Trade & Logistics Committee – April Meeting

The Trade & Logistics Committee Meeting hosted a program titled, Help Wanted: Bringing Employers and Job Candidates Together, in early April. The event was curated by the Talent Pipeline Subcommittee to focus on connecting locally educated talent with business leaders from Miami-Dade’s booming trade & logistics industry. The meeting was held on the FIU main campus and included faculty, career counselors and students from Miami’s higher education institutions as well as high school students already pursuing an educational foundation in the logistics industry.

The meeting’s purpose was to facilitate cooperation between the schools which are graduating talented potential employees, and employers who are seeking trained or even untrained but educated employees. The subcommittee is tasked with identifying ways to bridge the talent and skills gap by identifying and addressing problem areas.

The committee was seeking answers to such questions as: Are current recruitment strategies working?  How do schools and job seekers find relevant job postings? How do they differentiate themselves on job posting sites?

Students and employers met in small groups during the program and answered questions regarding how students seek employment and how employers search for candidates and fill positions.

Takeaways from the small group discussion focused on the importance of:

  • Mentorship/internship/apprentice type programs for employers and students to get to know each other (ex. Talent Development Network);
  • YearUp is a program that helps motivated young adults move into meaningful careers through training and internships;
  • Opportunities for student to grow professionally;
  • Ways for students to stay connected to industry professionals.

A high-level panel of industry professionals presented tips and best practices for recruitment and retention of talent moderated by Sarah Tuskey, Department Chairperson – Business, Miami Dade College and Co-Chair for the Talent Pipeline Subcommittee. Panelists included:

Chelsie Taveras, Global Trade Operations & Compliance Director, Cargill

Brian Wood, Group Director, Enterprise Technology Services, Ryder

Joe Rodriguez, Managing Director, SeaLand North America & Canada

There was consensus from the panel on the skills needed for today and tomorrow’s workers:

  1. Critical analytic skills including the ability to analyze data and communicate analysis;
  2. Soft skills such as using common sense, challenging status quo, group dynamics and organizational skills;
  3. Be brave. Be bold;
  4. Be a lifelong learner…be curious;
  5. Take advantage of internship and networking opportunities to meet future employers;
  6. Know how to troubleshoot – be adaptable, be a problem solver;
  7. Get to know artificial intelligence and machine learning and know how to optimize its use.

Companies are using strategies such as internships, social media marketing, and programs like Year up to recruit entry level employees. “Go with Maersk” was used as an example of the type of program trade & logistics companies are using to recruit managerial level talent all over the world. Employers also recognize the importance of retaining top talent and are promoting programs within companies for employees to be continuously trained to pursue opportunities in other parts of the business.

Look for follow up data and recommendations from Education & Workforce Training subcommittee including continued attention on last year’s Trade & Logistics committee survey focusing on the talent and skills connection.

World Trade Month Kicks Off with a Collaborative Effort

The month of May is internationally recognized as World Trade Month. The Miami-Dade Beacon Council was proud to collaborate with World Trade Center Miami and WLRN Media on a joint program that launched our local celebration of the role trade plays in our local economy on May 1. The three organizations organized and hosted a breakfast that featured two panel discussions and was attended by more than 100 professionals engaged in international business.

The first panel was moderated by Terence Shepherd, Business Editor for WLRN Media, and comprised of three trade commissioners, Elaine Brouca – Canada, Lissette Elias – Dominican Republic, and Inmaculada Gutierrez – Spain. The second panel was moderated by Peter Quinter, Chair of the Customs and International Trade Law Group for GrayRobinson, who was joined by Ali Germi, Owner of Acco Terramar; Gary Goldfarb, Chief Strategy Officer for Interport; and Sergio Lozano, President of Alpha Brokers Corp.

For more information on other programs that have taken place and that are still coming during World Trade Month in Miami, visit

Among the upcoming programs is the Beacon Council’s next Trade & Logistics Committee program on May 23. You can see more details on this program and register to attend online.

