August 26, 2016

Radical Partners' social impact accelerator reveals next cohort of changemakers

Bootcampers

Greetings from Cohort 2 of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp

 

By Rebecca Fishman Lipsey

Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, co-hosted by Radical Partners and AkermanIN, is excited to announce the innovators who have been accepted into Cohort 3.  

Amy Renshaw, Co-founder and Executive Director of CodeArt, an organization focused on increasing gender diversity in tech by highlighting the creative side of coding.

Brandon Okpalobi Founder of DIBIA, a sports development program that fosters excellence and success in life through sports and recreational training and DIBIA Dream, which brings their programming to underserved youth.   

Felecia Hatcher, Serial entrepreneur, Co-founder of Code Fever, an organization that teaches minority students ages 13-21 how to code, and Black Tech Week, a massive national conference focused on increasing racial diversity in the tech sector.

Isabella Acker, Founder and President of Prism Creative Group, focusing on strengthening Miami through the production of powerful local events, locally-conscious storytelling, and compelling content.  

Lauren Reskin, Co-Founder, President & CEO of Sweat Records, a world-class independent music store, event space, and a portal through which to discover Miami's music and cultural scenes.

Leigh-Ann Buchanan, Executive Director of Venture Cafe, a local hub focused on strengthening Miami’s local innovation sector.  They host massive weekly networking and educational events and offer support for entrepreneurs, investors, students, and innovation and educational organizations.

Michel Hausmann, Founding Producing Artistic Director of Miami New Drama, a presenting and producing organization committed to theatrical excellence and theater-making as a means of social engagement, cultural conversation and human interaction.

Pioneer Winter, Founder and Executive Director of Pioneer Winter Collective, an innovative arts organization that uses dance as an anchor for social change, development, and community engagement by providing a platform for risk-taking, progressive, and experimental arts initiatives.

Rob Biskupic-Knight, Executive Director of Engage Miami, focused on building a powerful youth voting bloc in Miami-Dade County.

Sheila Womble, Executive Director of Arts For Learning, an organization focused on making the arts a central component of every child's education. Their programs are delivered at preschools, schools and out-of-school locations throughout Miami-Dade County

Valencia Gunder, Founder and Executive Director of Make the Homeless Smile, which heals disenfranchised communities by treating them with dignity, providing them with access, and empowering them knowledge.

These innovators join two groups of alumni who are deeply committed to strengthening Miami, addressing issues from sea level rise to human trafficking.  Bootcamp kicks off  in September, hosted at Akerman’s offices in Brickell City Center.  Scholarships for Bootcamp were made available with the help of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center For Social Change, and others.

More information on Radical Partners and its bootcamp:   http://www.radical.partners/

Bootcampers2

Members of Cohort 1 of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp participating in a team-building exercise.

 

August 06, 2016

Fourth Estate launches journalism startup hosting program

The Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation  announced a program aimed to provide news and journalism startups with no-cost media hardened web hosting.

The JournSpark™ program was started as an an unofficial internal initiative where the Fourth Estate provides free web hosting for selected at-risk public interest news sites and several university faculty for their classroom journalism projects.  The program has now grown into a official journalism incubation program offered by the Fourth Estate in support of its public benefit mission.

“It is imperative that entrepreneurs that are involved in startups that are committing public service journalism be given the runway that they need to gain a market foothold,”  Jeff Brown, founder and CEO said. “JournSpark is a no-brainer for a entrepreneurs in the media and journalism space that are just getting started and don’t have a traction yet. It [the program] provides full featured, enterprise class hosting that is journalism hardened, all at no cost to the startup.” 

The JournSpark™ program was developed with the company’s web hosting division, Scoop.Host, to provide premium hosting services and technology at no cost for one year to qualified journalism startups. TheJournSpark™ Startup Program allows journalists and media entrepreneurs a full suite of services, at no cost during their initial startup phases..

How to Apply:

To apply for the program please visit www.JournSpark.com

The program Includes:

  • No cost for qualifying journalism startups.
  • An complete enterprise-ready web hosting solution including 150 GB of data storage and unlimited data transfer.
  • World-class web hosting technical support from Scoop.Host.
  • DDoS attack protection using CloudFlare’s Project Galileo.

