—Celebrates Miami’s unique strengths and invites makers, technologists, and advocates
to collaborate and drive equitable, inclusive growth for the 305—
MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 7, 2021 – A collective of tech leaders, builders, and advocates that have contributed to the foundation of Miami-Dade’s dynamic, growing tech and innovation ecosystem collaborated on a #MiamiTech Manifesto released earlier this week. Working together for more than a decade to actively lay the groundwork for an equitable, inclusive community, the increased interest in and conversations about the business opportunities Miami presents led some of these leaders to put pen to paper and outline that shared vision – for themselves and all of the newcomers that we are happily welcoming.
“We can’t talk about Miami tech without talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the release of the Miami Tech Manifesto marks an important step forward in this growing movement,” stated Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “We need a shared set of principles for how we continue to build a tech ecosystem that is inclusive and unifying. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with our diverse coalition of leaders, advocates, and innovators to ensure that efforts to expand our tech economy drive us toward the goals of shared economic growth and building a more equitable community.”
WeAreMiamiTech.com features the 11-point Manifesto, which is “of, by, and for, the people behind the #miamitech movement… We’re taking advantage of this unique moment to articulate the values, opportunities, and principles that guide our vision – both for ourselves and for those who wish to join us.” Conceptualized by Christine Johnson (The Beacon Council), Maria Derchi Russo (Refresh Miami), Brian Breslin (Refresh Miami and The Launchpad), Leigh-Ann Buchanan (Venture Café Miami), Michelle Abbs (Mana Tech) and Rebekah Monson (WhereBy.Us), the MiamiTech Manifesto team also includes Ana Paula Gonzalez (500 Startups), Melissa Medina (eMerge America), Aileen Alon and Maharlika (Venture Café Miami), Gregory Johnson (Code for South Florida), Maxeme Tuchman (Caribu), Rebecca Danta (Miami Angels), Carlos Vazquez (Miami EdTech), Ja’Dan Johnson (Center for Black Innovation), and Claudia Duran (Endeavor Miami). The Manifesto invites supporters to join the movement and pledge their commitment to these values and vision for Miami’s tech community; more than 138 pledges were captured on the first day.
“This is a unique window of opportunity and point of growth for Miami’s tech and innovation community, and for that of South Florida as a whole. It’s great to see our ecosystem attracting the attention it deserves,” said Christine Johnson, Vice President of Innovation at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. “The people and organizations driving a lot of this work – and the shared vision for what we were building – had not previously been documented in a formal way. At this inflection point, we felt it
was critical for a representative group of Miami’s tech leaders to collaboratively craft a public statement. The Manifesto not only serves as an invitation to newcomers to build forward with us, but it provides common language that champions our unique value proposition as a global business community that is women-led and powered by immigrants and majority-minority businesses.”
To ensure that dialogue and community-building are truly inclusive, tech and community leaders are extending the conversation through events like “The Case for Equity & Inclusion in Miami’s Tech Ecosystem”, a virtual town hall presented from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM this Thursday, January 7, 2021. Hosted by Venture Café Miami, this conversation features thought leaders, builders and key stakeholders in Miami’s tech ecosystem including Felecia Hatcher-Pearson, Co-Founder, Center for Black Innovation; Michelle Abbs, Managing Director, Mana Tech; Maria Derchi Russo, Refresh Miami; Keith Carswell, Senior Advisor to City of Miami’s City Manager; Dr. Lashinda S. Moore, Principal, iTech; Leigh-Ann Buchanan, President & Executive Director, Venture Café Miami; and special guests Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
“We want to build a culture of innovation and opportunity for every man, woman, and child in Miami,” says City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “We have to ensure nobody gets left behind.”
“As a younger ecosystem, we’ve had the benefit of being able to learn lessons both from what works and what hasn’t worked in other tech communities. It was important for us to capture these values and share a working vision with our local counterparts as well as our new arrivals and folks considering moving to Miami. We want them to know what we stand for and what we strive for,” says Michelle
Abbs, Managing Director at Mana Tech. “As a long-time champion for Miami’s tech community and builder myself, I knew I had to do something in this unique moment. I have personally experienced the downfall of a toxic tech culture, and I have also known what it means to be valued and included in the tech space. I feel protective of the accessible and collaborative community we’ve built because, while we have work to do, it is indeed a rare exception to see as many women and people of color in leadership positions. We must expand on the momentum into a place of action that is inclusive, equitable and true to the kind of community we have been working to build. That is why I think Thursday’s Town Hall with Venture Café is an important next step. ”
To join MiamiTech’s makers, technologists and advocates in building an equitable, inclusive, collaborative, and thriving community, visit: https://wearemiamitech.com/
To register for Thursday’s virtual Town Hall, “The Case for Equity & Inclusion in Miami’s Tech Ecosystem” from 6:00PM – 8:00PM on January 7th: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_AnJ55E94QzKLgBorjfbuVg
About the #MiamiTech Manifesto
Miami is a haven for innovators, builders and those who wield technology as a powerful tool of social change. A collective of local tech builders and leaders that have intentionally laid the groundwork toward a shared vision of an inclusive community for makers, technologists and advocates in the 305. The #MiamiTech Manifesto is of, by and for the people behind Miami’s tech movement – those that have been here for years, and the recent arrivals that are helping us build even more momentum. A living statement of purpose and accountability, it represents our commitment to who we are as an ecosystem and where we strive to be. It is a declaration of the principles we aim to uphold and the values we endeavor to embody. As we evolve, so will the manifesto because we are building together. Fore more information, visit: https://wearemiamitech.com/
About the Miami‐Dade Beacon Council
The Miami‐Dade Beacon Council is the official economic development organization for Miami‐Dade County. Its mission is to increase jobs and investment through marketing Miami as a world-class business destination, helping grow local companies, and shaping Miami-Dade’s economic future. Since 1985, the organization has assisted more than 1,200 businesses to expand in or relocate to Miami-Dade, creating more than 104,000 direct and indirect jobs combined, and driving more than $6.7 billion in new capital investments. A professional staff and volunteer community leaders work together to promote Miami-Dade as a world‐class business community at the forefront of a changing global economy, driving long-term growth and prosperity for the region. For more information, visit: www.beaconcouncil.com.
For press Inquiries regarding Mana Tech, please contact Marcia Martinez Laas, Power Collective (email@example.com).