Positively Disruptive: 2019 World Happiness Summit


By Dyan Brasington, Executive Vice President, Economic Development, Miami-Dade Beacon Council

I embarked on a new adventure just a day or so ago and had the opportunity to attend the World Happiness Summit, held on the gorgeous campus of the University of Miami.  My quest for this adventure was to learn about the science of happiness; positive psychology.  After all, as a professional economic developer for Miami-Dade County, I feel quite positive about my chosen “hometown” and wanted to make sure that this happiness thing wasn’t just about the job.

Typical of many promotional agencies, we tout our rankings and Miami—among many other impressive rankings—is #1 among the Happiest Cities to Work, according to FORBES. Well, I was about to put that ranking to the test.

The 2019 World Happiness Summit (WOHASU) was attended by over 1,000 participants hailing from 30 different countries.  The room was packed with positive energy and excitement, so much so that in these divisive and adverse times, I felt no less than part of a happiness revolution.

So, what defines happiness?  What makes you happy?  In business and government, we often use the term “well-being” when referring to happiness.  Well-being, of course, is both physical and mental.  (I’ll mention another Miami ranking here: #1 city for Healthy Lifestyle Choices, according to When you combine the fact that we have a diverse, culturally-rich community that is used to welcoming new people and a location and climate that encourages mobility and healthier choices, it’s no surprise that we are among the lucky that can foster both our physical and mental well-being if we make that a priority for ourselves.

We learned through the experts and the research that, to feel happy, people need to feel like they matter and are valued. We need social connections and relationships to be happy.  Happiness is a serious business.  If we are serious about it, we need to build a wellness movement and change the culture of stress.  To construct a wellness movement means living our values and demonstrating acceptance as change inevitably happens. We learned about the connection between happiness and morality, and those things that lead to happiness: taking time, being honest, and giving. Delight, hope, passion, love, gratitude, joy, kindness, and curiosity. Practice these and you “feed the good wolf”, as the Cherokee legend goes. 

Finally, the Action for Happiness organization recommends ten keys to being happier that I will share here: Giving, Relationships, Exercise, Awareness, Trying Out new things, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance, and Meaning. For more on each of these:

My latest adventure encapsulated all the keys to happiness through sharing with the many positive people I met from all over the world, as well as from my local tribe who attended WOHASU with me.  What place is better equipped to host the World Happiness Summit® than Miami, the #3 Most Fun City according to Career Bliss. The weekend workshop left no doubt that my happiness doesn’t just stem from my job, but from the community that I feel happy to call home.   #WOHASU


The World Happiness Summit® is a 3-day event that unites the world’s leading experts in the science of happiness and well-being with a global audience to learn practical tools for a happier life. To learn more how to choose your happy as you plan for next year’s summit, log on to:

Miami to Draw Thousands of Fashion Reps, Investors as Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami Show Gets Underway May 28-30

Miami’s fashion industry is getting a major revival, thanks to new global investment with the return of the Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami (ATSM) to the Mana Wynwood Conference Center May 28-30.

The second annual event — the largest apparel and textile sourcing trade show in the Southern U.S. and Latin America, which coincides with Miami Fashion Week — will put Miami on the map for its leading showcase of the latest

More than 4,000 local and international visitors are expected to attend ATSM, representing brands, retailers, e-commerce sellers, designers, importers and buying offices. They will have an unprecedented opportunity for networking and education as more than 300 exhibitors from over 15 countries converge at the show — including fabric mills, ready-made garment factories, service providers, wholesalers, trade offices and home textile suppliers. The overlap with Miami Fashion Week will increase this number to more than 10,000 fashion industry professionals visiting the Magic City at that time.

Backed by unprecedented support from a wide range of local and national industry, trade and commerce organizations, including the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, ATSM delivers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for attendees and exhibitors to cross-network, forge affiliations and identify new business growth strategies.

As part of ATSM 2019, show organizers have announced that the first Asia-US-Latin American Investment Summit will take place on May 28 in the show’s VIP Lounge, bringing major Chinese investors to the city. They will be focused on local investment opportunities in Miami and Fort Lauderdale in the areas of logistics, ports, commercial/residential real estate, infrastructure and technology. Organized in conjunction with the Investment Association of China (IAC), the Miami summit is the next stop for China’s One Belt, One Road global trade initiative, which has injected billions of dollars into different world economies across numerous industries since its inception in 2001.

