Venture cafe Miami, the place where entrepreneurs meet innovators

Founded in 2016, Venture Café Miami is a nonprofit organization member of a growing global network of organizations that seeks to grow Miami’s innovation community by working to make it more inclusive, accessible, and better connected locally, nationally, and globally.

Leigh-Ann Buchanan is the founding executive director of Venture Café Miami. She as a lawyer, specializing in complex commercial and financial litigation focusing on white-collar defense.

Ms. Buchanan, in 2014, founded the Nyah Project, a nonprofit fellowship that gives underserved youths in Miami-Dade transformative experiences abroad and has astounding college acceptance and scholarship rates. That led her to Venture Café, a platform created at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston as a way to create opportunities for communities by providing “connective tissue” between innovative entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors.

Venture Café Miami in 2016 it was the fourth of its kind in the world. Today, there are eight, including overseas operations in Rotterdam, Tokyo, and Sydney, with more on the way.

How did the startup start?

Venture Café began in 2009 as an experiment by the Cambridge Innovation Center (The home for great entrepreneurs leading fast-growing companies since 1999) to bring together innovators and entrepreneurs to engage in spontaneous conversations and semi-curated programming, they’ll come up with innovations to make the world a better place and generate economic growth.

Venture Café Miami's mission is to improve and grow Miami's community of innovation through the exchange of ideas that is only the beginning of this entire project, which has as its mission to be a vehicle to connect people and stimulate innovation. Venture Café Miami creates the forum to connect innovators who ultimately seek to create positive change in local and global communities.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will grant Venture Café Miami with $1 million over a three-year period to help it expand.

Venture Café Miami will expand its work in providing programming, networking opportunities, and other resources to help local innovators across all Miami’s communities build and scale their ideas with $1 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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