By Riley Kaminer

Spotlight on Our Startup Committee

Read Time 3 Minutes

From northern Palm Beach county to southern Miami-Dade, startups are popping up at a dizzying rate. 

Tech Hub South Florida understands that these fledgling companies are the backbone of our region’s innovation ecosystem. The organization’s recently-formed Startup Committee aims to foster a strong community within our region’s startup scene, promoting collaboration and shared success across South Florida. 

Central to the Committee’s mission is championing issues facing startups. That includes finding initial customers, securing funding, and connecting with mentors.

One tangible way the Startup Committee has already begun to help founders in our community is through the creation of a digital repository of everything founders need to know about the South Florida tech ecosystem. The webpage includes information about local development councils, where to find coworking spaces, and details around some of the region’s top accelerator programs. It also highlights corporations that are deeply involved in the growth of South Florida’s tech ecosystem.

Crucially, Tech Hub is taking a regional approach to the development of the startup ecosystem. Sarah Lucas, Chair of the Startup Committee and COO of Boca-based New World Angels, noted the novelty of this approach: “While innovation and ingenuity know no geographic limits, efforts to support entrepreneurship in South Florida have generally been constrained by city, county, or institutional boundaries.”

She continued, “Collaboration across counties that includes participation from economic development agencies, research institutions, early stage investors, entrepreneurial support organizations and others is critical to making sure that South Florida has staying power as a technology hub.”

Ultimately, Lucas said that this initiative is all about making founders feel at home in the region. “It’s my hope that our efforts will aid any founder in South Florida, whether they are new to the area or have lived here for many years, in accessing and navigating the many resources available to support in their success.”

Imran Siddiqui, District Director for BCEx at Broward College and Vice Chair of the Startup Committee, said that he finds it “rewarding to be a part of a regional effort that connects across our tri-county area to build entrepreneurship and diversify our economy.”

Siddiqui, a native South Floridian who left the region for law school but “made it a point to return back home,” said that he sees his involvement on the committee as a rewarding way to connect with “like-minded leadership from Jupiter to Miami.” 

A diverse set of stakeholders in the regional tech ecosystem sit on the Startup Committee, including venture capitalists, incubator/accelerator leaders, entrepreneurs, community builders, leaders in higher education, and corporate innovators. 

For example, Committee members Maria Dominguez, Site Director of CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) Miami, and Bob Nelson, Founder of VMT (Venture Mentoring Team), are working with Monica Rojas, Member & Inclusion Specialist from Tech Hub to implement regional mentoring hours for our startup founders. And John Wensveen of the Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation is helping to develop a physical space in the middle of our region that can be ground zero for high-tech startups.

Rojas said, “the Tech Hub team would like to thank our most involved committee members to date such as New World Angels, Broward College’s BCeX, Endeavor Miami, Refresh Miami, FAU Tech Runway, The Venture Mentoring Team (VMT), Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation, Founders Institute, aire ventures, CIC Miami, Startup Grind, and Miami-Dade Beacon Council. We appreciate your efforts in helping build South Florida’s Tech and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.” 

Tech Hub South Florida realizes that it is important to hear the voices of a wide range of stakeholders in the ecosystem, and urges South Floridians interested in taking part in this rapidly-growing initiative to get in touch.