ATSM will also bring to Miami a Latin American delegation of apparel and textile producers, ready to facilitate “near-sourcing” business with attendees. With recent geo-political tension and technology changing the global production landscape, an increasing number of companies are looking to Latin America as a viable solution to source apparel and textiles without going overseas. Guatemala, for one, has seen an explosion of business as a result, and representatives will be on site to discuss opportunities for Florida businesses.

What’s more, show visitors will reap the benefits of a unique Florida Business Panel, providing insight into local industry opportunities and services.

The event will also include the return of the much-anticipated ATSM fashion show, representing both local and international designers, up-and-coming student talent and global fashions presented by show exhibitors. Miami designers who sell both nationally and internationally will be featured in the Best of Miami segment, and students of Miami International University will showcase womenswear and menswear.

According to industry leaders, such as celebrity designer Rene Ruiz, Miami’s No. 1 fashion innovator and ambassador of solidifying South Florida as a global fashion talent magnet, ATSM fills an important market gap in bringing much-needed global opportunities to Miami, and providing designers and sourcing professionals global reach to manufacturers.

ATSM is produced by JP Communications INC , publisher of North America’s leading of B2B wholesale and manufacturer trade platforms and The Apparel Textile Sourcing trade shows are produced annually in Miami, Toronto, Montreal and Berlin.  Registration to the three-day event is free-of-charge. For more information and to register, visit

Miami’s Innovators – Get to Know the Disruptors of Trade & Logistics

How will technology and innovation continue to change our business lives? Can industry disruption transform long held business norms and traditions?

These gnawing questions motivated the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s Trade and Logistics Committee to create its Innovation Subcommittee with a mandate to identify and encourage innovation within the booming, but conventional, trade and logistics industry. An industry that is estimated to account for 20+% of Miami-Dade’s jobs.

Committee Chair Gabriel Rodriquez welcomed committee members and guests and shared his goals for the year. Namely, he spoke about a desire to see locally based businesses engage with each other and work together to increase collaboration and drive our continued success as a region. Additionally, Rodriguez reiterated a commitment to ensure businesses are connecting with the talent that is being trained by our many educational institutions.

Innovation Subcommittee Chair Nabil Malouli, VP, Global Ecommerce Lead for DHL Supply Chain invited company leaders who are disrupting the global trade and logistics space to share their company goals and the void they were seeking to fill at a recent Trade & Logistics Committee meeting.

Seven companies presented their “market – trend – solution” business plan to an audience of 100+ trade and logistics industry leaders at the Intercontinental Hotel.  The goal was to educate committee members about Miami’s innovation economy and create excitement about these budding entrepreneurs and innovative startups changing the face of trade and logistics.

Each company made a short presentation focused on: 1) explaining the critical need identified in the marketplace; 2) sharing trends and observations about their niche and most importantly; 3) explaining their solutions and business concept. Audience members followed each presentation with rapid fire questions to gain additional insights and learn more about the companies.

Get to Know the disruptors transforming South Florida’s trade and logistics industry:

MobiWork- smartphone and cloud-based software solution to manage and optimize a company’s mobile operations and workforce. Services include route planning and optimization, mobile sales orders, load management and more.

Octopi – Octopi was created to help the global trade industry operate more efficiently using modern software. They build and sell a Terminal Operating System (TOS) which helps seaport terminal operators manage their operations, track their cargo, and communicate electronically and in real-time with their commercial partners.

71 lbs. – For anyone shipping merchandise, 71 lbs. helps interpret complicated polices, rules and costs to help shippers make better business decisions and save money. Services include late delivery refunds, shipping discounts, damaged goods, carrier contract negotiations and more cost-saving

Qualitat – A Chilean, virtual reality education and training company offering modern simulated training techniques that are proven to increase adult learning comprehension and help reduce on the job accidents. Qualitat’s client list includes well-known companies such as PepsiCo and Komat’Su among others around the world.

Neighborhood Fuel – Neighborhood Fuel is an on-demand mobile gas station the delivers gas to homes, offices, company fleets, commerce parks and communities. Using a convenient mobile app, customers access on-site service, free delivery and competitive prices.

Palletized – We all know the success of co-working spaces. Palletized has pioneered the concept of co-warehousing space to meet the need of businesses needing office and warehouse space and the logistical support team to move goods.

