The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Xavier Gonzalez is executive director of eMerge Americas, the movement behind a technology event hosted by the Technology Foundation of the Americas, that is scheduled for May 1-5 across South Florida. Knight Foundation is a founding funder of the event.
In 2012, Knight Foundation widened its work in Miami to focus on entrepreneurs. eMerge Americas, which was a budding idea from Manuel D. Medina, chairman and CEO of Medina Capital, had a similar hope: to make Miami a center for innovation and technology. In 2014 those overlapping visions assembled a thriving community of entrepreneurs and disruptors at the first eMerge Americas event in May.
Now, Knight and eMerge Americas are embarking on a three-year partnership to grow this vision into a movement that draws international attention to Miami. The 2014 gathering set the bar for what a movement could accomplish: 6,000 attendees, 400 participating companies, 150 speakers, and 115 startups showcased.
The four stages that ran concurrently during two days of eMerge Americas 2014 hosted some of today’s greatest disruptors and thought leaders from a variety of industries. Peter Diamandis, Cedric Dahl, Sue Siegel and Pitbull were just some of the speakers who sparked inspiration among the audience. And our attendees are surely a group worth inspiring. Of the 6,000 attendees, 43 percent were founders, presidents and executive decision-makers. Sixty percent of the attendees came from outside of Florida, including 31 countries.
eMerge Americas 2015 has even grander ambitions. It will be a weeklong celebration of technology and innovation, culminating May 4 and 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. We have 30 confirmed speakers, including three amazing keynotes from Deepak Chopra, Jim McKelvey and Daan Roosegaarde.
To further encourage the tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami, eMerge Americas will include a hackathon and Startup Showcase. The hackathon will be a mind-stimulating and adrenaline-fueled event where hundreds of coders from across the U.S. and Latin America will have 24 hours to tackle complex challenges. While the showcase will feature an impressive lineup of early- and late-stage startups, two companies will walk away with $150,000 in cash and prizes.
eMerge Americas 2015 will also add the Women, Innovation & Technology summit. Scheduled for May 4, the summit will focus on educating and motivating women by showcasing professionals from an array of industries who are transforming the business landscape through tech and innovation.
The 2015 programming will also include the eGOV – Government Innovation Summit. Government officials from around the globe will gather to address the issues and discuss the possibilities for collaborative partnerships. With top government leaders in attendance the summit will focus on how innovative technologies are transforming urban centers and enhancing the lives of citizens everywhere.
The continued success of this movement would not be possible without Knight Foundation, and we look forward to working together over the next three years to help foster talent, technology and innovation in South Florida. At eMerge Americas, we seek to make Miami a viable tech hub for the Americas and shine a light on exemplary people who are helping us reach that goal. Through our efforts with Knight, we can continue to change the face of Miami and make it a dynamic environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.