MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida, supporting the next wave of successful startups

May 2, 2014, 8:56 a.m., Posted by Jose Hernandez-Solaun


Knight Foundation supports the MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida to connect Miami’s entrepreneurs and provide learning opportunities for startups. Below, Jose Hernandez-Solaun, chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida and president of the Easton Group, writes about the group’s programs. Photo credit: Flickr user Gabriel Kaplan.

Like so many other great organizations in South Florida, one of the MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida’s core missions is to help strengthen and position South Florida as a desirable and robust environment for the technology industry. To support this mission over the last few years, the MIT Enterprise Forum has organized and provided numerous in-depth educational programs and services to startups and entrepreneurs, giving them unique insights and perspectives needed to help them make mission-critical decisions as they grow their businesses. It’s been our experience that the richer and deeper the information, the bigger the impact on startups and the local tech ecosystem.

The MIT Enterprise Forum develops engaging panel discussions and workshops leveraging the region’s top critical thinkers and creative minds to address important issues and developments that entrepreneur’s regularly face in their growth cycle. Panelists are often noted business and technology leaders weighing in on topics such as “healthcare and technology,” “how to ignite a vibrant technology ecosystem” and “new go-to-market marketing techniques.”

In one of our more successful event formats, we leverage MIT’s global network of inventive entrepreneurship and industry leaders and share these best practices and case studies to local audiences. Moreover, we apply these global learnings to local startups and discuss what these implications mean to them and our local technology community. This ability to access rich content from MIT and explore how it impacts our local ecosystem is something very unique to our organization.

We also offer in-depth, topic-specific workshops, ranging from “dissecting the term sheet” to “how to make informed decisions using Google Analytics.” In these workshops, we invite entrepreneurs to take a deep dive into very dense topics and explore ways that they can apply the ideas coming out of the workshops to remove barriers to their success and enhance their business models.

Our event season, which follows the academic calendar, culminates June 19 with our annual GeekTank event, where startups apply their learning throughout the year to pitch their company concepts and compete for a $20,000 term sheet. Franc Nemanic, one of our board members and a founding member of the Miami Innovation Fund, said, “Partnering with other entrepreneurship organizations is very important to us in the forum. It helps us reach a wider audience with a more direct message.”

We have collaborated with many successful startup companies from CareCloud to Cohelo to It’s Sugar. These startups have attended our events, served as panelists and learned from our content. More importantly, they have gone on to prove their business models, create jobs and become established companies and leaders in their space.

With support from Knight Foundation, we are doubling our efforts to create even more meaningful and impactful content and programming needed to identify, encourage and spotlight the region’s emerging tech starts. To achieve this, we contracted [highlight color=”eg. black”]Roar Media[/highlight] to create our newly launched website and knowledge bank featuring upcoming events, a video library of interviews with global tech entrepreneurs and late-breaking stories from the MIT Technology Review.

Our agenda, combined with the support of other local organizations,  is sure to propel the next big startup forward. When this happens, we need to showcase their success to the financial community both regionally and nationally to attract more interest and capital to our budding tech community. You can count on the MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida to do its part.

The next MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida event will be on “Brewing Innovation: Technology and the Brewery Industry.” It is slated for May 27 at The Stage in Miami. Visit for the latest on events and to access their video library.