Miami Herald: Knight Foundation to focus on building entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami

The foundation will make grants in six key areas of need in South Florida’s entrepreneurial community

By Nancy Dahlberg, The Miami Herald 

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is adding a major new focus to its philanthropic efforts in Miami: entrepreneurship.

“Our mission will be to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and connect it to the broader community,” Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the foundation, said on Tuesday.

When the foundation looked at places where it could make an impact, entrepreneurship seemed like a natural area. A decade ago that would not be the case, but recent advances by South Florida’s universities and the urbanization of Miami’s core now make South Florida more attractive to entrepreneurs. Yet, while Miami’s startup community is developing, it’s still fragmented.

“There is a ‘there’ there,” Haggman said, “We can help foster the sense that Miami is a place where ideas are built.”

While the initiative is still in its infancy, the foundation plans to make grants in six areas: space (places for entrepreneurs such as co-working areas and accelerators); mentorship and training; regular gatherings; annual gatherings or signature events (similar to Art Basel’s role in the arts community); communications (such as getting the entrepreneurial success stories out); and funding, which continues to be a major challenge for South Florida entrepreneurs. This could include funding for organizations, major conferences or events, contests and other initiatives to foster innovation, Haggman said, stressing that no decisions have been made.



About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit