With your help, Beacon Council’s Opportunity Miami aims to envision and build the county’s economic future

Entrepreneurship, talent/inclusion and sustainability are the three focuses of this ambitious new project that counts on wide community engagement.

Goodbye “One Community One Goal.” Say hello to “Opportunity Miami.” 

Opportunity Miami is a successor to the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal, the long-running economic development initiative that focused on seven industries of economic strength in Miami-Dade and key issues within them. Opportunity Miami is what the Beacon Council calls a new model of how a community envisions, reinvents and builds its economic future. It’s a new name, new focus and new strategy, and best of all, it’s being led by a familiar face in the Miami tech community, Matt Haggman, formerly with the Knight Foundation and now Executive VP of the Beacon Council, the county’s economic development agency.

So what is Opportunity Miami? As Haggman explains it, one key way it differs from OCOG is that the new platform, housed at Opportunity.Miami, will take the long view to help catalyze a vision for Miami-Dade’s economic future, and rally the community to create it. How long? The idea is to imagine and build the Miami we want in 2040, when a young child today is ready to enter the workforce. That helps to ensure the reforms are sustainable beyond election cycles, he said.

“Miami’s biggest challenges also present our greatest opportunities… Opportunity Miami will be the platform where the community can help identify these opportunities and act on them,” Haggman said. For example, one of the biggest challenges is facing climate change, which also presents “a generational business opportunity” for creating jobs and driving our economy forward, he said.

Instead of industry committee work and reports, Opportunity Miami will seek to involve the entire community through a weekly newsletter, daily social media, a new website, a bi-weekly podcast and monthly events, highlighting issues and soliciting input toward solutions. Each month a new question around each of three pivotal areas of opportunity will be posted to seek ideas and community involvement and hopefully inspire reforms and solutions.  

The focus areas are:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Talent and Inclusion
  • Sustainability and Resilience

The first three questions for the community are:

  • How do we clear obstacles and open more pathways for Black entrepreneurs to succeed and lead?
  • How can we ensure every family in Miami-Dade has access to broadbans internet – and the means to use it?
  • How do we make Miami a place where great climate tech companies are built?

“Miami-Dade has the opportunity to build one of the world’s truly innovative, inclusive and sustainable economies, creating jobs and prosperity well into the future, Opportunity Miami is the place for the community to come together to discuss pathways toward that vision and collaborate on solutions,” said Michael A.. Finney, President and CEO of the of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, in a statement.

I asked Haggman how Opportunity Miami dovetails with technology initiatives and movements already in play – such as the work of our tech and entrepreneurship focused organizations, the City of Miami’s Venture Miami team and the work of our universities and colleges at a time when Miami’s tech community is growing by the day with new arrivals.

“We want to be complementary in every way,” Haggman said. “Three areas come to mind. One, to amplify the tech initiatives already underway, through our podcast, live events, our newsletter, and social media. Two, provide context and give a broader view of how all of the various initiatives are together achieving a collective goal. For instance, how we are doing overall in terms of building a larger and more diverse tech talent workforce, or how we are doing overall to connect all households to high-speed internet. Lastly, elevate good ideas and offer clear, actionable solutions from across the community – and around the world – that existing initiatives can choose to deploy, if they think it makes sense.”

I also asked Haggman how #Miamitech can best get involved to help ensure success? “With your ideas, your candor, your energy – and, of course, your concerns and critiques too,” he said.

 “Opportunity Miami was inspired by the many great conversations we’ve had with members of the tech community and others. Now it’s time to continue those conversations about Miami’s  broader economic future in public, where all members of the community can engage. Bring your ideas, insights, resources, solutions to share. You can email us at [email protected] or engage on YouTube, Medium, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. We’ll start monthly, in-person events next year,” Haggman continued.

Find out more at Opportunity.Miami here. Haggman introduces the concept in a Miami Herald column here. And you can view the first podcast, in which Miami-Dade Mayor Daniela Levine Cava and VCs Patricia Wexler, Christian Hernandez and Kiel Barry discuss how the global push to lower carbon emissions will produce new industries and jobs, and how Miami – a ground zero city for climate change — could prosper. View it here.

Photo at top of post. Photo of Matt Haggman who spoke on a panel about  “Building a New Tech Mecca” during the Black Professionals Summit by the Black Professionals Network (BPN) on Saturday. Photo by AJ Shorter for BPN.

It’s time to reflect on Miami’s economic future and catalyze the best solutions for success, the Beacon Council believes.


Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at [email protected]. Don’t miss any South Florida tech and startup news. Check back at staging.refreshmiami.com/news early and often and sign up for Refresh Miami’s free weekly newsletter here.

Nancy Dahlberg