The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Wednesday a pledge of more than $1 million for nine Miami-based projects aimed at building deeper connections between local startup founders, investors and talent.
“Local connectedness amongst founders, investors and high-performing talent is a major driver of successful startup communities,” said Raul Moas, Knight Foundation program director for Miami, in a statement. “Through these projects, we hope to forge a deliberate path to growth for Miami’s startups, the impact of which will reap wider benefits for our city as a whole.”
The foundation also hopes the awards will attract new talent and investors into Miami’s burgeoning innovation community.
The grantees, and how they’ll be using the funds, are as follows:
University of Miami ($250,000): To provide Miami’s startups with greater access to capital by supporting the launch of the Cane Angel Network, which will connect alumni, faculty, staff, parent and other university-affiliated investors with promising university-affiliated companies. The network is being led by Norma Kenyon, vice provost for innovation at the University of Miami.
Venture for America ($150,000): To help foster the growth of Venture For America’s Miami program, which places selected recent university graduates at high-growth companies for a two-year fellowship. Funding will support the hiring of a dedicated Miami director.
The Venture Mentoring Team ($150,000): To expand a mentorship program that educates, certifies and credentials seasoned business professionals and connects them with talented rising entrepreneurs.
eMerge Americas ($120,000): To advance the yearlong eMerge Americas Fellowship, which invests in the professional development of top-performing local university engineering students and introduces them to opportunities at Miami-based companies.
Just Dinner ($114,000): To support a series of curated, intimate gatherings that bring together newcomers and veterans of Miami’s startup community as a way to promote greater connection, a deeper sense of community and stronger social networks.
Creators Council ($106,000): To launch a member-led, peer-sharing and mentorship platform that aims to create a sense of community among founders and high-impact talent by growing the depth and quality of relationships among peers. Website forthcoming.
American Jewish Committee ($92,000): To foster deeper relationships and opportunities between Miami entrepreneurs and their Israeli peers by introducing a delegation of Miami entrepreneurs to key drivers of Israeli innovation, including decision-makers, entrepreneurs and investors. Miami entrepreneurs will travel to Israel as part of the globally recognized AJC Project Interchange.
Las Olas VC ($25,000): To help launch the LOVC CEO Summit Series, allowing local startup founders and CEOs to connect with their peers and build meaningful relationships.
Miami Angels ($20,000): To make talent and opportunity more easily discoverable by supporting the launch of Talent Scout Miami, a curated platform that helps Miami’s most promising startups find and recruit top talent.