It’s no surprise to most of us to hear or read that South Florida and the Miami area rank behind many other cities and states when it comes to high-tech talents, payrolls or jobs. The image of Miami as being an attractive place for party goers and tourists looking for year-long sun is a sticky one, however many high-tech graduates, start-up entrepreneurs and capital venture companies are becoming aware that South Florida is working hard to change this. A few innovation centers, educational programs and real estate projects are aiming to help Miami become one of the high-tech communities of the United States, forging a bridge between North and South America. The Emerge Americas Miami trade show launched its first successful edition in May 2014 and just ended its second edition in Miami Beach. The five day Emerge Americas conference is an exchange forum about innovation and technology and shows that high-tech drastically changes every single industry such as healthcare, banking, travel, entertainment, community and civic engagement etc…
The Lab Miami, which received grants from the honorable Knight Foundation, is a 10,000 sf warehouse in Wynwood which was turned into a meeting and working place for creative entrepreneurs and start-up leaders. It offers subscription-based working space as well as a vast series of educational programs on topics such crowdfunding for real estate, how to build a successful app and workshops on design or coding.
The first US-based Microsoft Innovation Center opened last year in Miami and is hosted at Venture Hive, a start-up incubator located in Downtown Miami.
The Downtown Miami and Wynwood areas are actually gathering a few places and initiatives focusing on building-up Miami’s high-tech community. The Miami-based Simkins family, which made most of its financial success in the paper manufacturing business, has recently presented plans to the City of Miami to design the Miami Innovation District, an ambitious mixed-use real estate project that would be located near Downtown Miami and would offer thousands of square feet of retail, restaurants, small residential units for start-up creators and software engineers and approximately 4 million sf of office space targeting entrepreneur incubators and large technology multinationals such as Google or Yahoo. The project for the Miami Innovation District has not been approved yet, however, Miami is more economically vibrant then ever and will, at some point, become one of the US technology hubs we will be counting on.