For the first time, IBM SmartCamp is coming to South Florida. Only two cities in the country -- Miami and New York City -- were chosen for this prestigious regional event in the technology startup world.
SmartCamp KickStart Miami, with the theme of healthcare, will take place May 15 at Florida International University. The event will include a competition of startups in the healthcare space, keynote speakers including BM's healthcare industry leaders as well as the "rock stars" of South Florida's entrepreneurial community, and of course opportunities for networking, said Maria Hernandez, director of strategy and transformation at IBM.
Miami was selected, Hernandez said, because of all the exciting entrepreneurial activity already going on within the universities, incubators, investor and healthcare communities and at the startups themselves. "We wanted to highlight all that and raise visibility even more," she said. "It's very important for us to nurture this ecosystem for innovation."
For the opportunity to be considered for presenting at SmartCamp, startup companies younger than five years old must apply at http://www.f6s.com/ibmsmartcampkickstartmiami by April 27. The selected companies will give six-minute presentations at the camp, then will meet with a round table of mentors -- investors, successful entrepreneurs and industry specialists -- for some help with perfecting their presentations. They will get some time to make last-minute changes and then they will present again -- this time in front of judges and an invited audience -- and a winner or possibly two will be selected to advance. Albert Santalo, founder and CEO of the Miami-based healthcare technology company CareCloud that has attracted more than $24 million in funding, was a 2010 winner of SmartCamp Silicon Valley.
The winners in the Miami and New York City SmartCamps will go on to compete in a national contest in Boston and the winner there will compete in a world SmartCamp.
Any company from anywhere in the world can apply, Hernandez said, and with Miami's close ties to Latin America, IBM hopes there is interest from throughout the hemisphere, Hernandez said.
"These events tend to be catalysts for sustaining the ecosystem going forward. We want the community to rally around it," said Hernandez. "It's all about helping to bring the entrepreneurial community to the next level."
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