Business

EcoTech raises $172,000 in grants for green-business incubator, programs

Pandwe Gibson is the founder of EcoTech Visions, a nonprofit that focuses on nurturing green businesses in low-income communities.
Pandwe Gibson is the founder of EcoTech Visions, a nonprofit that focuses on nurturing green businesses in low-income communities. Miami Herald

The nonprofit EcoTech Visions announced it has received $172,000 in grants, bringing it closer to its goal of hatching an incubator in Liberty City for green-manufacturing small businesses.

This week, the Northwest 7th Avenue Community Redevelopment Agency awarded EcoTech Visions a $60,000 grant to build out its accelerator space and make Liberty City its new home, said Pandwe Gibson, EcoTech's founder. The CRA also awarded two young companies within EcoTech’s incubator a total of $20,000 in grants for equipment: EarthWare, a biodegradable tableware company, and Aeolus Motors, an electric motor bike company.

In July, EcoTech Visions was awarded $52,000 in Miami-Dade County County Community Development Block Grant funds to provide training for its Blue to Green Collar fellowship program, a second-chance program for formerly incarcerated adults who have blue collar certifications. This fellowship is also available to veterans.

Gibson was also awarded a Gulf Coast Fellowship, selected as one of five fellows from a pool of 500 applicants from Texas to North Carolina to represent the region as an ambassador for Southern “Ecopreneurs.” The fellowship comes with a $40,000 award.

In collaboration with Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime and his green corridors plan, EcoTech Visions’ incubator, at 667 NW 90th St., in Miami-Dade County's Liberty City, will contain meeting space, co-working space and offices. It will also have a Kitchen Lab for the development of topical products, a bio-plastic molding lab, a hydroponics lab and garden; and a mechanics lab, Gibson said.

The county grants require matching private funds; EcoTech is running a crowdfunding campaign on Global Giving. “We are so excited and so close to our goal,” Gibson said.

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