We asked a sampling of South Florida entrepreneurs, leaders of entrepreneurship organizations, educators, investors and service providers a few questions about developing a tech hub and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of the answers selected have been condensed.
Find more voices of the tech community on Tuesday and Wednesday on the Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business.
What do you think? Add your opinion to the comments section here or on the blog.
What will it take to develop a strong and sustainable tech hub and entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Florida?
The first step in developing a strong and sustainable tech hub in Miami is to build awareness. We need to make sure the efforts and the success stories of Miami’s technology community are well known in order to generate more interest, garner confidence and attract investors. I am teaming up with organizations like Endeavor and Technology Foundation of the Americas along with investors, incubators, entrepreneurs and community leaders to help build the momentum Miami needs. … I can tell you from my experience, Miami has the potential to become an important technology hub and we’re all working hard to make sure it happens.
-- Andres Moreno, Open English founder
First, having a local talent pool of engineers and developers. Those are the folks that are the engine of any tech company. Most students that graduate from computer science and engineering programs from the local institutions leave to find work elsewhere, simply because since the dotcom bubble, there have been very few tech companies in South Florida. The second aspect is convincing the investment community here that tech is a viable option for their investments. Out of the $26.5 billion (3, 698 deals) in 2012, Florida only scored $203 million (34) or 0.8% of the total venture investment in the US. This needs to change. In contrast, Just last week, a New York investment trust bought two South Florida hotels for $31 million, in a single deal!
-- Miguel Alonso, School of Engineering, Miami Dade College
Four things need to coordinate together in one ecosystem: 1) A vibrant education system at both the nniversity and K-12 levels with a strong focus on the STEM disciplines (science, tech, engineering and math); 2) a community of startups generated by that education system and finally feeding this ecosystem with 3) a well-trained and engaged employment base and 4) a developed base of institutional funding.
-- Jaret L. Davis, Co-Managing Shareholder of the Miami Office of Greenberg Traurig
South Florida is blessed to have a strong core of academic institutions, entrepreneurs and investors that create a very rich and expanding innovation ecosystem that is spurring new technologies and business models across a number of industries. ...With that said, I think we still need to continue to find ways to foster stronger bonds among the key stakeholders in the region that will allow us to retain top talent and help fuel both the existing as well as the emerging start-up communities. Organizations and accelerators like ProjectLift and VentureHive are helping to drive these efforts and CareCloud is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them.
-- Albert Santalo, CareCloud founder
We need far more angel capital tranched in smaller increments $50k/$200/$500k (we have far more good deals than capital capacity); We need less money spent on events and more money directly helping finance and advise startups. Over the longer term, we need far more corporations with offices in South Florida so entrepreneurs have a job safety net should their entrepreneurial aspirations fail... Our regional economic development groups need to sell us as a region and enlist some of us current and ex-corporate types to sell South Florida’s big advantages.