Roundtable in Miami to provide leadership, training and professional development to women entrepreneurs, with $104,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The invite-only event will be held July 14-15.

A 2015 snapshot from the Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics shows women have surpassed men in post-secondary degree attainment as well as labor force participation at a rate of 57 percent, yet persistent barriers remain for women. A recent Small Business Administration and Kaufman Foundation study found that women-run firms were generating half of the total revenue of their male counterparts.

The two-day intensive training aims to help women innovators scale their work, strengthen their professional acumen, and accelerate their careers. The approach focuses on improving leadership skills, self-efficacy and goal setting through training sessions, one-on-one coaching and networking in a supportive environment. “Investing in women entrepreneurs means investing in the growth of Miami’s startup community and its wider success,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “This program provides women innovators access to a global network of high-power leaders, as well as the chance to learn more and scale their ideas.”

For more information on the International Women’s Forum, visit www.iwforum.org.