Qualifying Startups:

To qualify for the program a participant must be a legally registered business, engage in original news gathering, act in the public interest (broadly defined), be a small commercial entity or a not-for-profit organization or official college/university program, be less than 3 years old, privately held, and earn less than $1M annually.

Getting Started:

  • Go to JournSpark.com
  • Complete the online applications to apply to the program.

June 29, 2016

Code for Fort Lauderdale to host civic hackathon July 23

By Code For Fort Lauderdale

Code for Fort Lauderdale, a local civic technology group, along with coding bootcamp Wyncode, are proud to host the Fort Lauderdale Civic Hackathon (#FTLCivicHackathon) Saturday, July 23, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Axis Coworking Space in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This event is the first locally organized civic hackathon open to developers, designers, urban planners, and creatives of all types (technical and non-technical).

“We want to create an opportunity for new ideas and collaborations to emerge,” said Rob Davis, Code for Fort Lauderdale co-organizer. “Civic Hackathons are a great way for citizens to get hands-on with civic information and meet others who share the same passion for programming and volunteering.”

Participants are tasked with pitching an idea, forming a team, and attempting to build a prototype to present at the conclusion of the event. Key Challenge themes include Transportation, Water & Outdoor Recreation, Upcycling/Recycling, Non-Profits and Open Challenge.

The City of Fort Lauderdale is a proud supporter, providing not only key open data sets instrumental in addressing these challenges, but also food, drinks, and snacks to keep teams fed and energized.

Kevin Keimel, Applications Manager for the City of Fort Lauderdale and a judge for the event added, “While this is our first involvement in a local technology event, we’re excited to see what the local community can do.”

A team of local technology leaders will act as judges and will critique final presentations on Saturday evening. Related prizes will be unveiled during the opening kick-off at 8:30 a.m.

An exciting element of the event will be the presentation of practical problems from local non-profit organizations that participants will have the opportunity to tackle. Sea Turtle Oversight Protection and The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society are just two of the participating non-profits.

At the recent National Day of Civic Hacking, hosted by Code for Miami, demonstrated projects included a data visualization using White House Promised Zones data, a Facebook Chat Bot whose goal is to make it easier starting a business in Miami, and a website for affordable housing information.

“We expect to see that same ingenuity at Fort Lauderdale’s Civic Hackathon,” Rob Davis added.

Eager Civic Hackers can register at http://FTLCivicHackathon or http://ftlcivichackathon.eventbrite.com (one per guest).

Sponsorship opportunities are available at http://ftlcivichackathon.com.

EVENT DETAILS

Fort Lauderdale Civic Hackathon

Date: Saturday, July 23, 2016

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Location: Axis Space Coworking, 333 Las Olas Way CU 1, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Registration: http://ftlcivichackathon.eventbrite.com

Web: http://ftlcivichackathon.com

June 06, 2016

Startup Spotlight: Modern ŌM, created mindfully

Modernom1

Company: Modern ŌM

Headquarters: Miami and Asheville, N.C.

Concept: Modern ŌM is a lifestyle brand that uses color to infuse the seven chakra-based intentions into its products. “We bring mindfulness into people’s everyday lives through design,” said Myk Likhov, founder and CEO.

Story: Modern ŌM is a family business built on a shared passion for mindfulness. It’s not the founder’s first business. In 2007, after earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Likhov founded the successful Green Monkey yoga brand at age 26. After exiting Green Monkey, he worked in consumer tech in New York City, then returned to Miami in 2014 and began working on Modern ŌM". His parents joined him in this venture with their collective 50-year background in international manufacturing and distribution.

The idea behind Modern ŌM" was to build a lifestyle product brand for people who are mindful, or spiritual in intent. “We’re creating everyday objects that people can use as reminders of how they want to live,” Likhov said. “No one is doing anything like that — and the opportunity is significant.”

Based on the color heritage of the more than 3,000-year-old chakras, Modern ŌM’s affordably priced products are infused with the meaning of seven chakra-based intentions. These ever-present cues of mindfulness are woven through Modern ŌM’s products, which include: accessories such as malas, men’s and women’s apparel, iPhone cases and sustainable beverage totes, candles and stationary. Modernom.co allows you to shop by intention — for example, Vitality, red, the energy that springs from living in balance, or Connection, violet, the joy of being present in the now — making it easy to find items containing the energy you seek.

