When it comes to tech, 20 years can seem more like 200.
Back in 1998, when the Miami Herald launched its first ever Business Plan Challenge, Miami had no real startup community. Most of that year's winners — and those from many of the years that followed — were spread throughout Florida. The judges mostly comprised executives from consulting firms or now-defunct venture capital funds.
And when recessions hit, there were no supportive institutions to help keep the startups afloat.
Fast forward to 2018. Significant announcements about tech and startup-related investments occur on a near-daily basis. And a record 15,000 attendees are expected at the fourth annual eMerge Americas conference, which opens Monday.
"There's been tremendous progress," said eMerge CEO Xavier Gonzalez, who began his career as a local innovation booster as the Beacon Council's director of communications. In just four years, eMerge has become the top tech conference in Latin America.
According to newly compiled Census data published by the non-profit Computing Technology Industry Association, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties are now home to 8,167 technology businesses — the 12th-highest amount in the country. (No, that doesn't include retail shops selling tech stuff).
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