May 24, 2024


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StartUP FIU fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship at FIU and beyond | FIU News

By Irene Ferradaz

Just about everywhere you go these times, Miami is abuzz with the energy of revolutionary systems, dazzling new inventions and reports on the imaginative entrepreneurs who transform these thoughts into reality. As Miami Tech Month comes to an finish, the enjoyment is just having commenced.

Back when our city’s tech motion was just beginning, Florida International College determined the want to nurture those people initiatives. StartUP FIU was established to foster and support innovation and entrepreneurship at FIU and further than.

FIU Information interviewed Emily Gresham, assistant vice president for study, innovation and financial advancement and co-founder of StartUP FIU, to master much more about how StartUP FIU commenced, how it supports learners, school and community group business owners, and what’s in retail store for the potential.

What prompted you and StartUP FIU co-founder Robert “Bob” Hacker to create StartUP FIU?

Consider it or not, StartUP FIU was born while I was performing on the University’s BeyondPossible2020 strategic plan in 2014. Though making this formidable prepare for FIU, I had the chance to meet up with and converse to about 200 people who served on several committees. 1 of the topics that constantly came up was the need for infrastructure to assistance innovation and entrepreneurship.

I basically satisfied Bob at a social entrepreneurship committee and we started our conversation not agreeing on how to develop infrastructure for entrepreneurship. I keep in mind he instructed me: “That will in no way operate!” in his growly voice and my reaction was to get curious: “It won’t get the job done? Notify me much more.”

This served as the jumping-off level to take a look at how we could nurture the Miami entrepreneurial ecosystem at FIU. As we saw the promise of the nascent tech local community in Miami, we knew it would only proceed to improve and that FIU should perform a considerable role in getting ready individuals for the alternatives and problems to come.

StartUP FIU supports students, faculty and scientists and local group entrepreneurs. What do you look at to be the most important positive aspects StartUP FIU provides every single of these stakeholders?

I normally say we support persons acquire a roadmap to get them from wherever they are with their suggestions/inventions/corporations to the place they want to go.

Our students, college and little business homeowners operate the gamut from folks who are tinkering all over with an thought to individuals who require support growing their existing organization.

Our goal is to offer entrepreneurs with details and a plan to properly help them advance their aims. We have the packages, resources and network to help them get there.

We know that StartUP FIU works with college students and school and scientists, but how do you assist the bigger South Florida neighborhood?

As Miami’s only general public study college, we experience a obligation to go outdoors our campus walls and support area community business people by leveraging our special sources.

I am so very pleased to report that all of our 65 tiny business cohort businesses made it through the pandemic. We also had unparalleled attendance at our virtual functions, serving practically 2,500 nearby compact businesses.

Doing the job with the tiny company local community in the course of the pandemic, we observed the need to pool methods, and merged StartUP FIU Food stuff and StartUP FIU Procurement into StartUP FIU Local to diversify and streamline our solutions to assistance even far more.

Furthermore, we do the job carefully with FIU’s incredible faculty and workers to leverage their industry know-how for our entrepreneurs. We also employ the one-of-a-variety services on campus – this kind of as our business kitchen at the Chaplin School and the Engineering Center’s fabrication lab – to help small corporations grow their firms.

You will not uncover numerous applications as in depth, collaborative and custom-made as StartUP FIU.

What are some of StartUP FIU’s accomplishments you are most proud of?

If we’re conversing strictly figures, I am most very pleased that our group has attracted additional than $12 million in funding, has informed and educated 14,000 individuals who have appear to our functions, and labored with over 300 firms at many stages of their lifestyle cycle, including 24 pupil-started out corporations. We’ve assisted our pupils elevate $50,000 in prize funds, been instrumental in instructing regional entrepreneurs how to improve their revenue from 20% to 300% and attracted a lot more than $10 million in comply with-on funding. We enhanced school innovation as very well, assisting to increase the quantity of NSF I-Corps groups by 200% in just the very last 4 decades.

However, one particular of the most crucial items about StartUP FIU is we’re not just about starting organizations.

Just take, for case in point, our college students. Regardless of whether or not they ever start off their possess company, the competencies they master at StartUP FIU – pitching, money types, worth proposition – establish up their confidence and make them come to feel like they belong in a room with sector leaders and traders. Numerous of our students are approved to prestigious graduate school packages, these types of as Harvard and MIT, and attain work with main corporations like Accenture, Amazon and Microsoft.

Our specially-developed systems permit school to learn precious startup capabilities this sort of as purchaser discovery and item roadmaps. This allows them strengthen their investigation strategy as well as safe extra grants. All those we have worked with at StartUP FIU have grown enormously under our guidance – be that economically, intellectually or individually – which provides us a perception of deep gratification and is anything we can all be proud of.

What are some of your beloved “standout” or “success” tales?

There are so several! We have Jason Dettbarn, the FIU alumnus who created Addigy and was capable to scale his enterprise from two to 50+ workers and Jose Maldonado, who worked on Pilot VR, a virtual actuality system for physical treatment as a student. He also assisted co-uncovered the prestigious Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) when hanging out with his mates at StartUP FIU’s hub. He’s now functioning at Microsoft but nonetheless engages with UPE and assists current FIU college students with their tech interviews!

You can find also Patricia Garcia, who won Undertaking Bites, a college student opposition hosted by Miami Angels and Mayor Suarez, past 12 months. She was a member of one of only two feminine-led teams (out of five whole), both from FIU. Even our alumni team are accomplishment tales. Daniela Cadena now will work for Chiper, a B2B e-commerce ecosystem for the corner retail outlet industry in Latin America that just raised a Collection A. Giselle Latorre now will work at Virgin Voyages managing Studying Approach & Company Encounter! And Alexandria Alvarido is now a product supervisor at Juniper by IMC, an on the net wholesale market. We hired these a few ladies new from graduating from FIU…now 6 decades later, they are astounding supervisors in the business.

We simply cannot hold out to proceed sharing our wonderful stories of those who’ve leveraged all StartUP FIU has to give to make successful futures for on their own.

What are some last ideas about StartUP FIU you want to share?

We are about more than startups. We collaborate across the university and group to develop a tradition of innovation.

I also oversee our Technological know-how Administration and Commercialization workplace. When StartUP FIU launched in the Drop of 2016, FIU experienced a overall of 18 patents. Now, we have just about 350! We are just having begun. It is a marathon, not a sprint – but we are starting to get tangible illustrations of that lifestyle shift.