August 25, 2015

Green product businesses get help at EcoTech Visions

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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.

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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

 

August 14, 2015

Miami Dade College designated as 1st Ashoka U Changemaker Campus in Southeast

Miami Dade College  has been designated as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus for being a leader in social innovation education and is the first and only public institution of higher education in the Southeastern United States, joining the world’s largest network of universities focused on social innovation education - the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus network.

Building on Ashoka’s vision for a world where Everyone is a Changemaker, Ashoka U takes an institutional change approach to impact the education of millions of students, including the 165,000 at MDC.

“We are humbled to receive this distinction from such a renowned organization and it affirms the diligent work we have been doing for so many years to provide our students the comprehensive tools for lifelong success and to serve as catalysts for change in our community,” said José A. Vicente, president of the Wolfson Campus at MDC and Ashoka Institutional Champion. “We take the responsibility of being ‘changemakers’ very seriously and look forward to reporting on our progress.” 

As an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, MDC will advance educational pathways that develop interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and solutions-oriented skills for students. It will launch a college-wide initiative to infuse social innovation into the fabric of the college and create a defined path for all students to become changemakers.

MDC’s Changemaker Campus plan has three key objectives: (1) provide an applied learning environment that will allow students to find their passion while giving meaning to their education; (2) equip students with changemaking skills that are highly valued workforce readiness skills; and (3) design a mechanism to measure impact and success of MDC changemakers. 

This summer, the College launched the “It Takes One” campaign to empower and challenge students, faculty, staff and other members of the community to become changemakers. Campaign activities and events will be announced at various MDC campuses.  

 Ashoka U is regarded for catalyzing social innovation in higher education through a global network of entrepreneurial students, faculty, administrators, staff, and community leaders. Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses include Brown, Cornell, Duke, Fordham, George Mason, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, and Tulane, among other top institutions worldwide. 

- submitted by Miami Dade College

 

August 02, 2015

Q&A with Robert Hacker: On scaling social entrepreneurship, finding partners, thinking big

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Hacker picRobert H. Hacker often advises entrepreneurs to go after the “big opportunity.” The same advice holds true for social ventures, and he’s written a new book on it, Scaling Social Entrepreneurship: Lessons Learned from One Laptop per Child, available in  paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.

Hacker, who teaches social entrepreneurship courses at FIU’s Honors College and MIT’s Sloan School, spent 3 1/2 years as CFO of One Laptop Per Child, an organization with a mission to provide every child in the developing world with a connected laptop. Big opportunity, scaled globally. How did the organization do it? One key was by successfully creating the worldwide 1:1 computing for children movement early on, Hacker says.

While improved education worldwide and corporations committing a sliver of their profits would go a long way toward solving the world’s biggest humanitarian problems, Hacker says, the for-profit entrepreneurship model is built for scaling social ventures. Just as with entrepreneurship without the “social” modifier, tackling large, worldwide problems is more effective than tackling smaller problems and you can achieve efficiencies of scale.

Final Cover SSEHow big is the opportunity? The population of the developing world will reach 4 billion by start of the 22nd century and the population of the world’s least developed countries will total another 3 billion people –- a nearly three-fold increase from this century, Hacker writes in the book.  In the book that is well-researched and rich in examples, Hacker, who spent 20 years working in Asia and Latin America and is also the author of Billion Dollar Company, explains ways to scale social entrepreneurial ventures in light of their unique challenges such as lower operating returns and less startup capital.

Hacker, who also manages the GH Capital consultancy and writes the Sophisticated Finance blog, talked with the Miami Herald about his views and work in social entrepreneurship.

Q. Why do you think the private sector can do a better job on social problems than government and non-profits?

A. The private sector represents a better option to solve social problems because they have better access to capital and a history of innovating to solve customer problems. However, now customers expect their brands to be genuinely involved in solving social problems. The private sector now finds it to be in their self-interest to solve the problems if they want to maintain their customer loyalty.

