Miami’s Community Newspapers: District 8 Small Business Academy concludes with expo

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Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava concluded the inaugural District 8 Small Business Academy with an access to capital forum and expo on Nov. 16 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay.

More than 30 entrepreneurs attended the free, eight-week program — the first of its kind by a county commissioner — which culminated with a panel discussion and expo, where participants could meet with financial institutions to explore growth and partnership options. Graduates received certificates signed by Miami- Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, commission chair Jean Monestime and Commissioner Levine Cava.

“The District 8 Small Business Academy was created to support our small businesses in South Dade, who are the backbone of our economy and help our community thrive,” Commissioner Levine Cava said. “We created the program with input from the priorities expressed at the South Dade Solutions Summit earlier this summer and it culminates tonight, in our capstone event, with our small business owners making pitches to possible investors, bankers and other groups that can help finance their operation.”

Held in June, the South Dade Solutions Summit identified investment in small businesses and encouraging entrepreneurialism as key factors in local prosperity. Participants pointed to training, technical assistance, joint marketing and access to capital as important issues in need of addressing. The District 8 Small Business Academy was one of the results of the summit.

“Small businesses are vital community partners and I am committed to delivering the resources they need to prosper,” she said. “Empowering our local entrepreneurs is a win-win for our economy and our quality of life; when we empower our small businesses, our entire community thrives.”

The expo marked the first anniversary of Commissioner Levine Cava’s election to office. In commemoration, the District 8 office launched 8 Days of Engagement, a celebration of South Dade’s unique community.

“I am enjoying this anniversary even more than my 60th birthday, which was earlier this fall,” she said. “South Dade is a very unique and special place. We have tremendous assets — our people. It was my greatest wish that I’d be able to contribute in some way to growing our local economy. Because of the work of everyone putting this program together and because of you all showing up, my wish has come true.”

Sponsors for the District 8 Small Business Academy include Partners for Self- Employment, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, Economic Development Council of South Dade, Miami-Dade County Small Business Development Division, The Beacon Council, CareerSource of South Florida and the Florida International University Small Business Development Clinic.

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