5 reasons why Miami has become a leader in startups for the U.S. and Latin America


“Miami is the unofficial capital of the hemisphere,” said Alex Sanchez, president and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association in an article for Forbes. “A lot of companies from the hemisphere, or American companies that want to do business with the hemisphere have regional or South American offices here. It is sometimes easier to fly from a Latin American capital to Miami and then to another Latin American capital than it is to fly inside Latin America.”

Among large U.S. metropolitan areas, Miami International Airport ranks second in international passengers and first for international freight. Brickell Avenue hosts the largest concentration of international banks in the U.S. Add in specialty discipline high schools, leading higher education institutions, arts, culture, and sprinkle in the sands of Miami Beach, it’s no wonder Miami continues drawing international interest.       


In 2017, Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index of Startup Activity named South Florida No. 1 in the U.S. for new startup activity.

Unbound’s Miami Innovation Festival is one of the leading places for all those startups to gather. More than 5,000 people attended the late October event and CEO and co-founder Daniel Seal said, “It is great to see the vibrant Miami tech scene galvanizing as the gateway to the Latin American tech scene.” Event attendees networked with high-level executives from regional, national and international corporations and throughout government.  


Miami’s residents (hey, that’s you!) make the city a strong player in the global marketplace.

Earlier this year, the Miami Urban Future Initiative released a report highlighting benchmarks and looking at the future of Miami’s economy. The report closely analyzes the area’s standing among peer cities in the U.S.  

According to the report, “The Miami metro ranks first among large U.S. metros according to its concentration of foreign-born residents, who make up more than 40% of its population—nearly three times the national average.”

As Miami’s tech scene booms, we have an exciting opportunity to create a more diverse tech community. In a Miami Herald op-ed published earlier this year, Trabian Shorters, CEO and founder of BMe Community, writes, “For Miami to be successful in technology, it can’t imitate Silicon Valley’s notorious white guys only approach from the 1980s — excluding the women, Latinos and African Americans make up America’s full team of genius.”


Miami’s educated and highly skilled workforce is dependent on foreign-born talent. The Miami Urban Future Initiative report highlights that, “Miami ranks second among large U.S. metros according to the foreign-born share of residents with a bachelor’s degree or above (41.4%) or advanced degree (39.4%). The metro area also ranks second among large U.S. metros according to the foreign-born share of its high-skilled creative class (38.9%).”

“Miami is becoming maybe more strategic than Silicon Valley. You can find money [in Silicon Valley], but not talent — all the good people get taken right away. Miami has both — and understands Latin America,” said Samuel Urquijo, a Colombian resident and startup founder.

The report also notes that, “On all three of these metrics, Miami ranks second only to San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, and ahead of New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.”


Miami’s growing startup scene hosts more than 30 collaborative spaces, dozens of ongoing community events and a seemingly endless supply of mentor and advising partners. To support the bridging of the Miami and Latin American business communities, CIC Miami offers a business immersion experience to support foreign companies looking to scale, establish a presence in the U.S., or explore engagement opportunities in this market.

With the help of CIC’s partners like Start-Up Chile and Venture City, foreign companies can strategize and explore Miami and gain introductions to stakeholders and experts.

After two successful years in Miami, CIC will celebrate the work of their clients at an anniversary party on Nov. 28th. All are invited to honor the community’s achievements and learn more about the future of Miami’s startups.

Produced by The New Tropic Creative Studio with CIC Miami

By The New Tropic Creative Studio
The WhereBy.Us Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.