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Why Miami? A Look at Entrepreneurship in the Region with Babson College Professor Donna Kelley

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Last year, Babson College expanded to Miami, Florida with three graduate programs—including the Blended Learning MBA, ranked No. 1 for alumni earnings and top 10 worldwide by Financial Times (FT),The Princeton Review, and Entrepreneur magazine.

The expansion builds on the ongoing success of Babson’s Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab® Miami, and Babson’s growing, powerful network of 5,000 alumni living and working across the Southern U.S. and Latin America.

As Babson Miami readies for its inaugural class to start in Fall 2018, the College’s thought leaders are traveling to the region to get to know the local business community, and share insights into why Babson’s entrepreneurial presence and influence in the region is so important.

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On Thursday, February 22, Babson College Professor Donna Kelley delivered a keynote address about entrepreneurship and its potential in Florida at the Athenian Venture Partners annual meeting in Ft. Lauderdale.

Kelley is a distinguished member of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) U.S. team, made up of Babson College faculty who have collectively participated in the research initiative every year since its inception in 1999. GEM assesses the level, characteristics, and impact of entrepreneurial activity, as well as societal attitude about entrepreneurship, through an adult population survey in over 60 economies worldwide every year.

Pulling from this expertise, Kelley shared some key findings from the latest GEM reports:

  • The United States has among the highest levels of entrepreneurial activity among the developed economies, and American entrepreneurs also show high impact in terms of introducing innovations, creating jobs, and participating in advanced industries.
  • Recognizing that entrepreneurship varies considerably around the United States, the Babson team gathered state-level results in a few select states during several annual cycles, including Florida. For the 2016 survey, the team also examined local results in relatively diverse cities, including Miami.
    • Entrepreneurship levels in Florida are high (14 percent), and a high proportion (21 percent) are international-oriented.
    • However, innovation levels in Florida (at 25 percent) and those who project six or more hires in the next five years (34 percent) is below the national level.
    • Demographics show a similar gender ratio and age distribution compared to national levels, demonstrating that the high entrepreneurship rates seen in Florida are evident in both men and women, as well as all age groups.
  • The advantages of cities for entrepreneurship is being recognized as these locales produce “dense diversity”, offering a variety of skills, perspectives, and experience in close quarters. Cities have become more important for business with shifts from land consuming manufacturing industries toward a focus on service and knowledge. Cities also generally benefit from advanced infrastructure, technology, and talent.
    • The city-level analysis shows a high rate of entrepreneurship in Miami (24 percent).
    • Miami has a high proportion of entrepreneurs who expect to create six or more jobs in the next five years (44 percent).
    • Miami also has a high proportion of international entrepreneurs (23 percent).
    • Miami conversely demonstrates a low level of innovative entrepreneurs (24 percent), below the national average (37 percent).
    • Participation in entrepreneurship in Miami is high among those in mid-career.
    • Women in Miami participate in entrepreneurship at a high level (16 percent).

To conclude, Kelley recommended leveraging entrepreneurial strengths exhibited locally, while targeting gaps that are evident in the GEM results.

Local ecosystems and stakeholders play a key role in facilitating entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship education is one factor that influences the rate and quality of entrepreneurship, and Babson’s investment in its new Miami campus demonstrates the college’s commitment to increase the knowledge and visibility of entrepreneurship in the region.