“Silicon Beach” is for real, say panelists at the Entrepreneurs in Tech forum.

While people debate whether the greater Miami-Dade area can rightfully be called Silicon Beach, a group of local experts gave the idea an enthusiastic “yes” and shared information about how entrepreneurs can make the most of local opportunities during the Entrepreneurs in Tech forum on February 18, 2014.

This event, hosted by the Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center at Florida International University (FIU) in partnership with Career Management Services of FIU’s College of Business, drew a crowd of more than 50 entrepreneurs and students.

Moderator Mike Tomas (BA ’90), CEO of BioHeart, Inc., led the discussion with four panelists, each from a company with headquarters or offices in Miami. They were:

  • Brian Brackeen, founder of CEO, Kairos
  • Nabyl Charania, managing director, Rokk3r Labs
  • Xavier Gonzalez, executive director, Technology Foundation of the Americas
  • Felice Gorordo, president and CEO, ClearPath

“The purpose of the discussion was to highlight the significant changes that are happening in South Florida as high tech entrepreneurship is finding a real home right here,” says event organizer Karyne Bury (MBA ’08), marketing and events manager for the Pino Center.

The panel discussed existing high tech entrepreneurship and the sizable potential for even more growth in the South Florida area, regarded as an international gateway. Many of the tech support personnel in California’s Silicon Valley are actually people from Miami who want to come home, panelists said..

Learning, growing and networking in an entrepreneurial ecosystem is emphasized.

Entrepreneurs were encouraged to make sure they have more than a good idea. Investors place very high importance on the business owner himself or herself, making sure they have the energy, stamina and talent to grow a company.

The panelists recommended that entrepreneurs take advantage of educational opportunities. They pointed out that partnerships and synergy between businesses and universities are growing as the business world relies heavily on educational systems to produce needed talent.

“The panelists said that entrepreneurs need to reach out and network with each other and with people who can provide guidance,” Bury said. “They also discussed the sizable benefits of accelerator and incubator programs in an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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