Radical Partners and AkermanIN just kicked off applications for the third cohort of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, and I’m taken aback thinking about how many people are committed to building a stronger Miami. When I tell people who we’re searching for (founders of high-potential ventures that improve our city), they always ask me whether I think we’ll get enough applicants. Lucky for Miami, the answer has been a resounding YES.  This town is overflowing with impressive changemakers. And it’s the greatest fun in the world to find those people and help them grow.

When I moved to Miami eight years ago, I thought it was going to be a short stay. We were losing young talent to cities with better job opportunities, educational offerings and young professional scenes. We were constantly at the wrong end of the spectrum on those “best and worst” cities list. Cost of living: high. Cultural offerings: low. Commute times: high. Professional prospects: low. It wasn’t looking good.

And then, I fell in love.

I wasn’t looking for love; it found me. And it found me while taking a tour of the Port of Miami on a mini-bus. I was there with a group of diverse, passionate rising leaders as part of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows leadership program. Truth? I didn’t think that tour was going to “do anything” for me; the port wasn’t my thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It was a seriously humbling experience. I had no idea how critical our port was to the sustainability of our community. How our economy depends on it, how millions of families rely on it, and how small changes translate into billions of dollars for Greater Miami’s future.

It was the first of many trips outside my comfort zone during the Miami Fellows program, including in-depth exploration of the port, our parks and our transit system. I came to understand the interconnectedness of our city – our diversity of needs and serious infrastructural challenges, then the generations of leaders who had taken responsibility for shaping us into who we are. I gained deeper respect for the ground I was walking on, and I was inspired to engage and give back.

Miami has a lot of needs, and it’s going to take a massive community of changemakers to address different pieces of the puzzle, then support one another as they do it. The generation of leaders before us gave so much of themselves. Now, it’s our turn. Together, we need to learn about our community’s needs and take it upon ourselves, issue by issue, to build a sustainable Greater Miami where everyone can thrive.

That’s much of what inspired our bootcamp for social entrepreneurs. Through the program, we bring together a cohort of organization founders and leaders who are committed to building a stronger, more resilient Greater Miami. We shower them with resources, coaching and a network of collaborators. Together, we tackle how to pitch an idea, fundraising, team growth, executive management skills and more through dynamic group workshops and personalized coaching sessions.

Leaders in every neighborhood and across every sector need support. They need resources, a community of friends and partners, and nourishment to sustain and scale their impact. We have a family of changemakers ready and waiting to help do just that. (Check out our inspiring alumniwho are doing amazing work.)

I can’t wait to see who applies to Bootcamp Cohort 3, and dive in with another group of emerging leaders to continue building an even greater Miami together … and to fall in love all over again with our beautiful city.

Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp applications are now open. The bootcamp is co-hosted by Radical Partners and  AkermanINand scholarships are available with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center For Social Change, Stephanie Ansin and Spencer Stewart, Dan Lewis, Leslie Miller Saiontz, and the social impact network of alumni from Bootcamp’s first and second cohorts. Learn more here

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, founder of Radical Partners, is a Miami Fellows Class VI alumnus.


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