Modern ŌM products are also carried locally at Exhale Spa South Beach and Cowshed at Soho Beach House and through the Spring app.

Modernom2

Website: www.modernom.co

Launched: Jan. 1, 2016; soft launched in October 2015.

Management team: Co-founders Myk Likhov, CEO; Marina Likhov, Chief of Product; Steven Wenig, COO.


Modernom3Financing:
$250,000 self-funding invested to date with an angel round opened this May. Seeking to raise $500,000.

Recent milestones reached: Produced the company’s first apparel line from concept to sales in high-end Italian factories. YogaWorks and Exhale, two of the largest national wellness studio brands, now retail Modern ŌM. In April, the company launched The 7, an underground meditation studio in Miami, and taught 150 students in the first month of operations.

Biggest startup challenge: “We are building a company that embodies a lifestyle, which is a much grander vision than simply making products. The biggest challenge is consumer education. Once people understand how meaning is infused into our design principles, and how having reminders of their intentions can improve the quality of their lives, they love it,” said Likhov.

Next step: To create a direct relationship with 10,000 customers. “Building awareness is a challenge for a new company. It requires creativity, passion and pursuit of a larger purpose,” Likhov said. “That’s why our strategy is all about delivering tremendous value in alignment with our mission.”

Strategies for next steps: Build The 7, an underground meditation studio, into a recognizable mindfulness resource for the Miami community by providing an immersive meditation experience, where people can recognize the value that" this lifestyle delivers to them and become evangelists/customers.

Last week, the company launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to bring meditation into the prison system. The goal of this project, which continues through June 30, is to fund meditation lessons for 1,000 inmates. To accomplish this, it has created a limited edition mala (bracelet) for $29. For every one mala sold, Modern ŌM commits to funding for one inmate to learn how to meditate. “Through impact, we also build relationships with meaning-driven consumers,” said Likhov.

Oct. 22-23, the company will hold Miami’s first mindfulness festival — 7 Life — at Sacred Space, with activities, speakers, meditation classes and a party.

- Nancy Dahlberg

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter. Photos of Likhov are by Jose Iglesias/Miami Herald 

Read more Startup Spotlights under the Startup Spotlight category of this blog.

June 03, 2016

White House chief data scientist to address Miami's National Day of Civic Hacking on Saturday

This just in: Dhanurjay 'DJ' Patil, the White House Deputy CTO for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist, will give closing remarks at Saturday's Miami National Day of Civic Hacking 2016 #hackforchange.

DjAbout him: Patil joined the White House following an incredible career as a data scientist — a term he helped coin — in the public and private sectors, and in academia. Most recently, he served as the Vice President of Product at RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce. He also previously held positions at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, Skype, PayPal, and eBay. Prior to his work in the private sector, Patil worked at the Department of Defense, where he directed new efforts to bridge computational and social sciences in fields like social network analysis to help anticipate emerging threats to the United States.

He'll be giving his remarks at the end of the day and is flying into Miami specifically for this event. Read more about participating in Saturday's s Miami National Day of Civic Hacking 2016 here.

April 30, 2016

Zumba: What the global fitness brand can teach Miami tech

TextEditor

Zumba filer

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

It doesn’t get more Miami than the story of Zumba.

Perlman mug (1)Alberto Perlman, who appeared at The LAB Miami for the monthly  "Brainfood" series, is co-founder and CEO of Zumba Fitness, the largest branded fitness program in the world. He shared war stories and lessons learned.

Zumba dance fitness classes attract more than 15 million weekly participants in 200,000 locations in more than 180 countries. The brand also includes music, clothing, DVDs, video games, a charity platform and most recently its first food product.

Perlman oversees day-to-day operations, manages brand and product development, and negotiates partnerships with fitness clubs and organizations around the world. The Hallandale Beach-based company has about 220 employees and a development team of about 30. He co-founded the company with two other Albertos from Colombia, Alberto Aghion and Alberto “Beto” Pérez.