Park-O-Truck – Lack of safe, secure parking costs the trucking industry significantly in lost time and theft. Park-O-Truck solves the truck parking challenge by connecting truckers to available parking spaces and allowing lot owners to monetize their asset during off hours.

Beacon Council CEO Michael Finney described the organization’s new B2B initiative which will connect local small businesses like the ones described above to large established companies to create opportunities to do business together. The committee’s program helped create awareness and interest in some of Miami’s most interesting entrepreneurs.

The Progressive Miami International Boat Show is back for its 78th Year, Continues its Impact in Miami

The Progressive Miami International Boat Show returns to Virginia Key from February 14-18, 2019, marking the annual event’s 78th year here in Miami. The Show is a must-see for recreational boaters, but there’s a lot more to it than just the latest and greatest in boats and marine gear.

Whether you’re a boater or not, the Show’s impact on our local economy should catch your attention. Nationally, recreational boating is a $170 billion industry – that’s according to the Boat Show’s parent organization, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). When that impressive figure is broken down by state, Florida makes up the biggest slice of the boating pie at $23.3 billion in economic impact. The Miami International Boat Show itself generates an impressive $854 million statewide economic impact every single year, greater than the impact of hosting two – yes, two – Super Bowls here in Miami-Dade County. In total, the event draws approximately 100,000 attendees each year, filling 3,000 room-nights in downtown Miami alone, and drawing visitors from 35 countries to Miami-Dade County.

If you go beyond the numbers and take a look around Miami-Dade County, it also becomes clear just how much the recreational boating industry supports our local economy and provides jobs to residents. From local marine manufacturers like SeaVee and Cigarette Racing (boats, engines, and accessories); to their suppliers, dealers and retailers; to services such as repairs and marinas; boating activities and trips; and business tax revenue, the impacts of recreational boating on Miami-Dade County are hugely beneficial to our community.

To purchase tickets to the Miami International Boat Show and get a firsthand view of just how big our local recreational boating industry is, please click here.

Fridays are for Fierce (South) Florida Females

Inspired by our Chair, Fierce Female Penny Shaffer (Market President – South Florida, Florida Blue), The Beacon Council will be joining the #FierceFemaleFriday movement. We’ll be highlighting some of our business community’s many strong, influential women on our social media platforms, as well as in our newsletter. Our goal is to inspire and empower a whole new generation of leaders by celebrating these incredible women’s many successes and sharing their stories.

While we have many Fearless Females that come to mind, we are counting on YOU to help us find the best stories to share with our community. If you are a Fearless Female doing business in Miami-Dade (or know someone who is!), please submit your nominations for consideration to Tere Garcia (


A Year in Review as Chair of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council Technology and Innovation Committee

By: Ivan Rapin-Smith

Today marks the official leadership transition of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council Technology Committee where I step down as chair. I wanted to capture the highlights of the work we did with my partner in crime Christine Johnson.


  • Core themes:
    • Raise awareness to what is available for startups and corporates who choose Miami-Dade to drive technology-enabled innovation
    • Build bridges between corporates and startups in Miami-Dade
  • Dedicated a meeting to how the Beacon Council can support entrepreneurs. See resource guide.
  • Dedicated a meeting to alternative ways to hire tech talent in Miami-Dade. See resource guide.
  • Launched a beta version of to map resources available to entrepreneurs. Visit site
  • Lots of new attendees to the meetings, great networking and new connections!

How I got Involved

When Jaret Davis, Sheldon Anderson and Larry Williams came to visit me at the Watsco office in Coconut Grove in 2016 to ask me to lead the Miami-Dade Beacon Council (MDBC) Technology Committee I wasn’t sure how to respond. I hadn’t had much exposure to the Beacon Council until then and I tend to avoid making commitments to projects that could distract me from my work at Watsco Ventures and spending time with my family.

But Jaret made the right pitch to convince me. He connected the dots between my previous roles running tech startup accelerators and my current role driving innovation for a large publicly traded company. He knew I felt strongly about connecting corporates with startups to drive innovation and growth and made a compelling case that this role would be a great additional way for me to work on that theme and support the local innovation community. His arguments combined with the quality of the interaction with Jared, Sheldon and Larry and a better understanding of MDBC’s purpose convinced me to take on the role of chair of the technology committee.

