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Turning South Florida into the tech hub of the east coast through providing a qualified STEM workforce in order to attract the most influential STEM companies is no small feat, however, here at Manifezt we know Rome was not built in a day.  It took a lot of resources and different people coming together to make that happen, as will transforming the economy of South Florida.  Through the build-up and expansion of Wynwood, Miami is evolving from a leisure city where you needed to be in the elite to enjoy its lifestyle, to one where people from different socioeconomic backgrounds socialize and work together in the upcoming local tech community.  Wynwood Fund is a real estate investment group actively involved in Miami, and thankfully, their CEO Matthieu Merchadou Melki identifies with our mission so much he intends to offer his expertise and connections to help us achieve our goal.

According to a report released by the CBRE, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami rank #2 and #4 respectively in tech talent momentum markets nationwide – a reliable indicator of tech job growth in a given area.  Through his new venture “Art of Miami” which stands for architecture and technology, Matthieu will be a key part of the continued growth of this trend through redeveloping downtown Miami with smart buildings and architecture that will allow the deployment of new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotics, and blockchain technology. The developments they are creating are crucial to facilitate the transformation that will affect most industries over the next few years. Estimates predict that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT as we make the digital transition into a connected world with smart cities, and the plan is to ensure a large amount of that investment comes to Miami and it creates jobs for the people living here.  One of our other advisory board members, Greg Link, is part of the largest tech company based in Florida capturing the attention of both the tech and finance worlds, Magic Leap.

Kyle Vaughn is a Miami native, transplanted to Atlanta, that has always been passionate about giving back to the community, as displayed in his work experience through his involvement in The Center for Working Families and Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) as a member of their Board of Directors.  Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media, and automotive services company. With revenues exceeding $20 billion and approximately 60,000 employees, the company’s major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications (cable television distribution, high-speed Internet access, telephone, home security and automation, commercial telecommunications and advertising solutions); Cox Automotive (automotive-related auctions, financial services, media and software solutions); and Cox Media Group (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers and advertising sales rep firms).

The company’s major national brands include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Through Cox Automotive, the company’s international operations stretch across Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America.  He brings years of technology & marketing experience to the table that we can leverage to ensure our message is heard here in South Florida and nationwide.  Additionally, through the connections he has built up working for such a prestigious company we anticipate that he will be able to help connect us to other individuals and organizations that identify with, and want to support our mission – transitioning the local economy in South Florida from one built on hospitality to one centered around STEM by creating a qualified, skilled workforce.

Through our well-connected advisory board, we anticipate being able to predict exactly where the jobs of the future will go, and through their support, we will directly receive information on the opportunities likely to be created here in South Florida.  With that knowledge, we can ensure we are designing a curriculum that specifically tailors to the future needs of the local job market, placing us in a unique position to play a huge role in South Florida’s transformation.  As we are also developing a job board available only to our program volunteers through our advisory board and partnerships with local staffing agencies, we are creating a pipeline that encourages underprivileged and middle-class youth here in South Florida to participate in STEM, attend a local university, and then helps place them in fulfilling careers at successful companies that recognize the importance of giving back to the community.