Gregory Johnson didn’t wait around for a program. As a senior at Miami Union Academy, he became interested in all things entrepreneurial and began networking at local tech events. That led to an opportunity at Project Lift Miami, the new healthcare-tech accelerator at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park.. He graduated this month and is interning about 30 hours a week, learning as much as he can from the five businesses in the accelerator and helping them with social media strategy and research. Johnson plans to attend Oakwood University in Alabama in the fall, studying finance and marketing. “My career goal is to be a social entrepreneur,” said Johnson, who also interned for the Obama campaign. “I want to learn as much as I can.”
Thanks for the memories
It was a launch week not to be forgotten for DoYouRemember.com, a nostalgia company that recently moved from New York to accelerate at Venture Hive. The company not only went live with its new site and five apps, but it also won the startup presentation competition at Refresh Miami’s Demo Night, taking home the $1,000 prize provided by New Frontier Nomads. Do You Remember is already a team of 20, headquartered at Venture Hive.
Do You Remember is the first social website and series of mobile apps created to bring together people passionate about nostalgia and it does this by connecting them through memories, said its founder Michael Gitter. The site offers news, places to post memories and a highly interactive chat room. Gitter literally wrote the book on nostalgia, several of them in fact — The Do You Remember? series in the 1990s.
Refresh Miami, the largest tech networking group in South Florida, also had a memorable week. The group announced it will expand its programming and services with $150,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Brian Breslin and Peter Martinez, co-directors of the seven-year-old all-volunteer organization that now has about 5,000 members, say they will use the funding to upgrade programming and revamp RefreshMiami.com with more resources for its members. Other plans include co-hosting a multi-university career fair with local startup DemoHire in September.
Linking the Americas
Miami-based startup Inversiones.com, an Angellist or Gust for Latin Americans, launched only six months ago but already has 6,000 members. With no marketing except on its Facebook page, the social site for connecting entrepreneurs and investors in Latin America and U.S. Hispanic communities recently launched a business plan competition with a $5,000 cash prize.
In less than four weeks, Inversiones received 150 entries from 12 countries, said Inversiones.com’s founder, Michael Konig. The entries were narrowed down to five finalists, including Elebev from Miami, and today Inversiones announced its winner: Vientos de Energia from Colombia. Meaning ’Winds of Energy,’ the plan was presented by a consortium of university professors who propose to use new technologies to bring energy solutions to indigenous and rural areas of Colombia and other Latin American countries. The plan offers an innovative approach to funding and profitability through public and private partnerships.
Read more about South Florida startups on The Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business and follow me on Twitter@ndahlberg.