November 2014, Volume 18, Number 4

Powerful Partnerships


Bringing Great Ideas to Life

Working in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Dade College recently launched one of its most exciting ventures to date.

The newly opened Idea Center at MDC offers the support, workspace, mentoring, expertise and programs to guide people with innovative ideas through all stages of the entrepreneurial process. Supported in part by a $2.18 million investment from the Knight Foundation, it’s an education-focused accelerator where students and young business leaders can test and refine ideas. It’s also a place where budding ventures can be built upon in any industry as entrepre-neurs work alongside seasoned, dedicated faculty and experienced business leaders.

Community Catalyst

“Our effort is to not only impact the lives of students at Miami Dade College but also to be a catalyst in the full development of the Miami entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “This is a great opportunity to make an impact on the socio-economic future of our city.”

With the nation’s largest, most diverse student body, MDC is an ideal host for such an initiative. The College’s extensive alumni base provides the networking vital to new business, and MDC’s location plays a pivotal role in fostering innovation, with Miami being the No.1 city in the country for entrepreneurial activity, according to rankings last year by the Kauffman Foundation.

To further bolster the success of the Idea Center, MDC has visited top universities and programs around the country to learn from their success. The Idea Center has partnered with Babson College, one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial institutions, in order to share best practices that will infuse an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the entire College. Based at Wolfson Campus while serving all of MDC’s campuses, the Center is a dual initiative of MDC’s acclaimed School of Business and enterprising School of Engineering + Technology.

Board of Advisors

Although only officially launched last month, the Idea Center already is having an impact on students by helping them develop promising ideas. Miami Dade College student Karen La Spina said she has benefitted tremendously from mentoring sessions that are enabling her and classmate Ashley Suárez- Burgos to turn an academic project into a business reality.

Suárez and La Spina, a fourth-year student in MDC’s film, TV and digital production bachelor’s program, are working on a website that uses short documentaries to highlight local artists. The goal behind the virtual storytelling site is to help the community connect with talented people throughout the region and also facilitiate artwork commissions. It also will include self-guided tours through gallery districts such as Wynwood.

“As a student and aspiring entrepreneur, I feel so fortunate to have this resource available to me,” La Spina said. “The Idea Center at MDC is helping us refine our ideas and figure out a lot of things that ultimately will strengthen the success of our venture.”

Fostering Success

  • Ricky Arriola, CEO, Inktel Holdings
  • Jorge Benítez, Retired CEO, Accenture
  • Jeb Bush Jr., Managing Partner, Jeb Bush & Associates
  • Nabyl Charania, Managing Director, Rokk3r Labs
  • Alberto Daire, President, Liberty Power Company
  • Frank J. Del Rio Chairman & CEO, Oceania Cruise Lines
  • Jorge Duyos, President, JRD & Associates Inc.
  • José Estabil, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, MIT Skoltech Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Gregory Ferrero, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
  • Charles P. García, CEO, ALPFA
  • Manny García-Tuñón, President, Lemartec Engineering & Construction Corp.
  • Eloise González, President, Commercial Interior Contractors
  • José A. Hernández-Solaun, President, The Easton Group
  • Alice Horn, Executive Director, Networking for Teaching Entrepreneurship South Florida
  • Peter Kellner, Managing Director, Richmond Global LLC
  • Laura Maydón, Managing Director, Endeavor Miami
  • Manny Medina, Chairman & CEO, Medina Capital
  • Bernie Navarro, President, Benworth Capital Partners LLC
  • Camilo Padrón, Chief Marketing Officer, The Fresh Diet
  • Rudy Pittaluga, Principal, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP
  • Isaias Sudit, CEO, Trove
  • Mike Tomás, President & CEO, BioHeart Inc.


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution which does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.