By Nancy Dahlberg The Miami Herald.
Technology, healthcare, education services, creative industries and food/beverage are entrepreneurial industries that play to Miami's strengths and appear to have the strongest growth potential in the local innovation economy, a new report by Endeavor Miami finds.
Endeavor Miami, a nonprofit organization that selects, supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs, produced a report in order to get a better reading on where Miami's entrepreneurial economy may be headed.
"I believe that Miami is beginning to define itself as an entrepreneurial community," said Endeavor Miami Managing Director Laura Maydón. "Over time, industries with competitive advantages in South Florida versus other ecosystems will be able to attract resources faster and will have a higher impact in the economic development of our community. This report allows us to have a strategic view of where South Florida's entrepreneurial movement is growing."
Maydón said people sometimes think that entrepreneurship is mostly related to tech but the report shows that there is strong entrepreneurial activity in several industries. The report also shows in what sectors there is an opportunity to innovate and differentiate South Florida, but resources have to be allocated not to miss that opportunity, such as in education, she said. Here are a few highlights of the report released this week and available on EndeavorMiami.org.
--Software rules: The technology industry shows potential as a leading industry for entrepreneurial activity in South Florida because of the strong infrastructure of support services, including eMerge Americas, the Idea Center at Miami Dade College, Venture Hive and Refresh Miami. The best evidence of promise is the investment progress: The software and technology sector was among the most active in South Florida in 2014 in venture funding. Furthermore, software and tech jobs are expected to grow faster than overall employment growth in South Florida -- 1.6 percent average annual growth compared to 1.2 percent. In addition, the report found that jobs in this sector are expected to grow from about 36,000 in 2014 to 40,000 in 2022, the report found.
--Healthcare has a healthy heartbeat: Success stories, a large mentor network and access to a talent pool are helping to drive substantial progress in entrepreneurship in the healthcare and medical technology sector. Indeed, the sector received the second-highest level of investment in South Florida (and this trend is accelerating in 2015). Growth in the talent pool is expected to accelerate with the number of biomedical engineers expected to grow 5.3 percent annually from 2014 to 2022, while the numbers of mechanical and electrical engineers are expected to grow 1.4 percent, all outpacing the average annual growth rate for all South Florida occupations.
--It's not only about tech: Food and beverage could sizzle for entrepreneurial activity because the ingredients are already here. Miami has been outperforming the rest of the state in food service earnings growth, while the number of firms and sector employment have also been increasing. There's a foodie culture here, expertise, a talent base and educational opportunities to augment progress. Still, South Florida entrepreneurial investment in this sector has been sorely lagging, forcing entrepreneurs to go elsewhere for funding, the report said. Notably, three selected Endeavor Miami companies are in this sector: My Ceviche, DeliverLean and ginnybakes.
--Innovation gets creative: Similarly, the creative industries sector is seen as a leading player in entrepreneurial growth because of the infrastructure already in place: a pool of multicultural professionals, a burgeoning art scene and a growing network of TV production facilities, fashion designer icons and renowned art events. Some trending areas entrepreneurs could take a leading role in include solutions for making the supply chain more efficient; data analytics for retailers, brands and suppliers; wearable technology; leveraging video and social media for more consumer interaction; and Internet advertising.
--Leading education innovation: Education services have underperformed in earnings, but healthy job growth reflects the potential need for more innovation in the industry. While private investment has been low, public investment in the classroom has been a bright spot and "leaders recognize that education is an important area to innovate in if our community is to flourish," the report said. Game-based learning, online and hybrid learning, and data-driven learning and assessment are a few of the trends driving innovation in South Florida's education services sector.
"Endeavor Miami will continue to look for the best high-impact entrepreneurs across industries; that won't change," said Maydón. "But the report provides us with guidance of where South Florida is growing and allows us to be more strategic about our sourcing. It also helps me think about what type of mentor capabilities and partners will be needed by our entrepreneurs as they continue to develop themselves within those verticals. The more entrepreneurial activity within one industry, the faster that sector will attract the resources needed to grow."
Endeavor Miami launched in 2013 with significant funding from the Knight Foundation and Endeavor Miami's local board; Endeavor Miami was the global nonprofit's first U.S. program. In the past two years, Endeavor has screened 211 companies. Through an extensive selection process that culminated in judging by international selection panels, 11 companies with 17 entrepreneurs are now Endeavor Entrepreneurs, joining the global network of more than 1,100 entrepreneurs in 25 countries.
Together these 11 companies generated more than $60 million in revenue and more than 1,200 jobs. Forty-nine mentors have donated 781 hours since 2013, and 12 of them sit on Endeavor Miami Entrepreneurs' advisory boards. In addition to receiving mentorship and introductions, Endeavor companies have participated in or have been supported by programs such as EY's Growth Navigator, Bain & Company's "Externship" program, Harvard and Stanford business schools and Kellogg's executive MBA program. Endeavor banks on the multiplier effect: These high-growth companies not only generate jobs, but their founders become role models and leaders in the entrepreneurship community, inspiring and mentoring future generations to think big and pursue high-growth entrepreneurship.