Tag Archive | "the launch pad"


The Launch Pad to Open Tech Accelerator in Downtown Miami; Venture to Provide Incentives for Early-Stage Tech Companies

With downtown Miami fast emerging as a hotbed of international commerce, the community’s public and private sectors are joining forces to create a technology business accelerator program that will attract early-stage companies and the entrepreneurs who run them to the city’s urban core. The Launch Pad Tech Accelerator – a new endeavor by the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Miami-Dade County, and The Launch Pad at the University of Miami – will focus on recruiting and cultivating tech businesses in sectors closely aligned with Miami’s economic future, including health care, hospitality and tourism, and creative sectors such as design, music, art, fashion, and film.

The program will be fueled by $1 million in funds from Miami-Dade County over the next four years and another $460,000 in funding from the Miami DDA in 2013 and 2014. These dollars will support ongoing operations and provide incentives aimed at attracting 10 promising companies to downtown Miami from around the world during the initiative’s inaugural year, with 10 additional companies recruited in each of the following cycles. The program is projected to create 330 new direct and indirect jobs through 2017.

Beyond offering $25,000 grants – without an equity request – for the selected companies, the Launch Pad Tech Accelerator will provide services ranging from entrepreneurship training and intensive mentoring from industry leaders, to subsidized office space and access to Launch Pad workshops. The program will be based at downtown Miami’s Terremark NAP (Network Access Point) of the Americas, where optical, Ethernet, voice, and Internet traffic is linked between Latin America and the rest of the world.

“The Launch Pad Accelerator will spur a vibrant start-up culture that complements the residential, commercial, and hospitality growth under way in downtown Miami,” said City of Miami Commissioner and Miami DDA Chair Marc Sarnoff. “This will be a catalyst for attracting forward-thinking companies that bring new ideas, new ways of doing business, and new jobs to Miami. The Launch Pad Tech Accelerator is a real-world example of the public sector empowering private sector entrepreneurship and innovation.”

The new program was developed by The Launch Pad at the University of Miami, which was started in 2008 by a team that has helped students and alumni launch more than 80 businesses that have raised more than $10 million and created more than 150 South Florida jobs. The Launch Pad has been replicated to six other universities with the support of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, creating the only national network of collegiate entrepreneurs. In the July/August issue of Harvard Business Review, The Launch Pad was noted as one of the two concepts that work in entrepreneurship.

“Launch Pad Tech creates unparalleled opportunities for student engagement and education. We have scores of Launch Pad entrepreneurs in various stages of their tech startups that can become part of these teams, experiencing firsthand what it takes to grow a business from two to 50 employees in less than a year, becoming members of the ecosystem and contributing to its growth,” said Susan Amat, co-founder of The Launch Pad and framer of Launch Pad Tech. “The skills sets of students, whether in law, engineering, med, business, communication, or music, can all be utilized, honed, and enhanced through Launch Pad Tech in ways that could never be done in a classroom. While The Launch Pad brings the community in to support the students, Launch Pad Tech brings the students into the community for inimitable experiential learning.”

Amat adds that in addition to the ten selected companies, Launch Pad Tech will also “adopt” an additional 25 startups outside of the designated vertical sectors, which will then have the opportunity to attend structured program offerings, participate in mentoring, and have access to resources.

“As a Miami entrepreneur, I have experience with the challenges of starting technology businesses,” said Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet SAS, the company behind the fast-growing .CO domain. “The Launch Pad Accelerator will ease the process for a new wave of entrepreneurs by igniting a cross-pollination of ideas, capital, mentorship, and talent that is critical to a tech ecosystem.”

The Launch Pad Accelerator takes flight just as Miami’s urban core comes alive as a thriving residential district, with the area experiencing an 80 percent spike in population over the past decade and another 15,000 residents expected in the coming years. Along these lines, author and professor Richard Florida notes that urban areas such as downtown Miami are enjoying heightened demand among tech companies and entrepreneurs for reasons ranging from lifestyle decisions to business networking opportunities.

“Miami-Dade County is proud to support the Launch Pad and its mission of attracting forward-thinking entrepreneurs to our community and giving them the tools they need to succeed here,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “My top priority as mayor is job-creation – diverse job-creation – and the Launch Pad supports that goal by positioning Miami-Dade County as a hotbed for dynamic start-up businesses that support new jobs.”

Applications for entry to The Launch Pad Tech Accelerator program may be submitted now through November 5 at www.launchpadtech.co. For updated information about the program, please follow on Twitter @launchpadtech.


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The Launch Pad and One of Its Star Entrepreneurs Win Big at Technology Leader of the Year Awards

The Launch Pad and one of its entrepreneurs were among the winners at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s annual Technology Leaders of the Year Awards.

