News
5:52 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

World Ambassadors Explore Trade Opportunities In Miami

Wilfredo Fernandez addresses the ambassadors at The Space Miami.
Wilfredo Fernandez addresses the ambassadors at The Space Miami.
Credit Hillary Lindwall/WLRN

Ambassadors to the U.S. from all over the world left D.C. to touch down in Miami for a program called "Experience America," sponsored by the Department of State.

"This is a remarkable city," says Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, Oman's ambassador. This is the 13th Experience America trip, and Al Mughairy says she attends as many as she can. "This gives us as ambassadors the opportunity not only to see the U.S. but also to meet the different communities within the states." 

According to Nick Schmit,the State Department's assistant chief of protocol for diplomatic partnerships, the goal of Experience America is to establish more businesses connections within the international community.

"Promoting new economic partnerships is a major priority of this Experience America trip," Schmit said. "Collectively, these ambassadors represent nearly half a billion people living in almost three dozen countries around the world. This program gives them an opportunity to engage with prominent business leaders, local entrepreneurs and learn about  the many benefits of doing business in Miami."

Matt Haggman is the Miami Program Director at the Knight Foundation, which helped to plan for the ambassadors' visit. According to Haggman, Miami provides a good example of the development happening all over the U.S.

"Miami is ... still very much in a formative stage in its growth, so [the ambassadors] can see all of that -- the growth, the diversity, the energy that all comprise Miami," Haggman said.

Throughout their trip, the 34 ambassadors in attendance toured local business ventures in an effort to showcase Miami as a breeding ground for startups. One of the businesses they toured was The Space Miami, an open space for startups and small businesses to work.

Wilfredo Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of The Space Miami, says the city is the perfect place to start a business and hopes the ambassadors will learn that lesson through this visit.

"It’s a city of so much opportunity, and so many things to be defined -- in many ways a frontier town," Fernandez said. "Our hope is that entrepreneurs from all of these countries are able to come to Miami and establish businesses here."

Along with The Space Miami, the ambassadors toured PortMiami,  the International Hurricane Center's Wall of Wind at Florida International University as well as the art and design district in Wynwood.