April 16, 2014

technology

Startup Company Support

Incubate Miami Incubate Miami aims to keep entrepreneurs in Miami.

Every year, numerous technology startups leave the Miami area for other parts of the country. Backers of the county’s first technology startup incubator, Incubate Miami, are moving to stem that tide. The incubator, which opened in December, is run by the non-profit Enterprise Development Corp., tasked by the state with nurturing emerging science and technology companies.

"The incubator was one of the glaring vacancies in the market. Having a place to nurture young ideas and new companies is something that Miami has needed," says Marc Billings, the Miami technology entrepreneur who approached the EDC about starting the incubator.

Incubate Miami is housed in a downtown building that was retrofitted during the dot-com boom as a "telecom hotel" with tier 1 high-speed internet connectivity. The incubator offers discounted rent, professional advice, shared conference and other facilities, mentoring services and plenty of networking to startup and early-stage technology-related companies. It also provides many of those same services to non-resident companies.

Until now the EDC’s only incubator was in Boca Raton at Florida Atlantic University Research Park. "We’ve barely begun talking about this, and the phones are ringing off the hook," says EDC Executive Director Jane Teague. "People are hungry for a focal point."

Marc Billings
Marc Billings
Incubate Miami resident companies sublet space from an affiliate of Billings’ company, data connectivity and internet support firm Digiport, and have access to its data center and services. Billings says his company makes no money on the space; all rent goes to the building’s owner.

A county grant covers Incubate Miami’s 2010 budget of $156,000, which includes an onsite project manager, shared facilities and training sessions.

Digiport already has several technology companies in the building that houses the incubator, including seven early-stage firms. The incubator — at 7,500 square feet but with room to expand — had three tenants as of January.

"We’re losing companies to other areas of the country right now," Billings says. "Anytime we lose (them), we’re losing their tax base; we’re losing their revenue base; we’re losing their job creation. And that affects every one of us."

Tags: Florida Small Business, Miami-Dade, Entrepreneur

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