Q. Why do you think that the morality (or lack thereof) of capitalism is a theme that never goes away?

A. The question never goes away because the critics make their case better than the capitalists. But as I quote in the book, The Economist estimates that approximately one billion people escaped poverty in the twenty-year period ending in 2010 through the benefits of capitalism. That fact, and the progress it represents, is hard to legitimately challenge.

Q. Who do you think is the best example of social entrepreneurship today?

A. Toms Shoes. Toms Shoes  has successfully grown a company that is committed to both shareholder returns and social engagement at scale. Its recent private equity investment demonstrates that professional investors see no conflict between the social mission and future financial returns. 

Q. What is the key to scaling social entrepreneurship?

 A. The most important key to scaling social entrepreneurship is not capital or partners but rather to plan from the very beginning to achieve scale.

 Social entrepreneurship by definition has lower financial returns, which means such organizations generate less cash internally. Therefore, these organizations have less ability to iterate on business model due to lower cash reserves. They need to execute well right from the beginning, which requires very careful business model development and planning.

Q. What was the key to OLPC's early success?

A. OLPC's early success is attributable to its achieving the status of a movement, a worldwide movement. Nicholas Negroponte created a learning movement for 1:1 computing for children worldwide. While it might appear a daunting task, I would point out that a young girl from Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai was also able to create a worldwide movement. 

Q. What are three takeaways from your book?

A. Choose for-profit status for a social entrepreneurship project because it gives you better access to capital.

Partner with the private sector because they have the resources and can be motivated to support social projects.

Solve one social problem well and let others solve the myriad of other problems.

Q. Where do you see social entrepreneurship in South Florida?

A. Social entrepreneurship is in its infancy in South Florida but also worldwide. Many people are still not familiar with the concept despite the example of Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank and the teachings of CK Prahalad who coined the phrase "the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid." However, the Honors College at FIU and the University of Miami Business School have active programs to introduce and facilitate student involvement in social entrepreneurship. These efforts, combined with community support from Knight Foundation, the Center for Social Change and EcoTech Vision to name a few, will increase awareness of social entrepreneurship and generate positive results in the community.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

July 21, 2015

National Urban League 'hacking' a path to social justice in Fort Lauderdale

Some of the nation’s brightest minds in tech will be working around the clock at the National Urban League 2015 Conference, designing original applications to alleviate the most pressing social issues of our day.

“More and more, the fight for social justice is being waged online,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “The new face of civil rights is young, educated and tech-savvy. And these 21st-Century civil rights defenders are developing the 21st-Century tools they need.”

Hosted by the National Urban League in partnership with Digital Grass, the two-day “TechConnect: Hack-A-Thon for Social Justice,” presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, will take place from 5 pm Thursday, July 30, to 6:30 pm Friday, July 31.

 "Digital Grass is honored to help with civic hacking in our community" Digital Grass Founder and CEO Michael Hall said.  "It's important to not just develop social apps but software and applications that can help with civic innovation and improve the quality of life for our core urban community. This event is the right step in that direction."

TechConnect provides a space for innovators to design original social justice applications, specifically those in tune with this year's Conference theme, “Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs, and Justice.” At least one of the top resulting application/software will be implemented by the Urban League to enhance civic engagement, voting, education equity, housing, health, justice and job creation in urban communities

Developers, designers, civic leaders and creative thinkers are all invited to be among the first to create solutions to Save Our Cities and compete for $2,500 in cash and $25,000 in prizes.

WHAT: “TechConnect: Hack-A-Thon for Social Justice,” to develop innovative and impactful tech solutions to address some of the nation's biggest problems in the areas of public safety, voting, education, jobs, housing or health. 

WHERE: Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd. • Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

WHEN: Intro and Information will take place July 30; the Hackathon will take place July 31.

