Hay un persistente intercambio de ideas, negociaciones e información en la sede de The Lab Miami, en Wynwood, adonde llegan a diario empresarios establecidos, así como quienes aspiran a emprender negocios o startups. No importan los códigos de vestuario, es común la moda de las bermudas, las chanclas y los backpacks , así como la bicicleta como medio de transporte.
Pablo & Fernanda Bressan with their daughter, Luciana
VowTo, a holistic wellness company that seeks to empower women through a 12-week life transformation program, launched last month in Miami and is now available to women across the country. Co-founders Pablo and Fernanda Bressan come to the table with five years of experience in the health and wellness e-commerce industry and now have set out to create business that goes beyond selling products to women and really focuses on a more balanced vision of wellness.
“As women we tend to not put ourselves first because it feels like a selfish thing,” says Co-founder Fernanda Bressan. However, at VowTo they are adamant about the fact that putting yourself first is not only essential, but also a selfless act.
The centerpiece of VowTo is the EnRitualize Foundation program. It is a holistic mind, body, and heart experience that incorporates learning, gifts, and community. The heart of the program consists of weekly lessons, each of which explores different intentions or vows, hence the name. Members also receive a beautifully designed gift box each month with a total of 12 gifts that complement that week’s lesson and directly relate to each vow.
When members join, they also receive a bracelet that allows them to identify other members within the VowTo community. Members can share and discuss their experiences both through the virtual and actual world by using the VowTo app, attending local meetups, and participating in accountability circles.
“It’s all about creating small daily habits that become long term practices,” says Pablo. For this Member Spotlight, The LAB Miami spoke with the co-founders about VowTo’s journey, the challenges they faced, and how being at the LAB facilitated their development.
Whenever you’re a trailblazer in anything, it’s always scary and challenging, but when you look back it’s very rewarding. I really see it as a movement; empowering and inspiring women is so natural. Personally, I think that in the past women have tended to be very competitive and there is room for us to really lift each other up. If I’m in a good place and feel good about myself (mind, body, and heart), then I’m in a place to make other people feel that way.
Being able to clearly express something when you are new in the space has been one of VowTo’s biggest challenges. We’re unique in the space. There are people who do subscription boxes, which we are not. There are people that do online learning and there are people that do social networks, but we’re these three different components all put together. Being able to express who we are to people who aren’t living and breathing and seeing what we see, has been the biggest challenge.
Whenever you’re an entrepreneur it’s easy to feel like you’re in a vacuum and you’re working by yourself. There are challenges when you’re running a business or starting something. There are so many different things to think about, there’s the growth, the finances, and being in a collaborative space is key. In the tough times, you often hit that brick wall and you feel like you want to give up. In order to keep going and get over that wall, it is important to be in a community and have support. Talking to others who may be in a different industry, but are experiencing some of the same things, is very helpful. For Pablo and Fernanda, being at The LAB Miami was, “all about clarity and connection.” The LAB facilitated the connections that helped them concretize many of their ideas. They met Darkmatter Collective, a creative agency, on their quest for graphic design interns and it evolved into an instrumental collaboration in forging their identity and finding their voice. They also met Infinixsoft, who provided guidance, clarity, and helped build their app that is so central to their business-user experience today.
As Pablo stated, “To us, it’s not an office space. We see it as a true cross-collaborative shared space. A place where relationships are created, ideas developed and great things birthed. You never know what each day holds and who you will meet and exchange meaningful conversations and ideas with. The energy and creativity exchange that happens each day is truly magical.”
By Andrea Rey
"More than two months ago, Danny Lafuente and Wifredo Fernandez, co-founders of The LAB Miami, announced they were setting their sights on new projects and creating an opportunity for someone else to carry on the day-to-day management of the vision they brought to life. While I’ve been supervising operations at The LAB Miami since late last year, I’m excited to build upon that work as the new managing director,” writes Tamara Wendt.
"The LAB is a platform for community engagement. A place for ideas and connections. A vortex of creative energy. A resource for startups and established businesses. I count myself lucky to be able to serve this community, and I hope to play a supporting role in the next chapter of Miami’s growth."
Read the full article on the Knight Blog.
To alleviate the barriers of underrepresented students of color in STEM, the Overtown Youth Center Summer STEM Program has created “STEM Fridays.” This weekly program provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their interest and aptitude in STEM subjects.
Last “STEM Friday,” over fifty students from the Summer STEM Program visited The LAB Miami for fun and engaging technological-related activities that demonstrated the basics of computing and programming. Nelson Milian and Willie Avendano, co-founders of Wynwood Maker Camp, directed the activities and demonstrations.
“Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are vital to our future, the future of our country, the future of our community, and the future of our children,” writes Victor Andrews, program manager at Overtown Youth Center, in a letter to The LAB. His vision for student exposure included a partnership with The LAB because it was, “an organization that was focused not only on preparing students to succeed in STEM, but one that was comfortable with bringing in over fifty ambitious and passionate students to their office space…”
Below is an excerpt from the letter Andrews wrote about the students’ valuable experience at The LAB:
The Lab Miami exposed our students to computer science, coding, digital printing, and technology career options. Students ranged in age from 8 to 14, but most had never received exposure to these technological related activities until STEM Friday. This opportunity allowed our students to showcase their hidden talents. They were able to use the valuable resources at the LAB Miami and the Overtown Youth Center to address the national crises predominantly affecting students of color.