Developed at the University of Miami as a novel entrepreneurship initiative that helps both students and alumni create new enterprises, The Launch Pad won in the “Technology Organization” category, while Tyler McIntyre, the CEO of a company that specializes in software development for the growing mobile application market, won the “Technology Student Entrepreneur” award.

The Technology Leaders of the Year Awards were created to honor individuals, teams, organizations, and companies that support and develop the future of the South Florida technology community. Winners were selected because of their effective use of technology to improve business performance or to develop new markets, products, or communities, as well as for their significant contributions to the South Florida technology community.

In the past year The Launch Pad has hosted and promoted more than 20 events in support of educating, connecting, and promoting both technology entrepreneurs and developers, including Refresh Miami, Startup Weekend, the Android Developer Group, WordCamp Miami, and Lean Startup Group Miami. The majority of Launch Pad Tech events were held at the offices at Terremark’s NAP of the Americas.

The Launch Pad’s next project is to actively engage the South Florida community in educating and connecting the tech community through the Launch Pad Tech initiative. Available to anyone in South Florida, the initiative has a goal to train and mentor skilled programmers in the latest technologies available in their field of interest (mobile or Web). These new highly trained developers can then be fed into the South Florida technology startup ecosystem or use their knowledge to start their own high-growth technology startup.

William Silverman, assistant director of The Launch Pad, accepted the award. In his acceptance remarks, Silverman thanked Manny Medina, founder of Terremark. “Manny believed in our vision, making it possible for us to set up Launch Pad Tech in the Terremark NAP, which allowed us to connect to hundreds of technology entrepreneurs over the past year.”

Silverman also mentioned Refresh Miami and IT Women as “great friends and collaborators, and we all work together to support the [local tech] community.” He also noted the two “Technology Student Entrepreneur” finalists—Ketan Rahangdale, CEO of EarTop Technologies, and Mark Slaughter, CEO of Cohealo—and the category winner, Tyler McIntyre. All three are currently University of Miami students and Launch Pad entrepreneurs. “We are very proud of our three student tech entrepreneurs,” Silverman said. “The Launch Pad is all about growing great entrepreneurs here in South Florida, and they are perfect examples.”

McIntyre is CEO of Lucid Technologies, LLC, which has launched several applications, including LuciDmessenger, which allows for cross-platform communication between BlackBerry Messenger and iPhone and Android phones; one of the top downloaded weather applications globally, rated by Apple as “New & Noteworthy”; and Chat for Facebook, which is currently the sixth top-selling social networking app for the Mac OS.

McIntyre is enrolled as a third-year student in UM’s School of Business Administration and actively participates in The Launch Pad entrepreneurship program.


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White House Honors Susan Amat as a Champion of Change


White House Honors Susan Amat as a Champion of Change

Susan Amat, left, was one of 11 leaders honored by the White House as “Champions of Change.”

The White House on March 7 honored Susan Amat, co-founder and executive director of the University of Miami’s The Launch Pad, as one of 11 “Champions of Change” for outstanding leadership in entrepreneurial mentoring, counseling, and training. The White House called Amat and the other honorees exceptional leaders who support small business owners by helping them accelerate their path to growth. Read the full story

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The Launch Pad Wins a Grand Prize at MetroBroward Lighthouse Awards

The Launch Pad, the University’s Miami unique entrepreneurship initiative, won a Grand Prize from the Metro Broward Economic Development Corporation at the recent MetroBroward Lighthouse Awards. The Launch Pad received an unrestricted grant of $2,500.

The MetroBroward Lighthouse Awards were created in 2009 to raise awareness of the valuable contributions made by the small business development industry in South Florida. The awards recognize the outstanding contributions of organizations that have made an impact on the success of regional small businesses in the areas of advocacy, consulting assistance, and start-up assistance.

The Launch Pad is UM’s entrepreneur and innovator resource center, the first one in the country to be housed in a university career center, treating entrepreneurship as a viable career choice. It is part of the Toppel Career Planning and Placement Center and strives to provide students and alumni with the guidance and resources they need to transform innovative ideas into sustainable enterprises.

The Metro Broward Economic Development Corporation is a certified community development financial institution and small business success center located in Lauderhill, Florida. Its mission is to be a catalyst for small business success.


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Entrepreneurial Advice: Carl Schramm Delivers New Student Convocation Address

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Entrepreneurial Advice: Carl Schramm Delivers New Student Convocation Address

Wearing an orange UM polo shirt, Carl Schramm answers questions from students during the Q&A portion of the New Student Convocation.

With the nation still mired in an economic downturn, entrepreneur expert Carl J. Schramm told hundreds of University of Miami students last Friday that they could play an important role in reshaping the U.S. economy, encouraging them to think creatively and start ventures that spur job growth, generate wealth, and create innovation.

“It’s our job to make the American economy robust and strong,” said Schramm, delivering the New Student Convocation address at UM’s BankUnited Center. Read the full story

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