ENCORE: eMerge conference aims to jump-start Miami tech hub

This commentary is being re-distributed on the occasion of eMerge TechWeek 2016.
The event just ended … April 18 – 19.

CU Blog - eMerge Conference 2016 Photo 1

In the commentary in 2014, previewing the inaugural event, the expectation was for 3,000 visitors. This time, just 2 years later, the attendance was 13,000 visitors. Congratulations to the organizers on this successful event. Now let’s plan on another successful one for June 12 – 13, 2017.

The original blog – still relevant – is as follows:

Go Lean Commentary

Master BrokersPositive Change!

It doesn’t just happen. It takes people forging it, guiding it and fostering it. The below news article speaks of the effort in South Florida (from Miami north to West Palm Beach) to establish an economic engine of a “tech hub”.

This is a noble, yet strategic undertaking. Success in this “industry space” would mean more jobs, investment capital, and more technology students remaining in South Florida after matriculating in the area’s colleges. These 3 objectives align this story with the advocacies of the book Go Lean … Caribbean.

The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The prime directive of this organization is to optimize the economic engines of the Caribbean region. We also want to increase jobs and investment capital, plus retain more of our young people aspiring for careers in high technology fields. But the CU wants to harvest these activities in the Caribbean, for the Caribbean and by the people of the Caribbean.

South Florida is germane to the Caribbean conscience. It is the Number One destination for the Caribbean Diaspora, featuring large populations of Cubans, Jamaicans, Dominicans (DR), Puerto Ricans, Bahamians, and Haitians. The book relates this association by declaring the NBA basketball team, Miami Heat, as the “home team” of the Caribbean; (Page 42).

Right time, right place!

The eMerge Americas Techweek is this week. Also, the Miami Heat has just started the playoffs in defense of their consecutive World Championships.

By: Marcia Heroux Pounds and Doreen Hemlock

A movement to make South Florida a technology hub for the Americas kicks off its first conference this week, aiming to draw more than 3,000 people from entrepreneurs to investors to students — from Broward and Palm Beach counties and from around the world.

Organizers want to build on South Florida’s success as a gateway to Latin America for trade, banking and services, extending that prowess into technology, entrepreneurship and capital for startups. They hope the event — eMerge Americas Techweek — can do for tech what the annual Art Basel event in Miami Beach has done for art: put South Florida on the world map.

It’s an exciting chance for entrepreneurs like Boca Raton’s Dan Cane, chief executive of Boca Raton-based Modernizing Medicine, which developed an iPad application for specialty physicians. He’s among influencers named to the event’s “Techweek100” — South Florida leaders who have had a significant impact on business and technology. He will speak at the conference.

“We jumped at the opportunity,” said Cane, whose 3-year-old company had $17.5 million in sales last year. “We hope to find contacts and connections and begin to develop the right ecosystem in the Latin American market” to export south starting next year.

The eMerge push doesn’t strive to make South Florida into Silicon Valley. It aims instead for a tech center specialized in multinationals looking south, Latin American companies moving north, local startup companies, as well as universities and investors.

That’s why Citi Latin America, the regional headquarters for financial giant Citi, is taking part in what is planned as an annual event. The division employs about 750 people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and is sponsoring the event, sending speakers and bringing clients, said Jorge Ruiz, who heads digital banking.

“This event is a great example of the things we should do more of,” Ruiz said. It showcases the importance of technology to a range of industries, promotes what South Florida already offers and highlights South Florida’s ability to unite from across the Americas for tech business, he said.

“As people come together, they’re going to realize this is the space to invest in,” Ruiz said.

Universities that train talent for tech jobs are eager to participate too.

“We’re going to bring as many students as possible,” said Eric Ackerman, dean and associate professor of the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences at Nova Southeastern University, who also is on the Techweek100 list. Nova has more than 500 students studying information technology.

Ackerman said tech graduates often leave South Florida, figuring they will have better job opportunities in larger hubs known for innovation.

“That’s one of the things we are trying to change — to become an innovation zone for new technology, new products and new services,” Ackerman said. “An event like this says, ‘Look what’s here in our own back yard. Why should I go somewhere else?’ ”

Kimberly Gramm, assistant dean and director of FAU’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, is taking winners of FAU’s recent business plan competition to eMerge’s Startup Village.

Some of South Florida’s largest tech companies also will exhibit at eMerge. Those include Citrix Systems of Fort Lauderdale, C3 Cloud Computing Concepts of Delray Beach and TriNet Group of Boca Raton, said Lonnie Maier, president of the South Florida Technology Alliance, a group that promotes local tech.

Investors and consultants to startups also are heading to eMerge to network and build business.

New World Angels, a Boca Raton-based group of investors, will share a booth with the Miami Innovation Fund to offer entrepreneurs advice on launching or growing their ventures, said Rhys Williams, executive director of New World Angels and a Techweek 100 leader.

“Technology investing is a contact sport. There are few textbooks or classes of relevance, so this conference is a timely way to keep current on your knowledge base and pick up new knowledge, skills and contacts,” said Williams, who also is a judge in the eMerge Launch competition where more than 200 companies will compete for $150,000 in prizes.

Of course, South Florida faces hurdles in its quest, tech leaders said.

The area needs to overcome a long-time image based on sun and fun. And it needs to show critical mass in tech, especially success stories of entrepreneurs that grew startups to global players — much as conference organizer Manny Medina did, starting Miami-based Terremark and selling it for more than $1.4 billion to Verizon.

Enterprise Development Corp. President Rob Strandberg, whose group works with startups from Boca Raton to Miami, will be busy making introductions between entrepreneurs and potential investors at the conference. He’s also a judge in the Launch competition.

EDC executive director Linda Gove will participate with the Boca Raton incubator’s startup companies.

“Investors are taking notice of South Florida companies to a far greater extent than they were,” Strandberg said.

Joe Levy, CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based startup ClearCi and also named to the Techweek 100, said the perception of the area as a tech hub is changing.

“Folks used to ask me, ‘Why aren’t you in Silicon Valley?’ ” Levy said. “We don’t get that anymore.”

South Florida’s Sun Sentinel Daily Newspaper – April 27, 2014 – http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/careers/fl-emerge-broward-palm-beach-20140427,0,1252077.story

The Go Lean roadmap calls for agencies within the CU to champion technological start-up endeavors, much like this week’s eMerge initiative.

There is much for the CU’s planners to glean by the observation of the planned events this week. The Go Lean/CU approach, in the absence of the actual establishment of the Trade Federation is simply to:

1. Look
2. Listen
3. Learn
4. Lend-a-hand
5. Lead

This approach is codified in the book, with details of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocates; as follows:

Community Ethos – Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Impact R & D Page 30
Community Ethos – Bridge the Digital Divide Page 31
Strategy – Agents of Change: Technology Page 57
Separation of Powers – Patents & Copyrights Page 78
Implementation –  Self-Governing Entities Page 105
Implementation –  Impact Social Media Page 111
Ways to Better Manage Image Page 133
Industries – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Industries – Foster e-Commerce Page 198

We hope for success for eMerge Americas Techweek. We hope our Caribbean brothers living and working in South Florida participate, engage in and benefit from this initiative. Then we hope that they would repatriate some of this passion, knowledge, and experience back to their Caribbean homelands.

Lastly, we cheer for further basketball dominance. Go Heat!

Basketball shot

Download the book – Go Lean…Caribbean now!!!

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