So what is eMerge?
When Manny Medina, the founder of Terremark, started the Technology Foundation of the Americas, his objective was to make the South Florida region centered in Miami a world-class technology hub, bringing high-paying jobs, investment, and broad economic and cultural benefits to the region. He realized that to achieve that goal would require an effort involving many leaders and organizations in the region, and it would have to be a long-term effort. In short, he needed to start a movement.
That movement is eMerge Americas, and eMerge Americas Techweek 2014 is the kickoff. Its objective is to ignite the vision of Miami as the technology hub of the Americas.
We can accomplish that vision by leveraging the unique features of the Miami region to build a new model for technology centers. We won’t try to emulate Silicon Valley or Austin, but instead we will build on our unique geographical position, our cultural ties, and our growing and active local technology community. With eMerge Americas acting as the catalyst, we can combine the South Florida technology community of today with Miami’s Latin American and Caribbean connections and cultural assets to achieve that vision.
Everyone in South Florida will benefit from the achievement of that vision, as the companies, jobs and investment will bring an increase in the economic vitality of the entire region. But it will also require active involvement from a broad spectrum of our business, academic and government leaders. Successful technology centers grow because of such involvement.
Their leaders don't wait for others to take action, they step up and contribute. We must all do the same.
But isn’t eMerge just a Miami and Latin American thing, with no connection to Broward or Palm Beach? No, it is not.
The technology assets of South Florida, the jobs, companies, universities and research centers that form the tech community are spread throughout the region.
Unless we include everyone, we will not have the critical mass necessary to succeed as a tech center. The South Florida region must act as a whole, just like Silicon Valley, the Boston region and the Research Triangle do.
We may have to use the name Miami the same way people in Massachusetts use the name Boston — as a simple identifiable regional name, not restricted to the political boundaries of the city — because outside of Florida everyone can identify with that. After all, even here in Florida, Tampa and Orlando represent their multi-county regions in that way.
Using the name Miami as a regional name does not mean Miami-Dade can be successful on its own. This entire region must be part of this movement.
So we hope everyone will join us for the eMerge Techweek 2014, see the vision for the tech-based South Florida of the future, and be there at the beginning of this movement.
Diane Sánchez is the CEO of the Technology Foundation of the Americas, the sponsor of eMerge Americas Techweek 2014.