Shortly after I accepted the mission, Mike Finney became the new CEO of the Beacon Council and Christine Johnson joined the MDBC as liaison for the tech committee. Two more great people I would have the honor to work with.

A year as chair-elect

The committees run from October 1st to September 30th. For the 2016/2017 season as chair-elect I had the pleasure to work with technology committee chair Hugo Perez. Hugo was great to work with and a true team player in the preparation and hosting of the tech committee meetings during his tenure.

One Year – Five Meetings

Meeting 1 – How the Miami-Dade Beacon Council Supports Entrepreneurs

Date: January 4th 2018 / Location: Venture Cafe Miami at Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Miami, 1951 NW 7th Avenue, Miami 33136

For our first meeting we wanted to showcase the different ways in which the MDBC can support startups and entrepreneurs. I thought since I didn’t know much about what the MDBC could offer before getting involved, many others in the community would be in the same situation.

We ended the meeting showcasing some organizations that are doing interesting things in the innovation/technology area and kicked off the project.

An overview of services can be found here.

Meeting 2 – Alternative ways to hiring talent

Date: March 15th 2018 | Location: Venture Cafe Miami at CIC Miami

As we were building our product teams at Watsco Ventures, we needed to hire software developers. We decided early on to explore non-traditional channels to find talent by supporting  the local coding schools like Wyncode, Ironhack and LaunchCode. Those programs have brought us amazing, hungry, motivated developers with a strong cultural fit for our organization.

In this second meeting held at CIC we wanted to increase awareness of the  non-traditional ways to find tech talent for startups and corporates who are building software products.

Thank you to Wyncode Academy, Ironhack, Code Explorers, Tech Hire at Miami-Dade College, 4Geeks Academy, EcoTech Visions, and LaunchCode for sharing what they do in their respective organizations and for their contribution to developing tech and design talent in Miami-Dade.

An overview of the various organizations building software development and UX/UI skills can be found here.

Continuing on the theme of talent, Jaap Donath who runs Research and Planning at the MDBC shared some data on the growth of software development companies and job growth in those companies. In the ensuing conversation there was a consensus that the number of software development jobs seemed low compared to overall feeling of what is happening in Miami-Dade and we invited Jaap to join us for the next meeting to share labor statistics on technology jobs across all industries.

Meeting 3 – Mapping the players of in the innovation cycle

Date: May 10th 2018 / Location: Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, 300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132

One of the projects we signed on to support technology and innovation in Miami-Dade is to map the players in the technology and innovation ecosystem in and around Miami-Dade. The purpose of this online resource is to guide local and soon-to-be-local entrepreneurs of organizations large and small to the resources available to them to innovate, whether it’s funding, space, talent or relevant business services.

The first iteration of this project is

With the help of the local community will continue to add content and features as a community project, championed by the MDBC.

In this third meeting we wanted to have an interactive conversation with the tech committee members on what the lifecycle of innovation is and ask for their input to identify the players in Miami-Dade who play a role in this lifecycle.

This input was used to add content to the first version of the site and to identify features to add to the site to make it useful for different users.

Jaap shared some more labor stats on job growth for technology skills.  It was evident that the vibrant technology marketplace in South Florida has not been captured or well documented by the various stats available.

After the meeting we toured the Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) Experience at Miami Dade College. We were all really impressed with setup, students and staff. MAGIC represents a great example of how to combine education, the creative industry and technology.

Meeting 4- Sources of data

Date: August 9th 2018 / Location: Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA Office), 80 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33130

Continuing on the awareness theme, Jaap Donath shared some publicly available data resources available to innovators and entrepreneurs who want to learn more about the demographics of Miami-Dade. One useful resource is the Miami Dade sites website.

We also had the pleasure to hear from Daniel Stabile, an expert in the regulatory aspects of cryptocurrencies who shared some interesting perspective. It was fascinating to learn that South Florida is a hotbed for entrepreneurship in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space.