It was inspiring to see their enthusiasm and their unflinching determination as they participated in a morning full of STEM demonstrations and activities. LAB Miami is clearly taking firm steps to level the playing field and provide equal access to the tools and resources students of color need to succeed in this digital global economy.
The bleak reality is that not all of our students will have access to tools and resources within their home to compete and succeed. But with the assistance from gracious organizations such as The LAB Miami that are focused on collaborative partnerships, we will hopefully begin to address the opportunity divide and digital divide that effects students of color to ensure that our students are able to acquire the necessary skills and compete for the workforce of the future.
The Overtown Youth Center truly appreciates such a great organization for exposing our students to the many facets of STEM.
By Andrea Rey
Last Monday, Miami-Dade Commissioner, Esteban “Steve” Bovo, and representatives from Uber, The Miami Foundation, Lyft, Car2Go, Miami Soup, CycleHop, and Addventures gathered at The LAB Miami for a discussion about the future of Miami’s shared economy. The event was presented by the New Leaders Council-Miami, moderated by Rodrigo Gonzalez, and sponsored by the Knight Foundation. It was an utter success, drawing over 100 attendees, as panelists shared their experiences, struggles, and achievements within the shared economy.
The shared economy is a socio-economic system based on the shared access of goods and services. It can take a variety of forms, but is often enabled by information technology and peer communities that create transparent and trustworthy information-sharing networks.
“Trust is the foundation of the sharing economy,” said Director of International Government Relations at Lyft, Michael Masserman, “without it, our businesses cannot exist.”
The shared economy describes huge market places such as Ebay and Craigslist, as well as emerging sectors, like car and bike-sharing (Uber, Car2Go, Lyft, CycleHop) and peer-to-peer travel (AirBnb).
However, the concept of sharing resources is not new. “We’ve all been to libraries,” said Carl Hildebrand, director at Miami Soup, a grassroots model for funding projects designed to enhance the quality of community life. “What is new is the disruptive technology in transportation.”
Miami’s public transportation system is one that has not evolved to meet the needs or the growth of the city. “One critical problem we have for residents is if you have to stand outside and wait for a bus, you will literally melt out there,” said Commissioner Bovo. If Dade County wants to continue priding itself as “the capital of the Americas,” it must grapple with the transportation issues it faces.
The swelling growth of this new model is opening new opportunities for the way in which we interact and carry out transactions, however it brings up many questions about safety, taxation, and oversight that regulators are struggling to resolve.
There must be increased dialogue with municipalities and government officials to ensure that both innovation and consumer protection are embraced with the rise of this nascent industry.
Last week, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved preliminary steps towards authorizing the currently illegal market of ride-for-hire companies, such as UberX and Lyft. However, this is just a start. Change is a challenging and slow process, especially when it rivals traditional services and the status quo.
As more people, communities, and businesses choose to opt into the new peer-to-peer sharing model, “it will fundamentally change the dynamic between consumers and producers,” said Christopher Sopher, journalism program associate at the Knight Foundation.
“Miami is in an era of continuous disruption,” he added.
By Andrea Rey
"Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist stopped by Wynwood this Thursday to visit The LAB Miami, where he announced that Miami-Dade’s Democratic Party, Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, will be his running mate in the next state election. Crist and Taddeo-Goldstein had the opportunity to tour the co-working space, where he met tech startups founders and hear about programs like Wyncode and Wynwood Maker Camp.”
Read the full article, here. WLRN:
"When Charlie Crist stopped at a converted warehouse for Miami entrepreneurs, 12-year-old Andrew Castro handed him a miniature state of Florida produced by a 3-D printer.
“A little Florida! Thank you,” Crist said.
Crist was at LAB Miami Thursday morning because he thinks another South Floridian can help hand him the whole state this fall — Annette Taddeo-Goldstein.”
Listen to the full piece, here. CBS Miami:
See more, here.
The LAB Miami is proud to be one of the Knight Foundation-supported projects that helps in creating the innovative and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that Miami seeks to build. Our co-working space is home to 140 entrepreneurs and drew more than 23,000 visitors at our events, just in our first year!
Miami is showing signs that it has the elements to become a center for “innovation, technology and high-impact entrepreneurship.” As this environment evolves, it will not only support and propel entrepreneurship, but also create a path for those who succeed to fund and mentor those in the next wave.
Read the full article, here.
Yesterday, CocoaHeads Miami held the first of multiple sessions discussing new iOS 8 development tools and features, beginning with Swift, Apple’s new programming language for iOS and OS X.
Meet Swift: https://developer.apple.com/swift/.
If you are interested in meeting other Mac and iOS developers while learning Cocoa or getting help with your own projects, CocoaHeads meets on the second Thursday of every month at 7PM at The LAB. Check out their Meetup page for the latest information.