Foundation boosts South Florida startup scene.

Periodically, ID8 Nation will revisit stories it’s already published. In our Miami issue, we wrote about how the Knight Foundation is pouring millions of dollars into boosting the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s doing more than any other organization to transform Miami into a tech hub.

Since the magazine came out, Knight has continued to spend and add pieces to the startup scene.

The biggest investment has been the Idea Center at Miami Dade College. The innovation hub, which opened in October, includes an accelerator, coworking space, idea lab, mentorship, training programs and events. It also will establish a partnership with Babson College, whose entrepreneurship program is ranked best in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Knight grant: $2.18 million over three years, the foundation’s largest-to-date in this program

eMerge Americas, a tech conference first held this year, will return in May. The first event drew more than 6,000 participants and 115 startups, many from Latin America. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneur Manny Medina and his Technology Foundation of the Americas.

Knight grant: $1.5 million

LaunchCode, a nonprofit that places aspiring technologists into paid apprenticeships with local companies, will expand to Miami, its first outpost beyond its St. Louis home. LaunchCode, which will partner with Miami Dade College’s Idea Center, was started by Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square.

Knight grant: $1.25 million over three years

Similar to LaunchCode, Enstitute will place 70 Miami millennials in local companies in hopes they will get jobs or start their own companies. Miami will be Enstitute’s fourth outpost after New York, Washington D.C. and St. Louis.

Knight grant: $248,000

And that’s not all.

Knight also is supporting Miami-Dade County’s partnership with Code for America and helped recruit 500 Startups’ PreMoney conference to Miami this spring. The foundation also has continued its support of other conferences, including SIME MIA and WeXchange, which were held last fall.


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