Now, we are #1, how do we keep it going?
According to the Kauffman Foundation's 2017 Index of Startup Activity the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area is the hottest location for startups among U.S. metropolitan areas. That is not a total surprise if you track this. We had been #2 for the previous two years. At the same time, for someone that has been in the tech industry, in South Florida, for more than twenty years, that is downright unbelievable. We've tried so many times in the past and had little to show for it. Now, we are #1, how do we keep it going? How do we get more people involved in this innovation initiative?
There are a variety of answers to these questions. One amazing fact is that most of the startup activity in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale has virtually ignored the southern end of Miami-Dade County. By referencing the Commission District Profile one learns that the southern part of the county includes the three most populous districts of Miami-Dade's 13 districts. The southern districts also represent the higher earning families in the County. How many ideas are brewing in the minds of these people? How can we harness that and pair them with people that can help those ideas come to life? As part of this community I have been wondering that for the last couple of years. I've also wondered why the southern portion of the city keeps being ignored. I've heard rumors and have fielded theories but none of them hold enough water to explain the void. I've decided to do something about it.
Introducing the Kendall Innovation Community Hub, I call it KICH (pronounced kik) for short. With KICH we finally have a place where we can build community around innovation in the southern portion of the county. Our Community Builder meetings are free, open meetings, where everyone is welcomed and where all are encouraged to participate in the innovation space. There are a number of these organizations in the northern and eastern parts of the county. This will be the first in the southern end. Our focus is enabling and preparing people to pursue new startup businesses in the Kendall area.
Aside from being on the southern end of the city, KICH will have some distinct features. Our weekly Community Builder meetings will be about learning. Each Monday evening we will have a speaker who will teach on a topic relevant to running a business. There are many aspects to starting a business and we will have an expert teach us about one of those aspects each Monday. The speaker will end their talk with a group exercise. At that point we will break out into small groups or teams and do the exercise.
Once the exercise is completed we encourage teams to stay and work on their innovations. We encourage experts to come and help those seeking advice and empower their success. Everything that happens at our Monday Community Builder meetings is free. If you get great advice, say thank you. If someone draws a logo for you and you love it, use it. Or maybe, after the meeting, hire them to take it beyond a sketch. What they do for you at our meetings is yours. Use it to everyone's benefit.
Come to meet people pursuing innovation. Maybe you are not an idea person but you have skills others need. We expect to see multiple teams form during our meetings, then come each week to learn and work as a team until they are ready to take the steps to build a business out of their innovations. Every idea person will have weaknesses and will need others to help them overcome those weaknesses. Innovation grows exponentially when multiple like-hearted people activate one another, especially when they have different perspectives. That's what we want to see happen at KICH. That's why community is in our name. That's why we need you. Join us!
Community Builder meetings will take place from 6pm to 9pm every Monday night at the West Kendall StartUP FIU location. The address is 14591 SW 120 ST, Miami, FL 33186. The first KICH Community Builder meeting will take place on February 5th, 2018. The first topic will be Design Thinking. Refreshments will be provided at each Community Builder meeting. To learn more and see information about subsequent meetings please visit our meetup page.
How can you help? First of all, attend our meetings. Second, spread the word, the more the merrier. Third, come and share your expertise. If you have expertise on an area of business or innovation, become a KICH speaker. We are seeking sponsors for the refreshments each week. Our website is under construction, to help or for additional information please contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Will Tartak
Founder of KICH and President of Visual Data Solutions, Inc.