Meeting 5 – Year in Review and Passing the Baton | September 26th 2018

Date: September 27th 2018  | Location: MDBC Office

In this last meeting we reviewed the year and shared the deliverables that were created with the committee members and we gave a sneak peek of the themes Luis Tribin will be addressing as chair of the committee for the 2018/2019 season.

Continuing the work

As corporates invest in technology to create new experiences for their customers they will need access to sources of innovation and talent to develop and deploy new products and services to their customer base. Corporates have resources and a captive distribution channel to their customer base and startups bring new innovative products that can accelerate innovation. Working with the Beacon Council has been very gratifying and therefore as my role of chair of the MDBC technology comes to an end, I will continue to contribute to building bridges between corporates and startups as a way to drive technology-enabled innovation and economic growth.

People to thank

The work of the Beacon Council is possible through the generous contributions of volunteers in the community who extend the wonderful staff at the MDBC.

I would like to thank the following people for their efforts and contribution:

  • The attendees of the Tech Committee meetings. The committee meetings are a great way to network, your presence makes the meetings worthwhile.
  • Mauricio Ferrazza for the tour of MAGIC at Miami-Dade College
  • Jaap Donath & Vanja Hajdukovic at the Beacon Council for providing us with great data insights.
  • Natalia Martinez-Kalinina at the CIC for your generosity hosting multiple Beacon Council events in the past few years
  • Mike Finney for his leadership and participation in the Tech Committee meetings. We’re blessed to have you in -Dade and I look forward to continuing to work with you to drive growth through technology-enabled innovation.
  • Leigh-Ann Buchanan at Venture Cafe Miami for the brainstorming and hosting MDBC events during the Thursday Venture Cafe gathering.
  • Hugo Perez for being a great chair and paving the way for a great year 2018/2019
  • Romi Bhati, Executive Director, the Idea Center of Miami-Dade College for hosting us on May 10th and sharing the work you do at the Idea Center.
  • Sebastian Gomez for sharing his experience with the MDBC for his startup Sunvessel
  • Megan Conyers and Ezequiel Williams for helping prepare and facilitate the interactive session on May 10th meeting.
  • Joseph Hovancak for his work on One Community One Goal
  • Mario Cruz, Mauro Perez for developing the beta version of Navigate.Miami.
  • The members of the Miami Innovation Working Group (MIWG) and Ezequiel Williams (Contexto), Erik Gavin (Venture Cafe), Nigel Harris, and participants from Code for Miami for lending their time and energy to believing in the vision for Navigate.Miami.
  • Carolina Copello of FIBA for hosting us on August 9th and FIBA’s Innovation Committee Chair, Elias Tefarikis, Correspondent InnovaRock Washington and Consultant at BID, Interamerican Bank for leading the dialogue on blockchain and cryptocurrency.
  • Daniel Stabile from Shutts & Bowen for his insights in the regulatory aspects of cryptocurrencies.
  • David Coddington from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance for participating in our September meeting to share the South Florida initiative and for demoing the awesome Magic Leap device!
  • Special warm thank you to Susan Amat who gave me the opportunity to work with her to launch the Venture Hive and introduce me to the Miami community when I moved from Belgium to Miami in 2011.

And last but not least, a warm, deep genuine thank you to Christine Johnson at the MDBC. I enjoyed working with you and am I grateful for all the work you did to make these meetings and connections happen…

Helpful links and resources:

Industry Data Points (2018)

Beacon Council Resources for Entrepreneurs

Code schools in Miami beta site

Idea Center at Miami Dade College

Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) at MDC

One Community One Goal

Miami-Dade Sites (data sources)

Tech Committee Google Drive

Help us market Miami (videos):

New Miami Businesses presented with Governor’s Business Ambassador Honors

The Governor’s Office and Enterprise Florida (EFI) honored four new business ventures headquartered in Miami-Dade at their Board of Directors meeting last week. The Board and Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera presented The Governor’s Business Ambassador Award to these outstanding companies for creating new jobs and contributing to the overall business development of Miami-Dade County and the State.  Award recipients included:

  • NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises

Telemundo Center, a state-of-the-art, $250 million HQ that brings all of the company’s various arms — corporate, news department, sales, creative — under one roof.

