Photo (cc) Creative Commons License 2012 by Aerostylaz on DeviantArt.com
A wise man once said that you need two things to create a successful technology hub: rich people and nerds.
South Florida has both and, according to recent articles published by the Miami Herald and the Miami Today, the two groups are starting to connect and catalyze the local startup scene. Cementing those connections, and drawing on wider community assets, is essential to creating the robust entrepreneurial ecosystem where tech startups can thrive. Knight Foundation is nurturing Miami’s start-up culture by investing in the spaces and events where innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and academics can collide and connect with the broader community. The goal of the initiative is to make Miami a place where ideas are built. “We need more co-working space, places for meetings and learning opportunities, because we are very scattered in Miami,” Knight Miami Program Director Matt Haggman told Miami Today, adding that more opportunities for convening with other entrepreneurs, such as hackathons, panels, talks, demo days and meet-ups would create a greater sense of community. Support of start-up culture marks a broadening of Knight’s strategic focus beyond its successful Arts program, which concentrates on making art accessible to the public to strengthen their attachment to the community. The National YoungArts Foundation recently announced it will move its headquarters to Miami, further suggesting that the rich culture in the city is making it easier to attract and keep talent. A thriving startup culture will give people more possibilities to shape their community’s future. Reports have emphasised the opportunity for Miami to tap into community assets like its improving university system, urbanized core, its mobile and international demographic, and significant concentration of wealth. Earlier this week, the Miami Herald featured a new accelerator program that has gained momentum as a result of Knight and community support: “The nonprofit Enterprise Development Corporation, under new leadership, recently expanded its incubator in Boca Raton and is at work on an incubator at Broward College,” the Miami Herald reported this week. “The University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park is gaining traction as a community hub for tech and the sciences, with co-working space, shared lab space, new restaurants and frequent events, in addition to a growing number of technology tenants that call it home.” By Jenna Buehler, executive assistant/Communications at Knight Foundation