Launching February 2016, PowerMoves Miami will provide high-impact
entrepreneurs of color with mentors, capital and support.
MIAMI — PowerMoves, a national initiative to increase the number of venture-backed, high-growth and high-tech companies led by entrepreneurs of color, will open in Miami in February 2016. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $1.2 million to support the launch of PowerMoves Miami.
While black and Hispanic students earn nearly 20 percent of computer science degrees, they make up only 9 percent of the technology industry and less than 1 percent of technology company founders. To help close this gap, PowerMoves began in 2014 as a hyperlocal program to position New Orleans as a hub for entrepreneurs of color. Since then, it has rapidly grown to become a national initiative, connecting entrepreneurs of color to mentors, capital, support and investment opportunities. It has helped 100 companies from across the country secure more than $27 million in capital commitments.
Miami will be the first city outside of New Orleans to host a PowerMoves office and year-round programming, including pitch competitions, boot camps, networking events and fellowships. The local office will also provide a space for entrepreneurs to grow ideas and collaborate. A community manager, working with a team of entrepreneurs-in-residence and mentors, will help local entrepreneurs refine their business models and market strategies, as well as connect them with advisers and capital to launch and scale their businesses.
“We are excited to establish a strong local presence in Miami, a city with a strong appetite for entrepreneurship and a growing community of innovators,” said Earl Robinson, the CEO of PowerMoves. “This ‘long view’ strategy will enrich the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by broadening participation to include typically underrepresented groups, like African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. It will also grow the Miami early-stage deal footprint as these entrepreneurs will add compelling businesses to the pool of Miami investment opportunities.”
“The wealth of talent, experience and innovation that comes with diversity is often lost because minority entrepreneurs do not have the same access to capital and support that is necessary to grow their businesses and develop their ideas,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “In Miami we have seen great progress in building an inclusive startup community that is representative of our diversity—but we have to do more. PowerMoves will help establish pathways to opportunity for black entrepreneurs and others working to make Miami a global innovation hub.”
PowerMoves Miami will host monthly public meetups across the city. In addition, PowerMoves boot camps will include up to six weeks of virtual classroom participation with advisers and entrepreneurs, and include three days of intensive in-person classroom development. Six high-growth entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in a 12-month PowerMoves Miami Fellowship. The fellowship includes free rent at a local co-working space, ongoing mentoring and coaching, connections to potential customers and advisers, investment capital and in-kind legal, marketing and financial services.
PowerMoves Miami will launch on Feb. 15, 2016 in conjunction with Black Tech Week, for which Knight is the founding sponsor.PowerMoves has helped source talent from across the country to participate in the weeklong series of entrepreneurship events as part of Black Tech Week from Feb. 14-Feb. 20.
In spring 2015 PowerMoves expanded outside New Orleans and held a pitch competition and business event in Detroit, another community where Knight invests. The event was supported by Knight Foundation in collaboration with other partners. Programs in additional cities will be announced in the coming year.
Support for PowerMoves Miami is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past three years, Knight has made more than 100 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.