This March, our BGV Chapter Spotlight Series is focused on Miami! Miami is a hotbed for innovation and one of the most exciting cities for entrepreneurs. From tech to arts to health and wellness, the city is bustling with creative ideas and ventures. Our Miami Venture Board is deeply embedded in the startup community and is mapping out the local ecosystem to connect Black and Brown women founders with the best resources and opportunities. Here’s what BGV Change Agents LaToya Stirrup, Lisa Wilkinson, Michelle McKoy, and Benita Gordon had to say about the hottest business trends in Miami this year!
“We are good at starting new ventures but need work when it comes to growth and scaling. Black Girl Ventures Miami is entering into the ecosystem to help fill this gap and support the budding entrepreneurial scene in Miami.” - LaToya A. Stirrup
LaToya A. Stirrup, Black Girl Ventures Miami Venture Board Team Lead, cut her teeth in the ad agency world managing award-winning campaigns before launching her own venture, a haircare company called KAZMALEJE. She is also a founding member of tech and social impact accelerator Digital Grass Innovation & Technology. LaToya gave us an overview of the Miami startup landscape.
“In 2017, Miami (which includes the tri-county area) ranked #1 among the 40 largest metro areas in the U.S. for startup activity, according to the Kauffman Foundation's 2017 Index of Startup Activity. While this spurred a sense of excitement and focus on the Miami-Metro Area, the flip side to this is that Miami ranked low in terms of startup growth,” she told us. “This means we are good at starting new ventures but need work when it comes to growth and scaling. Luckily, new organizations, accelerators, and hubs - like Black Girl Ventures Miami - are entering into the ecosystem to help fill this gap and support the budding entrepreneurial scene in Miami.”
“There seems to be a national push toward the Black community acknowledging the importance of good mental hygiene. I’m noticing more intersection between mental health and technology to help people access mental health resources.” - Lisa Wilkinson
Lisa Wilkinson, Black Girl Ventures Miami Venture Board Admin & Finance Lead, is a licensed mental health professional with degrees in psychology, marriage and family therapy, and behavioral analysis. She is the Chief Consultant at Behavioral Health & Wellness Consulting Group. Lisa is excited to see an increase in businesses related to Mental Health.
“There seems to be a national push toward the Black community acknowledging the importance of good mental hygiene and increasing the resources that are available for mental health,” she said. “Miami is no exception. I’m noticing more intersection between mental health and technology, i.e. more apps, etc., to help people access mental health resources.”
"The most interesting trend in Miami is the expansion of art, tech, and innovation. It's an exciting time to create foundations.” - Michelle McKoy
Michelle McKoy, Black Girl Ventures Miami Venture Board Sponsorships & Partnerships Lead, promoting VR education as the co-founder of Miami VR Expo and the Miami Chapter President for the Virtual Reality Augmented Reality Association. Passionate about tech, film and the arts, she also sits on the Miami Dade Film and Entertainment Advisory Board.
She is excited about the expansion of art, tech, and innovation in Miami, telling us that “it’s an exciting time to create foundations.” Michelle notes the rapid changes in the city’s landscape and demographics, ranging from “the gentrification of historic neighborhoods in the name of ‘community development’ to innovative cultured public spaces to the ever-growing demographic of millennials choosing Miami as home.”
“The trend right now is VARIETY just like our team BGV305. We are seeing several different organizations hosting startup pitch competitions geared towards a variety of entrepreneurs.”
- Benita Gordon
Benita Gordon, Black Girl Ventures Miami Venture Board Community Management Lead, is a lifelong educator and the founder of Just Teach Educational Consulting and PhotographyByCherell. “Miami is always growing and the heat is always on! The trend right now is VARIETY just like our team BGV305. We are seeing several different organizations hosting startup pitch competitions geared towards a variety of entrepreneurs.
This month alone we have the Miami Jazz in the Gardens, the Miami Herald Startup Pitch Event and our very own launch party!!” she enthused. “What is hot in Miami right now? MINORITY FEMALE BUSINESS OWNERS!” Benita is proud to see an increase in Miami’s women of color-owned businesses and celebrates the founders’ resilience throughout the entrepreneurial journey, “from creating and developing what is in their head for a business to paper all the way to monetizing their business, to developing a business plan, and then to pitching that idea on several different platforms to help invest and grow their business.”
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