  • Cosentino

Leading surfaces company, claims to have invented granite countertops. Family-owned, leader in design sphere. The company moved from Texas to Miami, where they traded their pick-up trucks for convertibles and love it.

  • Welwaze

This company champions women’s health via technology that delivers thermal mapping of breast tissue to monitor for abnormalities. First Welwaze went to Silicon Valley, but company owners felt they weren’t as receptive as South Florida… “Miami is home!” proclaimed Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Alex Jimenez-Ness.

  • Genius Plaza

Genius Plaza is an education platform dedicated to democratizing education, embodying the ideal that access to information equals access to opportunity. As the first multicultural education platform built for diverse communities, Genius Plaza recently moved its business to Miami from Saratoga, NY.

Before the award winners were recognized, the EFI Board heard comments from Miami-Dade Beacon Council President & CEO Michael Finney. He summarized the Amazon HQ2 experience and spoke to the regional collaboration and coordination that took place in order to successfully present a quality proposal.  “We had 120 individuals and 40 organizations involved in order for us to present this robust proposal. This is unpresented in the economic development world…The key message I want to leave you with is that these key relationships and partners are very important to our ability to compete for future economic development projects.”

Business Readiness in the Sunshine State

DEM/DEO Article – Miami Dade Beacon Council

Business Readiness in the Sunshine State

Florida is no stranger to disasters – hurricanes, floods, fires, terrorism and other potential hazards all pose a serious threat to businesses statewide. But Florida’s business owners know that the steps they take today to prepare can make the difference for maintaining business operations when a disaster strikes.

Business Continuity | Get Started Today

Build your business’ resiliency by assessing your risk and developing a business disaster plan. Take advantage of any local resources or training seminars or webinars offered to support your business readiness. Do not wait for the next disaster. Take steps now to develop a plan for your business:

Identify your risk | Where is your business located? You may need to plan for mandatory evacuation orders, road closures or flooding. Contact your insurance provider to ensure you understand your coverage and that it is sufficient to maintain business operations.

Contacting Employees and Business Stakeholders | Save emergency contact lists with your business disaster continuity plan so that you can easily access them whether or not you are in your physical business location. Identify ways that you can reach your employees, vendors, service providers and customers to update them on your business’s operations.

Promote Disaster Preparedness | Encourage those critical to your business to develop individual and family disaster plans. The quicker they can recover personally, the quicker they can return to work and continue business operations.

Back-Up | If your business is damaged or destroyed by a disaster, can you relocate? What critical equipment do you have that is necessary to maintain day-to-day operations? Where are your business records? Ensuring you protect these critical items and have back-up plans will greatly support your business recovery efforts.

Stay Informed | When disaster is imminent, how will you receive emergency notifications for your business? Monitor traditional and social media for regular updates, as well as supply your business with a NOAA Weather Radio. Register to receive local emergency alert notifications for critical alerts by visiting Take advantage of all available information and resource sharing sites.

Florida’s new website, specifically caters to the private sector by providing real-time updates during an event to ensure owners take the necessary steps to protect their business in a disaster. is a new website developed to provide businesses, small and large, easy access to critical information before, during and after a disaster. The State Emergency Response Team’s Emergency Support Function 18, Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization, works closely with local, state and federal partners to provide users verified, accurate and timely information so they can make decisions to help their business recover more quickly after a disaster.

Stay in the know! Register your business today to view resources, begin your business disaster continuity plan and cultivate a culture of preparedness in the workplace. More importantly, when disaster strikes, monitor the site for regular situational reports from the state emergency operations center, as well as maintain awareness of major road closures, evacuation orders and curfews across the state, as they may affect your business.

Emergency Support Function 18 | Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization

When disaster strikes in the state of Florida and the situation has outgrown the scope of local government, the Florida State Emergency Response Team activates to support local emergency management to serve impacted residents and businesses.

Within the State Emergency Response Team, Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 coordinates the needs of the private sector with local, state and federal agencies during the response and recovery of a disaster. Establishing public-private partnerships prior to a disaster enables ESF 18 to identify the needs of the private sector, as well as to identify resources available from private sector partners to support response and recovery operations for all Floridians. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) leads ESF 18, with support from the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM).

For information about Emergency Support Function 18 and Florida’s Public Private Partnerships, please email