Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale

The Fort Lauderdale / Miami metropolitan area earned the top spot for startup activity according to the Kauffman Index. Find out what makes Fort Lauderdale’s entrepreneurial ecosystem so successful.

Fort Lauderdale, FL, one of the major cities in the Miami metropolitan area, is the state’s eighth-biggest city and the county seat of Broward County. In 2018, WalletHub ranked Fort Lauderdale 31 on their list of the best large cities to start a business, as well as 41 on a list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Additionally, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area ranked first in the Kauffman Index’s measure of startup activity.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Fort Lauderdale’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Biz to Biz Networking hosts regular networking events and business expos to bring entrepreneurs as well as owners of small and large businesses in the area together.

The Entrepreneur’s Breakfast is a group that holds weekly breakfast meetings that entrepreneurs and business owners can attend to grow their network.

This group is dedicated to educating those who are interested in real estate investing but don’t know where to start.

A group that aims to support existing entrepreneurs as well as those who are interested in becoming one.

The aim of this group of real estate investors is to create a network with and support each other.

Women Entrepreneurs Together is a networking group for female entrepreneurs that also hosts workshops, training, and other events to help support its members.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development hosts an annual conference to celebrate and support area business and entrepreneurship.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce holds a number of annual events, including meetings and several awards ceremonies.

Sup-X, or the Startup Expo, is an annual two-day conference that aims to bring members of the entrepreneurial community from around the country together.


Startup Competitions:

FAU students, faculty, staff, and recent graduates can compete for prizes of thousands of dollars in seed capital for their startup.

Held just down the road in Hollywood, FL, SPARK Hollywood is an annual competition for early-stage startups from around the area.

The centerpiece of the annual Sup-X conference is the Startup Expo itself, a competition and opportunity for entrepreneurs to network and gain exposure.


Co-working Spaces:

Axis Space offers several membership options to best fit the needs of its members as well as a number of amenities, including a gym and pool.

By combining working space and a full on-site café, CoLab Workspaces aims to encourage both professional pursuits and collaboration.

With two locations in Fort Lauderdale, General Provision aims to meet every need its members have, offering hotel-inspired concierge service and free massages.

Pipeline Workspaces has a number of locations across Florida, including one in Fort Lauderdale, and offers flexible membership plans.

Fort Lauderdale is home to one of many Quest Workspaces locations and offers affordable private office space.


Maker spaces:

The Creation Station Lab is a small maker space located on the first floor of the Main Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Between Fort Lauderdale and Miami in Doral, FL, MakeMIA is a large maker space that offers a wide variety of equipment and a number of membership plans.

Located in Boca Raton, Young Makers Lab is a maker space that offers kids of all ages access to a variety of equipment and educational opportunities.

How to Launch a Tech Startup If You Are a Non-Technical Founder [Infographic]



Broward College’s Innovation Hub provides entrepreneurs with working space and connects them with mentorship, resources, and access to capital.

Collective Ventures offers a number of resources to Fort Lauderdale-area entrepreneurs, including co-working space, incubation opportunities, and an accelerator program.

Located in nearby Lauderhill, the International Trade Incubator supports Latin American and Caribbean companies looking to break into the United States market.

Broward County’s OESBD supports entrepreneurship and small business in the area through workshops, conferences, and other strategies.

In addition to being a location for scientific research and development, the Research Park at FAU supports local business and acts as an incubator for upstart companies.

Incubators & Accelerators: Which Best Fits Your Needs?



Members of Broward College’s Startup NOW Accelerator provides members with $20,000 worth of education, mentorship, and other resources, as well as 12 college credits.

Open to FAU students, faculty, and staff as well as the entrepreneurial community as a whole, FAU Tech Runway incubates and accelerates promising technology startups.

Founder Institute, one of the world’s leading idea-stage accelerator programs, has a program located in Fort Lauderdale.

With several locations in South Florida, TSFA is an accelerator program that works with technology and cannabis-related startups.



In addition to several out-of-the-classroom opportunities, Broward College offers several classes and certificate programs about several types of entrepreneurship.

FAU’s College of Business includes the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, which supports FAU entrepreneurs in a number of ways.

Nova Southeastern’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship offers a number of resources and opportunities to students, including and entrepreneurship major.


Angel Groups/VCs:

With locations in Fort Lauderdale and Athens, OH, Athenian Venture Partners invests in early-stage technology and healthcare companies in the Midwest and southeast.

Located in Boca Raton, New World Angels invests in promising early-stage startups across the state of Florida.

Las Olas is a venture capital firm that invests in startups that are building the future through technology.

Headquartered north of Fort Lauderdale in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Capital invests in middle-market companies with no particular location or sector focus.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Florida Trend, which covers business and entrepreneurship in Florida, offers a number of newsletters.

The South Florida Business and Wealth magazine offers a newsletter to its “insiders” that covers the area’s major business and entrepreneurial leaders as well as networking events.

The South Florida Business Journal offers readers the ability to subscribe to newsletters and alerts covering business news in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas.

Broward County’s Sun Sentinel offers the Business Briefing Newsletter, which delivers the top business headlines each weekday morning.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Fort Lauderdale not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

San Diego, California, Atlanta, GATampa, FL

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.