COST: Free Entry Fee for Competitors

TO REGISTER:  nultechconnect.digigrass.com

Press release supplied by Digital Grass

 

 

July 08, 2015

South Florida natives start New Story to crowdfund homes for Haiti

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The New Story co-founders: from left: Mike Arrieta, Matthew Marshall, Alexandria Lafci and Brett Hagler in front of one of the tents in Lévêque, Haiti.

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Brett Hagler saw the squalid and unsafe conditions that Haitians live in every day in vast tent cities. And now with the power of the crowd, his tech startup is moving the families one by one into homes of their own.

Hagler, who grew up in Coral Springs, started New Story, a nonprofit crowdfunding site in which 100 percent of donations go to building small, hurricane-resistant concrete houses in Haiti. Seven months ago, he and his small team quickly built a website, newstorycharity.org, and tested the model with one family and one home. That worked and New Story kept going.

Now in San Francisco and part of the summer class of the well-regarded Silicon Valley accelerator Y-Combinator, Hagler and the team have finished 62 homes and are scaling up with an ambitious summer goal: 100 homes in 100 days. Right now, New Story is focused on a large tent slum in Lévêque, Haiti, 40 minutes from Port-au-Prince.

“We are moving the families from the tent slum to a new community nearby,” said Hagler, New Story’s CEO. “We have 152 to go. Our goal is to deplete that as soon as possible, and when we’ve done that we are starting a new story for these families.”

New Story works like this. A family needing a home is featured on newstorycharity.org. For example in one current campaign, you could meet melon farmer Marie Odette, who has been living in a tent and separated from her children because of the tent city’s unsafe conditions. Once the family is funded — when it reaches $6,000 in donations for a 388-square foot, three-room concrete home built to Miami-Dade County building standards, Hagler says — Haitian construction workers get to work and a home with a front porch and garden for the family goes up within about two months. Funders, whether they donated $5 or $6,000, see the progress of their project every step of the way, and are sent a video on move-in day. New Story partners with Mission of Hope, a local organization that has been building homes in Haiti for 16 years.

 

Hagler started New Story with his best friend since middle school, Mike Arrieta. Both went to high school at Coral Springs Christian Academy, graduated in 2008 and then went off to different colleges (Hagler to Florida State and Arrieta to Alabama). Arrieta is also living in San Francisco and is on the board of New Story. Also on the team: Matthew Marshall and Alexandria Lafci.

Hagler and Arrieta visited a tent city as part of a personal trip in the summer of 2013, three years after the devastating earthquake that killed more than 300,000 and left 1.5 million homeless. “You don’t have a safe home in this environment — theft, child abduction, rape. Kids couldn’t go to school. Parents couldn’t work a full day because their kids weren’t safe,” said Hagler. “That broke my heart.”

Their solution: to give the Haitians new homes and change their life trajectory. “The best way people can help is to fund a home,” Hagler said.

New Story is focusing first on Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Building permanent houses has been the biggest challenge in Haiti since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, and problems with housing and fund-raising efforts have been well documented, including a recent report by ProPublica and NPR that the Red Cross had raised $500 million but only built six homes. Not surprisingly, people may be wary of fundraising efforts in Haiti, even though about 60,000 are still living in tents five years after the disaster. New Story attempts to make the process as transparent as possible, not only with frequent updates to donors but a cost breakdown on the website. Said Hagler: “Don’t let headlines deter you from giving because these people still need homes, and we are going to do it with full transparency and accountability and show it to you.”

New Story says 100 percent of donations ($372,000 so far) go to the projects; New Story also has raised money from its “investors” — so far it has raised $140,000 for operations and administrative costs, most of that from Y-Combinator.

New Story was set up as a nonprofit, but Hagler says it operates no differently than any of the high-growth for-profits in the Y-Combinator accelerator or elsewhere. The goal is revenues, lots of them, and rapid expansion to other areas of the world. The only difference is that all the revenues are going to the families and New Story’s investors are getting a social ROI, he said.

New Story plans to expand to help other areas in the future but that summer trip to Haiti in 2013 left a lasting impression on Hagler: “New Story will always be in Haiti.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

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One of the small homes funded by New Story's crowdfunding platform, above. New homes mean income opportunities for Melicia, who sells food and sweets at her stand, below. 

