February 29, 2024

Women Leaders

No barriers: Women foster Miami's entrepreneurial growth

Women are playing a crucial role in fostering Miami's entrepreneurial growth.

Doreen Hemlock | 10/26/2018

Women head many of the key incubator and accelerator programs in Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. One factor in the emergence of a concentration of women leaders is the lack of an old boys’ network in the relatively new accelerator space, the women say. What’s more, members of Miami’s relatively young business community and its very young entrepreneurial ecosystem are generally eager to learn from the experiences and mistakes of other regions. “We don’t have to go through the same growing pains,” says Julia Ford- Carther. “We can look at the positive and negative in more established markets, improve on what they’re doing and customize it for our city.”

The Knight Foundation, which gave seed money to many of Miami’s startup and entrepreneurship programs, adopted that strategy intentionally. Matt Haggman, the foundation’s former Miami director, made an effort to ensure diversity in the startup community, both in nationality and in gender, says Michelle Abbs. Because women tend to have different leadership styles than men and because investors often follow patterns of previous successes, the push to help female-led companies and organizations in the city “really gives us an advantage in entrepreneurship long term,” Abbs says.

  • Julia Ford-Carther co-founded Aminta Ventures, which helps women take their first steps in angel investing.
  • Susan Amat, a serial entrepreneur who founded The Launch Pad at the University of Miami a decade ago, now runs Venture Hive, an incubator and accelerator that also offers education programs for startup leaders. She co-founded Venture Hive with her husband, Luis Amat.
  • Felecia Hatcher co-founded and runs Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab and BlackTech Week, the East Coast’s largest tech and startup conference for black entrepreneurs. She also launched the non-profit Code Fever coding school for youths.
  • Harvard MBA Laura Maydón directs the 5-year-old Miami office of Endeavor, the global non-profit that helps entrepreneurs scale their ventures.
  • Columbia MBA Ana Paula González heads up the Miami office of Silicon Valley’s $400-million fund 500 Startups.
  • On the finance side, the co-founders of TheVentureCity — former Facebook exec Laura González-Estéfani and banking veteran Clara Bullrich — run a $100-million fund for tech entrepreneurs.
  • Michelle Abbs is program director for the 3-year-old Babson Miami-WIN Lab, which helps female entrepreneurs grow their ventures.


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