A U.S. first: Microsoft Innovation Center aims to spur Miami growth

Wed, 2014-05-07 06:00 -- Doug Cooley

You can find a Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) in more than 100 countries around the world. But, until now, you couldn’t find one in the United States.

Microsoft has announced the opening its first U.S.-based Innovation Center in downtown Miami where a comprehensive set of technology, tools and services will be offered to startups, governments, students and faculty. The goal is to foster innovation and economic growth in the Miami community and create a flagship technology center that connects Miami to key communities in the Latin American region.

Because commercial software can be a sparkplug for long-term economic growth, SCC Global Partner Microsoft has to date focused on establishing innovation centers in developing regions of the world.

Sanket Akerkar, vice president of Developer & Platform Evangelism for Microsoft, gave additional details in his blog, noting that the Miami MIC will be developed and operated in partnership with Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, Venture Hive and others. It will host technology trainings and workshops to help citizens learn more about technology and grow and hone their IT skills. The facility will also provide entrepreneurs, prospective startups and governments with access to networking opportunities and potential talent for future job opportunities.

Akerkar adds that the Miami facility is also envisioned to serve as a gateway connecting the U.S. to the Latin America region, providing Latin American industries and businesses access to a pool of dependable and tech-savvy interns and potential full-time employees. Moreover, it can offer Miami’s tourism and travel industry access to this strong talent pool, and help attract other tourism-based businesses to open offices in the city.

Microsoft is launching the Miami MIC as part of its 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. CityNext is a good example of how the technology industry is working to help bring smart city ideas into action. The "Ideas to Action" chapter in the Smart City Council Readiness Guide explores additional ways to translate smart city concepts into on-the-ground realities.