technology council to lobby for business interests
By Sherri C. Ranta
A maturing Miami-Dade County technology sector soon will be represented by industry leaders as the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce establishes a technology council.
The council of senior managers and owners of technology-based companies will lobby for industry interests in the political arena and areas such as higher education, said Seth Gordon, chairman of the chamber's Internet and e-commerce group and managing partner with GDB & Partners, a Coral Gables public relations firm.
The council would be similar to others established in cities such as Boston and Cleveland that have established technology sectors, he said.
"My guess is we'll start with 20 companies. We have a list of 400 prospective companies," Mr. Gordon said.
He said the first meeting is scheduled for February.
Miami's technology council, Mr. Gordon said, would differ from InternetCoast, a Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach marketing group with the goal of branding South Florida as a desirable location for high-tech firms.
Members of the technology council, Mr. Gordon said, will be leaders and owners in the local industry who will advocate their interests and concerns to state and local governments, he said.
Miami's technology sector, he said, can be divided at least two ways - companies that provide connectivity or transmit data and companies that deal with content, such as software developers and web-based businesses.
"We're looking at companies in all those categories," he said.
Miami-Dade, Mr. Gordon said, has several established telecommunications or connectivity companies, such as BellSouth, AT&T, Global Crossings, New World Network and Telefonica. The county also supports software developers, he said, such as Deneba and On Hand, and an e-commerce company, Fiera.com, headquartered on Miami Beach.
When the dot-com bust hit the country last year, Mr. Gordon said, Miami-based dot-coms took a beating.
Mr. Gordon named at least seven dot-com clients that went belly up, including Subasta.com, a Spanish-language auction site; Conserjero, a financial services site; Addashop.com, an e-commerce site; Medicina.news, a medical Spanish-language site; Dineronet.com and E-food.com.
"There was a tremendous percent of startups that didn't survive. The death rate was not that much greater than restaurants. There is an extraordinarily high percentage of restaurants that don't survive their first two years."