This month, the Knight Foundation — an organization that provides funding to diversity programs and initiatives — announced it is giving $1 million to Venture Cafe Miami.
The investment is dedicated to helping Venture Cafe Miami expand its geographic reach, increase entrepreneurs access to capital and investors and execute initiatives that encourage diversity.
Venture Cafe Miami is a nonprofit organization focused on diversifying Miami’s startup and entrepreneurial scene. Founded in 2016, the company provides programs and events like the Captains of Innovation Program and Thursday Gatherings.
The Captains of Innovation Program gives startup members the chance to network and partner with corporations. The program’s corporate partners learn about upcoming technologies. Thursday Gatherings are free weekly mixers that allow innovators in the Miami ecosystem to connect and collaborate for future endeavors.
“Each week, we encounter hundreds of individual innovators navigating varying stages of scaling ventures,” Leigh-Ann Buchanan, founding executive director of Venture Café Miami, said in a statement. “Their individual and collective experiences demonstrate that access is not equally distributed—even in a diverse metropolitan center like South Florida.”
The Knight Foundation said that the nonprofit’s focus on collaboration makes it perfect for building up an innovative community in Miami.
“After years of rapid growth, Miami’s startup culture has taken root, and entrepreneurial activity is everywhere,” said Raul Moas, program director for the Knight Foundation. “But to ensure the long-term success of our innovation ecosystem, all of Miami’s communities must have a seat at the table.”
The Knight Foundation has invested more than $25 million in entrepreneurship initiatives across Miami since 2012. The foundation’s investment in Venture Cafe Miami will be disbursed throughout three years.