Underground silos are built to launch Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles – three African American women served as the brains that assisted NASA in launching John Glen into orbit and on January 18th Dr. Pandwe Gibson launched her Eco Tech Visions 2017 business incubator to create an ecosystem to help sustain the planet by growing green companies right in the heart of Miami.
EcoTech Visions not only assists ecopreneurs with the development of products made with recycled materials to help sustain the environment – but they also cultivate environmentally-conscious ideas pertaining to renewable energy.
Carlos Vazquez, Instructor of EcoTech’s Digital Citizens Bootcamp, was the moderator during the night’s event and pointed out to an audience of 100 how important it is to have technology. Society needs people to function in contemporary times.
George Yap, CEO of LEASA Industries, was the keynote speaker that told the crowd of his very humble beginnings of coming to America from Jamaica with his beloved wife – three kids and only $50.00 in his pocket.
It’s very inspirational for aspiring ecopreneurs to hear how Mr. Yap started out at the bottom and now sits on a goldmine in Liberty City that brings in over $10 million annually by selling healthy vegetables, egg noodles and tofu to markets such as Winn-Dixie and Publix.
Mack Samuel, President of STEM for Kids, has been an entrepreneur for years and spoke about the development that’s vastly approaching the 7th Avenue corridor, which coincidentally encompasses Eco Tech Vision’s Green Corridor.
He says that the Holiday Inn is being renovated on 7th Avenue and for ecopreneurs to establish themselves as vendors to sell goods and services to the hotel chain.
“You may not be in the business you want to be in,” said Samuel. “Sometimes you have to be flexible and do some other lines of business.”
Ben Evans, Managing Director of BMe, talked about how society stereotypes Black men as dysfunctional, and how he’s looking for Miami-Dade residents to nominate 10 Black male leaders to receive a community award in the amount of $10,000 a piece to help build their community.
Derick Pearson, President of Code Fever Miami, informed the assemblage on the forth coming Black Tech Week conference, which highlights the number of startup founders, technology executives, and engineers of color.
Marcus Moon, New York Life Agent, spoke about there not being a big presence of African Americans in the insurance industry in South Florida.
Ernisha Randolph, Owner of Juanita’s Kitchen a catering service, said it’s been very beneficial for her to be an ecopreneur with Eco Tech Visions.
“I didn’t want to open up a restaurant,” said Randolph. “But participating in EcoTech’s Think Tank helped me change my mind and convinced me to open my restaurant.”
Randolph will be opening up Sweet Butter Miami Restaurant very soon in Overtown.
Another goal of Eco Tech is to attract environmentally beneficial technologies to locate within Miami-Dade County.
Michael Caballero, CEO of Earthware, is excited about his product line of biodegradable utensils that he will be manufacturing at EcoTech Visions’ new state of the art facility.
Sandy Dorsainvil, Director of Events and Strategic Programming for EcoTech, says it’s really important to EcoTech that participants of the ecoprenuer cohort build their businesses, enhance operations, and build and maintain a web site.
“We’re here to help you grow your business from where you are presently at,” said Dorsainvil. “There are a lot of things to do to make a business viable.”
One is to become a member of EcoTech where you can receive a virtual office – flexible desk – receive correspondence or rent warehouse space.
After networking and making business pitches, it was time to breakout into two sessions that consisted of the Digital Citizens Bootcamp with Vazquez where EcoTech merges tech skills training with real world entrepreneurship training so students don’t just start-up, but stay-up and build sustainable enterprises.
The other session dealt with obtaining grant opportunities and was hosted by Edwin Miller, Operations Manager for EcoTech Visions, where he listed numerous funding sources that the ecopreneurs could apply for such as the Mom and Pop grant up to $10,000.
“We’re here to assist you with bringing funding to your business,” said Miller.
The launch event concluded with students completing their first class for the Bootcamp and businesses making some of their first steps to grow. We can’t wait to work with you all!