MC² Youth Tech Summit to kick off new Miami Caribbean Code initiatives to connect and propel Caribbean and black entrepreneurs

Press Release

April 21, 2015

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Knight Foundation invests $75,000 to support effort to engage diverse communities in Miami’s tech growth

MIAMI — April 21, 2015 — Miami Caribbean Code, a platform that provides education and resources to support the work of local Caribbean and black tech entrepreneurs, is hosting its first MC² Youth Tech Summit on April 25. Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and led by EP Enterprises, the event will kick off a plan to create a series of new initiatives to engage Miami’s Caribbean community and the region in the growth of the city’s innovation ecosystem.

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"Miami Caribbean Code powers STEAM with inaugural MC² Youth Tech Summit" by Eveline Pierre on Knight Blog

The Youth Tech Summit will bring together more than 275 local students of Caribbean origin to learn about exciting opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Throughout the day, students will get hands-on experience through interactive breakout sessions, including demonstrations of drone flights, presentations about Global Positioning System technology, and experiments with 3-D printing.

“Educating youth about developments in technology, sciences and engineering is more than teaching them facts,” said Eveline Pierre, co-founder of Miami Caribbean Code. “It’s a powerful engine for change, growth and compelling opportunities. We want to engage our local Caribbean youth to think big and empower them to soar in our new economy.”

“Miami’s Caribbean and black community continues to make key contributions to the growth of our city’s innovation culture—but more resources are needed to both showcase their work and generate more interest among youth, who can add to our growing pool of talent in the tech arena,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation, which is helping build a broad-based startup ecosystem in South Florida. “Miami Caribbean Code is helping to fill this important gap and ensuring that Miami’s idea pipeline reflects the diversity of its people.”

At the MC² Youth Tech Summit, keynote speaker Teneka Steed, Ph.D., a social research scientist who trained and worked at NASA, will start the day with an engaging talk about empowerment in the field of technology. Barrington Irving, the first black Afro-Caribbean pilot to fly solo around the globe, will close the event with a presentation about entrepreneurship and opportunities in the Caribbean.

In addition to tech demonstrations and other educational programing, students will explore careers in botany, including genetics, bioengineering and conservation. The U.S. Southern Command will demonstrate military technological systems and tools, and the Florida Digital Alliance will offer basic coding for gaming, among other interactive workshops.

The event marks the launch of a Miami Caribbean Code plan to add new programs, including a second fall conference that will support the efforts of Caribbean and black entrepreneurs, and better connect them to Miami’s larger innovation and tech community.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, Florida had the largest number of resident Caribbean immigrants in 2009, with 40 percent of the total Caribbean-born population in the United States. In addition, children in Caribbean immigrant families living in the U.S. accounted for 7.8 percent of all children living in immigrant communities. Miami Caribbean Code believes that engaging these young people in Miami’s growing tech movement can have positive impact on the economy and support the growth of a new generation of talented workers in Miami.

Support for MC² Youth Tech Summit forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past two years Knight has made more than 100 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida. 

The MC² Youth Tech Summit will take place at the iTech Academy @ Thomas A. Edison Educational Center on April 25 from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Press looking to attend the MC² Youth Tech Summit can learn more about it at miamicaribbeancode.com or email [email protected].

About Miami Caribbean Code

Miami Caribbean Code champions the idea that the Caribbean and Miami should be cross-regional partners, and that the technology sector is the best creator of innovation and wealth. One of MC²’s goals is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in the Caribbean community, and to open doors to the great opportunities that the tech sector can provide. For more, visit miamicaribbeancode.com.

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. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

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CONTACTS:

Celine Hakoun, media contact, Miami Caribbean Code, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]