For First Time, Majority of Startups at Demand Solutions are Women-Led Entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders gathered at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus in October for an ambitious mission: to find innovative solutions to some of the most urgent problems troubling Latin American and Caribbean countries today. At Demand Solutions Miami, hosted by MDC and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 18 entrepreneurs from the Western Hemisphere pitched their solutions for the many economic and developmental issues plaguing the region. The participating ventures presented innovative products or ideas to improve lives in the following categories: Design with Social Responsibility, Gastronomy as an Agent of Transformation, Multimedia to Save the World, Sustainable Fashion and Stereotype-Free Music. The event also included speeches from industry leaders, such as DesignLab Miami Founder and Creative Director Angie Cohen, The UpCycle Project Co-Founders Annette Felder and Gabriella Smith, and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. Although this is the fifth time IDB has organized a startups competition, Demand Solutions Miami was the first to feature a majority of women-led businesses. Eleven of the 18 startups, based across Latin America, the Caribbean and South Florida, have female CEOs. The Miami-based Caribu won MDC’s award for the most innovative startup in South Florida. Caribu functions as an app and marketplace allowing families to connect via video-call to read and learn together in real-time. “Caribu can help kids all over the world improve their literacy skills and bond with their families,” said Maxeme Tuchman, the CEO and co-founder of Caribu. As the U.S. gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, Miami is strategically positioned to act as a creativity hub to that region. Miami is now the top city in the U.S. for new business creation, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index of Startup Activity, which also found that 30 percent of all new entrepreneurs analyzed nationally were immigrants. – AP
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