But Zumba used none of the traditional methods to grow. It hasn’t acquired any companies. Except for accepting one private equity investment, it hasn’t raised financing. Instead it was at the right place at the right time with the right idea, amid a confluence of healthy living trends, a resurgence of interest in all things Latin, and a fresh business model that relied on harnessing the passion of Zumba instructors to build the business. Today, they lead more than half a million classes every week. What’s the secret to building a worldwide movement? “You start with heart,” Perlman said at the discussion led by entrepreneur Marco Giberti on Thursday night.

Perlman said Zumba has been testing live streaming and virtual reality, and looks forward to testing augmented reality, but he told the tech audience that the live experience will always be the center of all Zumba does.

“The live experience is never going to be replaced. Face-to-face is never going away. Everything we do is to drive people to the classes.”

Not that there weren’t low points. One of them was in the downturn of 2008, when the team was running low on money and bracing for the worst. But 2008 was also an inflection point for the company because they realized that despite the recession, people were flocking to the classes to de-stress and have fun. The instructor ranks swelled also, as a means of employment in tough times. “We were there and the people found us.”

Since then, apparel has become a very big business for Zumba, which like all its products are co-created with the instructor network. Last year Zumba sold 4 million units, 90 percent of which are sold through the website, he said.

Zumba possibly would consider developing another fitness brand if it was the right fit (he said he didn’t see CrossFit coming), but it’s not a priority, Perlman said. “The Zumba brand keeps us very busy,” he said, and there is still innovation to do. For instance, in the last few years its charity platform, Zumbathon, has taken off, raising about $5.7 million. Its Zumba Stories website is packed with personal, life-changing stories. And the company this year introduced its first food product, Zumba Shake Shake Shake, a super healthy plant-based protein drink.

He said finding talent has been difficult in Miami, but he also believes that if he had started Zumba in New York or Los Angeles, it may not have gotten off the ground. Being under the radar and not having intense local competition has its advantages when you are building a company.

Perlman’s advice to entrepreneurs: “Focus on your product and customers — don’t spend all your time raising money. Customer-centric companies win.”

And perhaps he should have also added: “Listen to your mother.” She had a very instrumental part in the Zumba story, encouraging him to meet with her dance-fitness instructor, “Beto,” the accidental entrepreneur who invented the Zumba dance concept and became his co-founder. "Maybe you can start a gym together," she said then.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg

 

 

March 29, 2016

Meet Nelly Farra, new leader of WIN Lab set to launch in Miami

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Wanted: South Florida women “with the fire to make it happen.”

Nelly farraThat’s Nelly Farra’s message. She’s the new director of the WIN Lab, a Miami accelerator for women entrepreneurs launching on Thursday. With the launch, the program plans to begin taking applications for its first cohort of 20 selected female founders that will start this fall.

The eight-month entrepreneurship program was the brainchild of Babson College, consistently ranked tops in the nation for entrepreneurship education, and its Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership. Its Miami expansion, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will be modeled after Babson’s successful program in Boston.

The WIN (Women Innovating Now) Lab is looking for outstanding early-stage founders — so-called WINners — from South Florida.

 “We are industry-agnostic and age-agnostic. We are looking for women who might have come out of wonderful corporate jobs and now are starting their own businesses as well as individuals earlier on in their careers who have that idea and are going for it,” Farra said.

Farra, born and raised in South Florida, most recently led business development for the Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra (MBAF) accounting firm, where she expanded the firm’s reach into the entrepreneurial ecosystem through its work with Endeavor. Before joining MBAF, Farra partnered on the launch of a green-gym concept in the Los Angeles area and also pioneered wellness professional talent management in South Florida. Farra is a graduate of the University of Miami and received her MBA from Babson College in 2010, where she was also co-chair of the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum.

“Our secret sauce is a developing community of women eager to build the next big idea,” said Farra, noting that just 15 percent of venture accelerator participants are women. That low level of diversity also pervades venture capital, the tech industry, CEO ranks and boards. To help build a stronger pipeline, Farra said: “We use near-peer role modeling so we have women who have been there and done that. We’ll have 20 female mentors matched up with the founders. We will also have entrepreneurs, executives and investors in residence.” Johanna Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode Academy, will be an entrepreneur-in-residence, and others will be announced soon. The program will be free, and WINners will also get co-working space.