 

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FIND OUT MORE

To fund a family: newstorycharity.org

More info: Reach Brett Hagler at brett@newstorycharity.org

 

June 07, 2015

Miami joins global event focused on government innovation

 

By Ezequiel Williams

 This year Miami will join the Global GovJam, a global workshop focused on making government more innovative and user-friendly, for the first time. On June 10 - 11 Miami GovJam participants will join people in 37 other cities around the world in a global event aimed at teaching and practicing innovation techniques to government workers and people passionate about civic life.

The GovJam movement started in Canberra, Australia in 2012 with a group of 80 people. In the months that followed the same people were inspired to scope or launch over a dozen innovative public projects as a result of the event. In 2013 innovation consultants Markus Hormess and Adam Lawrence of WorkPlayExperience took the event global, bringing close to 30 cities on board. The Global GovJam is now a growing, volunteer-run event aimed at bringing together people around the world to learn innovative problem-solving skills and techniques aimed at making government services more responsive and user-friendly.

In the past two years the the GovJam has attracted several senior civil servants, city mayors, the head of the UK’s Cabinet Office Policy Lab, and the Australian Federal Minister (assisting) for industry, innovation and tertiary education. The Australian government has since used the event format for training and policy development. The 2013 Paris GovJam took place in the office of the Prime Minister of France.

The Miami GovJam offers local government workers and other professionals the opportunity to learn and practice design thinking techniques applicable to government in a hands-on, project-driven workshop. Participants, also known as GovJammers, will work in small teams around a common design theme for the purpose of conceiving, designing, and prototyping a new public service that is responsive and user-friendly. Jammers will publish short videos of their prototypes on the Global GovJam website under a Creative Commons license to widely share their projects.

Design thinking is a method of creative problem solving that focuses on creating innovative solutions that are user-friendly, efficient, and responsive to people’s real needs. This approach has gained significant traction in the private, public, and education sectors in the last decade. The government in the United Kingdom routinely uses design thinking for problem-solving, and Australia's Taxation Office, their equivalent to the IRS, has successfully employed design thinking to maker their services more accessible and user-friendly for its constituents. Several U.S. Federal Government agencies have begun to incorporate design thinking in their work in the past five years, including the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, FEMA, and Veterans Affairs.

Far from being a novelty, organizations that are serious about employing design thinking at the core of their operations show substantial positive results. The Design Management Institute, with funding from Microsoft, is tracking the performance of U.S. companies that employ design thinking at the core of their business strategy. Results show that companies like Apple, Target, IBM, Coca-Cola and other design-centric companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by as much as 219% in the last 10 years.   

Employing design thinking practices in local government in Miami could yield tangible results in terms of cost reduction, increased customer satisfaction and revenues. The Miami GovJam will offer Miamians a chance to get connected with a global community, learn design thinking tools and methods, build their creative confidence, network with colleagues from other governments and agencies, and sharpen their ability to innovate and make a measurable difference in the public sector.  

The Miami GovJam volunteer hosts are Siggi Bachmann, Creative Director of the New World Symphony, Vassoula Vassiliou, branding consultant and President of the AIGA, and Ezequiel Williams, co-founder and Chief Insights Officer of Contexto, a service design and innovation consultancy.

The Miami GovJam starts at 8:00 AM on June 10th at the Wynwood Warehouse Project. To learn more about or register for the event, visit www.miamigovjam.com or follow it on Twitter @MiamiJams #GGovJam.

Ezequiel Williams is an entrepreneur, business designer, and co-founder of Contexto. You can connect with him on Twitter @ContextoTweets.

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L.A. GovJammers testing prototypes with citizens on the street. Photo courtesy of Global GovJam

 

June 06, 2015

Fla. CFO Atwater, other government leaders join #HackforChange

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 Florida CFO Jeff Atwater talks with developers and designers at the LAB Miami.

