Startup Florida launches at Global Entrepreneurship Week event
By Nancy Dahlberg The Miami Herald

Startup Florida, an initiative to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses in high-growth industries, launched on Friday in South Florida, as well as in Tampa and Orlando. It is part of the Startup America program announced by the White House in January.
The new program, which brings together universities, incubators, law and accounting firms, investors, large companies and government, aims to provide high-growth businesses in healthcare, energy and technologywith what they need in both their “ramp up” and “speed up” phases, including help with capital-raising, marketing and technology, said Maria Hernandez, director of strategy and transformation for IBM and an advisory board member for St. Thomas University. Founding partners in the South Florida program include the Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida, IBM Corp., St. Thomas’ School of Business, InternetCoast and the Launch Pad of the University of Miami.
“When I heard President Obama announce it back in January, I said wow, we need this… what we need most is job growth,“ said Hernandez, who was the catalyst behind bringing the groups together. “There are great institutions down here but there was a gap in connecting them so entrepreneurs can easily find the help that they need. Startup Florida is about building the ecosystem for accelerating growth and innovation.”
The program was announced at an afternoon Global Entrepreneurship Week ceremony at St. Thomas, which included elevator pitches by entrepreneurs and a presentation by Scott Case, the CEO of Startup America and one of the founders of Priceline. Other speakers and panelists included Mark Wyllie, Flagship Solutions, Jane Teague, Enterprise Development Corp., Albert Santalo, CareCloud; John Duffy, 3Cinteractive, and Jose-MariaBlanc, Intel Capital.

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