The program will meet one evening a week. It will begin with a two-day retreat for self exploration, idea investigation, inspiration and community building, Farra said. Then the WINners will get help in every step of launching and growing a business, including building a team, customer acquisition, capital raising and scaling.

The program is more spread out than a traditional three-month accelerator, so women may find it easier to work into their lives while their build their startups. They could also be students.

In Boston the WIN Lab has attracted founders such as Emily Levy and Maria Del Mar Gomes of PICCPerfect, maker of functional and fashionable medical dressings for chronic illness patients treated with PICC lines. Francine Gervazio of Cargo 42 created a platform where customers can post their shipping needs and shippers can make an offer to carry their cargo. Bernette Dawson launched Made Organics, a line of handcrafted personal-care products.

“We will expect a lot from our founders — an eight-month commitment — but we provide a lot in return,” Farra said.

The program embodies entrepreneurial thought and action — part of Babson’s methodology — to balance action, experimentation and creativity to create economic and social value. “That is what we are all about,” Farra said. “The concept is to take iterative steps to prove your model. That’s how I embody it: Everything I do is to go out and get it done.”

The deadline for applications will be May 2. For more information about the WIN Lab, go to www.babson.edu/WINLab and learn more about the program at the launch event on Thursday. (See accompanying box).

WIN Lab Miami Launch

When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Light Box, 404 NW 26th St., Miami

Speakers: Mary Biggins of ClassPass and MealPass; Julia Ford-Carther of Bammies; Jessica Do of PalmPress; Isabella Acker of Culture; Johanna Mikkola of Wyncode Academy

Cost: Free, but registration is required on Eventbrite.

For more information about WIN Lab: www.babson.edu/WINLab

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

Read more: Babson's Women Innovating Now Lab to launch in Miami

Read more: Numbers don't lie: Silicon Valley still has a diversity problem

 

March 01, 2016

Got a great idea for transit & mobility? We need it! Here's your chance

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Traffic: It has to be one of Miami's top challenges, and an economic one too. I know that I spent almost an hour more of my workday than I needed to getting to and from an assignment yesterday in the middle of the day and my 12-mile commute home took 45 minutes. So here's an opportunity to have your ideas heard.
 
All are invited to contribute ideas to improve transit and mobility in Miami as part of a weeklong 100 Great Ideas campaign. It's easy to join in on Facebook here, or on Twitter with the hashtag #100greatideas. The ideas will be synthesized into a report and shared with public officials and community leaders.  Ten idea-sharers will be invited to a conversation with local decision makers.
 
Previous social media campaigns started by Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey of Radical Partners, a social innovation accelerator, looked for ideas to improve libraries and the airport and netted hundreds of ideas. In just a couple of days, this one has already gained considerable steam out of the gate and already looks like it will be the most fruitful one yet. Ideas include ways to improve the city's walkability and accessibility, incentivizing the use of public transit with perks from your workplace and prevalent wifi en-route and improving GPS tracking of buses and trolleys through apps.    
 
The New Tropic rounded up some of its favorites thus far: See them here.

February 29, 2016

Miami Tech prepares to Hack for Good this weekend to solve some of city’s toughest challenges (and you’re invited!)

Submitted By Refresh Miami

HackforgoodThree of Miami’s most prominent tech organizations are setting out to make an impact on their community. Tech and entrepreneurship organization Refresh Miami, Florida’s top code school Wyncode Academy, and Code for America brigade Code for Miami have joined forces to organize the first annual Hack-For-Good hackathon, taking place March 4th to 6th at The LAB Miami in Wynwood. The purpose of the event is to pair local nonprofits and charities with the city’s top “hackers” (programmers, designers, creators and business leaders) to build solutions to their toughest challenges through the use of technology.

Over forty Miami charities submitted applications, which were narrowed down to just five finalists.