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater spent his Saturday morning with a Miami coworking space full of young hackers. “I'm normally in a coat and tie -- this is dress down day for me -– but I see I have something to learn,” he joked.

The occasion was #HackforChange, part of the National Day of Civic Hacking in which technologists, designers, entrepreneurs and  nonprofit and government leaders come together to hack technological solutions to community problems by using using open government data. South Florida’s event at The LAB Miami in Wynwood, put on by Code for Miami, attracted about 100 participants. Also onhand were Mike Sarasti, program manager with Miami-Dade County, and Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso.  Miami-Dade County also recently partnered with Code for America, and a trio of fellows is working on civic projects for a year.

Hackers with two all-volunteer groups, Code for Miami and Code for Fort Lauderdale, meet about one evening a week to work on civic projects, such as an inexpensive bus traffic application that was developed recently. For this full day event, teams were working on challenges such as climate change, transportation and disaster relief -– all hot-button issues in Miami. They will likely continue working on their projects in the weekly gatherings.

But the state challenge put forth by Atwater on Saturday was the first time state data has been used in a hacking challenge. Six years of state vendor payment data was made available to civic hackers to come up with solutions on how to best use the data to result in improved services. "Imagine if we could turn loose on the state of Florida an understanding of how this all works?," Atwater said in opening remarks to the event participants. "You are going to give us a chance to open a new window to get better at what we do, to service Floridians better, to make us better."

Atwater explained that $50  billion of the $80 billion state budget goes to vendors to provide services  and it would be useful to have a better way to read and understand the vendor payment data in order to help a variety of constituencies, including the press, determine whether the public’s money is being used optimally.

 “The data will help present the questions that need to be asked,” Atwater explained to a group of hackers who were brainstorming solutions. "There will be no place to hide."

The hackers will work on the their challenges all day and then present them to the group in the early evening. Organizations in  Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville as well as around the nation are also working on challenges. Unlike other hackathons, there are no prizes, no winners. "We are about collaboratiion, not competition," said Code for Miami co-captain Cristina Solana.

“You are putting your skills into action to help your neighbors and that means a lot,” Code for Miami co-captain Rebekah Monson told the crowd to kick off #HackforChange. “You want Miami to change, you want Florida to change, … and you are the people make it happen.”

After the event, Solana said there were two concepts developing using the state vendor data that would help visualize department spending. Other concepts included an application for mapping chemicals in water, another for helping you find a safe place during a natural disaster via text or online, and several ideas aimed at improving mass-transit usage or efficiency.
  • Codeformiami

 Another group at The LAB Miami brainstorms disaster relief applications. Photos by Nancy Dahlberg

May 30, 2015

Code for Miami invites you to #HackforChange on Saturday

 Code for Miami's #HackforChange event is coming Saturday, June 6, to The LAB Miami.

The event is set to coincide with National Day of Civic Hacking, a nationwide event aimed toward improving our communities and our governments.

The event will have data and hackathon challenges focusing on four core areas: Transportation, Disaster Preparation and Relief, Climate Change, and the Florida State Budget:

  • * National challenges including new data on climate change and the environment, local civil services, and much more.
  • * Our first-ever state challenge with civic hackers in cities throughout Florida to create visualizations and apps using Vendor Payment Data from CFO Jeff Atwater's office.
  • * Local challenges using county 311 and GIS open data, prioritizing data sets we would like to get opened in Miami, and drafting your ideas for an Open Data Policy.

Code for Miami  is expecting a group filled with writers, policy makers, developers, government folks, journalists and even Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater. Coding isn’t required, you only need to want to make Miami better.

Learn more about the challenges at: http://codeformiami.org/events/national-day-of-civic-hacking-2015

May 21, 2015

Global Impact Competition for sea-level rise: And the winners are...

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Photo by Mario Cruz

Ana C. Benatuil and Carlos Tamayo are pictured with the Knight Foundation Miami program director Matt Haggman after winning the Global Impact Competition.

