State-of-the-art Microsoft facility offers Miami-area residents programs and services to foster innovation, collaboration and community engagement.
MIAMI — May 2, 2014— Microsoft Corp. announced Friday its plans to open the first U.S.-based Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) later this spring. Located in Miami, Florida, the center will be equipped with the latest technology and tools to help drive job creation, increase the number and availability of highly skilled technology specialists, and facilitate collaboration among a variety of diverse groups in the greater Miami area. This facility will be the first of a series of new Microsoft Innovation Centers to be established across the United States, and will also serve as the flagship technology center connecting Miami to key communities in the Latin American (LATAM) region.
As part of the kickoff to Techweek Miami 2014, City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Dr. Susan Amat, founder of Venture Hive, joined Microsoft executives to make the announcement. Venture Hive will host the Microsoft Innovation Center at its downtown Miami location.
“The opening of the Microsoft Innovation Center in Miami signals our commitment to providing our cities and local communities with resources and technology that help spur economic development and create opportunities for shared learning,” said Sanket Akerkar, vice president of Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft. “By building the center in the heart of Miami and making it available to the people, especially youth and students, we’re helping empower the city to become a more prosperous place to live and work.” The Miami MIC will specifically target four primary audiences:
Academia.The Miami MIC will provide students with a welcoming space to learn about and receive training from skilled specialists regarding the tools and technologies being used for specific courses or curriculum. In addition, the facility will help students build portfolios and experiential opportunities for better workforce preparedness. Meanwhile, the MIC will offer faculty an open, physical location to ask questions and receive guidance on curriculum development and research projects.
Startups.The Miami MIC will provide entrepreneurs and startups with access to skills and development trainings, mentoring and networking opportunities, and membership in Microsoft BizSpark. This membership includes access to software, developer tools, services and support. With access to the MIC facility, Microsoft technology experts, and the latest in hardware and devices, entrepreneurs and startups can receive help to further develop their ideas and test solutions.
Government.The Miami MIC will provide a source for job creation as it allows government organizations access to an increased pool of highly skilled workers who have an extensive understanding of technology. Further, the MIC will help put Miami on the map as a center for international innovation and growth.
Local and LATAM community.The Miami MIC will provide the local community with access to the latest and greatest in technology, both Microsoft solutions and those provided by community partners. It will offer citizens a space to learn how technology works and how it can be used to create a real impact. In addition, the MIC will serve as the gateway to the LATAM region.
“The Microsoft Innovation Center in Miami has all of the leading-edge tools and technologies needed to motivate our citizens to innovate and grow,” said Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade County. “With all of the training services and engagement opportunities available, the facility will undoubtedly help Miami further transform into a 21st century city.”
“Having the first Microsoft Innovation Center in the U.S. located in Miami demonstrates that our technology community is not only growing, it’s thriving,” said Tomas Regalado, mayor of the City of Miami. “The access we’ll have to top technology and highly specialized workers will be immensely valuable in developing and sustaining our communities — both locally and worldwide.”
Microsoft and Venture Hive have already been working together to help local businesses and startups use technology and tools to fuel development and growth. As part of this collaboration, new and emerging companies have reaped the benefits.
“Both Microsoft and Venture Hive were a central piece for my company’s development and growth,” said Alejandro Muther, chief executive officer of Kimetrics. “They provided us with the technical and managerial tools to help create a successful company. Particularly in our case, that gave us the opportunity to enter the U.S. market. I can only imagine what the Microsoft Innovation Center in Miami will be able to do for people in Miami with the same dreams we had.”
This specific MIC has been established as part of the Microsoft CityNext initiative, a program focused on accelerating innovation in urban areas by harnessing the ideas, energy and expertise of local people to create a healthier, safer and more sustainable place to live. Through CityNext, cities and counties enter into long-term working relationships with Microsoft, and these relationships are documented in alliance agreements. An example of this is the Miami-Dade CityNext Digital Alliance, whose goal is to explore how Microsoft and the county can work together to respond to some of Miami-Dade’s biggest priorities, challenges and initiatives. In addition to support from Miami-Dade County, the Miami MIC has been made possible by a number of local partners, including the city of Miami, Venture Hive, academia, and several startups within the community.