The selected nonprofits include:

  • Make the Homeless Smile Miami, which aims to heal disenfranchised communities by treating them with dignity, empowering them with knowledge and providing them with access.
  • Apretaste, whose mission is to connect underdeveloped countries to the web free of charge and open them up to a whole world of opportunities.
  • Miami Dade Animal Services, which saves the lives of abandoned animals and helps reunite lost pets with their owners.
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a group dedicated to tropical plant diversity and inspiring a greater knowledge and love for plants and gardening.
  • Switchboard, an organization that counsels, connects and empowers people in need through their more than 15 specialty phone lines, which include free and confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide intervention, and more.

The hackathon offers exciting cash and prizes for the top three projects created over the weekend that best solve the issues presented by the charities. The event’s headline sponsor is the Knight Foundation with space donated by The LAB Miami. Local companies LiveNinja, OpenEnglish, MadChiller, Lemon City Tea and Concrete Beach will also be onsite providing hackers with some much need fuel and support to keep them going throughout the three-day event.

With Miami’s 2011 distinction as the least civically engaged city in the country by The National Conference on Citizenship still fresh in their minds, the organizers hope this initiative will remove some of this stigma associated with the Magic City. “This event is all about building real tools that help local nonprofits make an even bigger impact on the lives of Miami residents”, said Maria Derchi Russo, Director of Operations for Refresh Miami. “We also hope it will inspire residents to get more actively involved in their community and help make a difference”.

“For Wyncode Academy, we couldn't be more excited about helping Miami’s charities solve their problems using technology and are expecting a huge number of our students, alumni and hiring partners to take part” Juha Mikkola, Wyncode’s co-founder, said. “Miami has incredible developers who can build the tools that will make a real impact to these organizations right away, and we hope that this hackathon will also promote more people to take the leap and learn to code when they see what’s possible”.

Danielle Ungermann, community and events coordinator for Code for Miami, adds “We’re pleased to see how far South Florida has come in pushing forward and supporting civic initiatives like the Miami-Dade open data portal, which launched during last year’s CodeAcross event. We only hope that this weekend’s community-wide collaboration will continue to grow and extend outside of this event to show just how much can be achieved through the cross pollination of different communities and industries.”

Participation in the event is free and those interested can register here.

Wyncode Academy is Florida’s top code school, with campuses in Wynwood, FATvillage in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach, teaching coding in a full time and intensive boot camp environment. With 186 graduates, 65 companies that have hired a Wyncoder and a 90% placement rate within 3 months of graduation, Wyncode believes they can teach anyone to code, provided they have the desire to do so.

Refresh Miami is Florida’s largest technology and entrepreneurship organization with over 9,000 members. Their mission is to foster innovation and growth of the tech community through a steady stream of educational content and networking opportunities. Their monthly events draw between 300-400 attendees and cover various topics on emerging trends and how to successfully run and grow a startup.

Code For Miami, a Code for America Brigade, is a group of civic hackers (designers, developers, data scientists, urbanists and community organizers) who contribute their talents toward improving the way the community interacts with local government by advocating for open data and using it to create apps and shared resources. In support of Open Data Day, a gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for the adoption of open data policies by the world's local governments, this event is a Code for America CodeAcross event.

 

February 26, 2016

FIU selected as Ashoka U Changemaker campus

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Miami became the first city to be home to two Ashoka U Changemaker campuses of higher learning on Thursday. Ashoka is the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, and changemaker campuses are recognized as leaders in fostering social entrepreneurial opportunities for its students and community.

Florida International joined the prestigious Ashoka University Changemaker Campus consortium at an Ashoka conference this week in New Orleans. Miami Dade College was selected last August. Other universities and colleges in the 35-member consortium include Arizona State University, Boston College, Brown, Duke, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland

“We’ve long seen our FIU as a solutions center for our community and the world,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “We are excited to be in such great company, contributing to an environment where our students can collaborate with the brightest minds to address the most pressing issues of our time.”

Both South Florida universities went through a rigorous multi-year review process before being designated Changemaker campuses. FIU was lauded for its graduate school requirement that students engage the community while conducting research projects, its student-focused Center for Leadership and Service, and its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship exemplified by its Small Business Development Center and plans for a new incubator, FIU said.

Being a Changemaker campus will bring students and their schools additional resources and global connections for furthering mission-driven projects and ventures.