With the clock ticking, Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, a teaching organization and accelerator, launched a Global Impact Competition in Miami calling on innovators to find solutions for South Florida’s sea-level rise by using technology. According to research by the University of Miami’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, sea-level rise has been accelerating. If the rate of sea rise over the last five years holds steady for the next 50 years -- and indications are it could rise faster -- high tide levels in Miami would go up over five feet, leading to high risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion. "The Miami metropolitan region has the greatest amount of exposed financial assets and 4th-largest population vulnerable to sea-level rise in the world," the research said.

Last week, eight finalists were invited to pitch their concepts to judges, and two of them received full tuition to Singularity University’s 10-week Graduate Studies Program in Mountain View, Calif., this summer where they will work in teams with participants from around the world to develop their concepts. The contest was supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Ana C. Benatuil, a graduate of FIU and now an architectural designer at Zyscovich Architects, believes sea level rise in South Florida needs to be addressed in an urban master plan. Her “Cut Fill City” proposes strategies at three different scales –regional, city and building scale – allowing for different municipalities and entities to implement these ideas according to their needs and capabilities. Benatuil, who began this project as part of her FIU studies and has continued it on her own the past two years, believes that technology plays an important role in creating strategies to deal with Sea Level Rise, from raising awareness to developing building systems that use water as a valued resource for energy generation, conservation and consumption.

“The implementation of Cut Fill City in South Florida could become a prototype to many other coastal cities around the world at risk of sea level rise, improving the lives of millions, if not billions of people,” she said.

 

 See her video here.

Carlos Tamayo, an engineer working on this PhD at FIU, envisions comprehensive assessment and modeling of dike-subsurface barrier systems for adaptation in coastal areas. Providing effective protection against inland and coastal flooding and eliminating or minimizing the effects of groundwater flow and piping are the main goals, he said. In addition to sea level rise and saltwater intrusion protection, his system is intended to provide effective protection against surge overflow and inland/coastal flooding by eliminating or minimizing the effects of groundwater flow through Miami’s limestone aquifer.

One of the beauties of events like this, beyond the obvious benefits to the winners, is bringing together like-minded people. It was interesting to see the finalists talking with one another at the breaks, discussing how they could partner up on various projects or recommending connections or research they have read. Tina Cornely of Bridging Humanity, one of the eight finalists, had some advice for Benatuil: Get your presentation in front of the sea-level rise boards of the county and cities, she said. "They need to see this and if you need some help getting in the door  I will help you."

 

 

May 02, 2015

Meetup to kick off Small Business Week with social entrepreneurship discussion

Kicking off in Miami on Monday during National Small Business Week, Dell and Northside Media will be hosting a series of Small Business Innovation Meet-ups to explore the business and market needs faced by entrepreneurs and growing businesses today and how the right technologies can serve as a secret weapon for success and growth. 

Here is the event in Miami:

Monday, May 4 from 6:30-9:00pm, the Miami event will focus on the value of social entrepreneurship. Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, the CEO of the social-impact accelerator, Radical Partners, will be leading a panel discussion with Miami's forward-thinking entrepreneurs and thought leaders where they'll explore the role of technology in creating a sustainable, global community.

 Monday, May 4th, 6:30pm-9:00pm

342 NW 24th Street

RSVP here

Schedule:

6:30 - 7:00pm Grab a beer and mingle

7:00 - 8:00pm Lightning talks and panel

8:00 - 9:30pm Free beer and food

Speakers:

  • ·         Rebecca Fishman Lipsey | Founder & CEO of Radical Partners
  • ·         Michael Hall I Co-founder & CEO of Digital Grass
  • ·         Adele Bagley I Chief of Engagement for Miami-Dade County
  • ·         Stonly Baptiste I Co-founder of Urban.US
  • ·         Kane Sarhan I Co-founder of Enstitute
  • ·         Michelle Dow-Okomo I Founder & Chief Story-Teller ofSocial Swag