Friday Business Report

This story originally aired on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.

Last year, U.S. consumers spent more than 11 billion dollars on CDs, books, seminars, and coaching all aimed at making some part of their lives better.

The particular field of one-on-one coaching has grown exponentially since the beginning of the recession in 2007.

Miami's Dan Silverman grew his coaching business out of something he was doing free at bars all over South Florida.

courtesy Ronald Herbas

Last fall, an innovation training program called StartupQuest launched in South Florida. Full time employees were not welcome. It was specifically for folks who were out of work or underemployed.

The goal of the program was to help people get new technology skills -- and jobs.

When you hear the words "technology" or "innovation," you might picture a kid, in a hoodie, coding all night at a computer. But in this program, the average age of participants was 51, and almost everyone had a master’s degree and decades of experience.

Courtesy of Girls Who Code

There’s an enormous push in South Florida right now to grab more of the innovation economy, but we’re not the only region making a play for this sector. The competition nationally is fierce. Cities like St. Louis, Charlotte, and Phoenix have made bigger strides when it comes to growing as tech hubs

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

  Binsen Gonzalez almost left Miami, but he received funding for his idea just in time.

“I was about to leave for San Francisco because I felt like there wasn’t something right for me. And then one of my mentors was like if you don’t see it, make it happen.”

That mentor happened to be former Mayor Manny Diaz. The Knight Foundation awarded Gonzalez a $75,000 grant last week for his digital civic start-up idea called Our City Thoughts.


  The legal profession is going through a bit of an existential crisis and certainly an economic one. Large law firms that 10 years ago would have been expected to survive any financial crisis are reacting to a new, constricting marketplace with staff reductions and requests for capital contributions from partners. Host Karen Rundlet talks with Greenberg Traurig's Brad Kaufman about new opportunities for hiring and partnership in today's legal environment.

Kenny Malone / WLRN

Structural engineers don't necessarily view rising sea levels as certain disaster. By definition, it's the job of the engineer to solve design and construction problems caused by environmental changes.

Business journalist Karen Rundlet examines some proposed solutions for sea-level rise. She interviews the University of Miami's Dr. Antonio Nanni about embracing some unusual possibilities. Click play to hear the interview.

Karen Rundlet

The store you probably spend the most time in isn’t a boutique or a department store. I’ll bet, over the course of a year, it’s the supermarket. 

On average, supermarket customers shop for groceries twice a week and spend about $100. In South Florida, Publix is the marketshare leader – dominating with close to 250 stores. Winn Dixie is second. And then, we have Walmart and Sedano’s.

While each chain is distinct in terms of pricing and store environment, there are commonalities in how many of them are designed, said Paco Underhill, a consultant and author who studies the science of how people shop all over the world.

Many respected leaders will point to mentors who helped them with their rise to success, and most of the time, that mentor was a more experienced individual. But a new local partnership is counting on younger mentors to school their elders.

The Miami Herald's Karen Rundlet tells us how digital proficiency is driving this program.

Karen Rundlet

According to last month’s employment statistics, Broward County added more than 23,000 jobs. Miami-Dade didn’t do as well, with about 3,000 new jobs being added there.

But it’s not as though unemployment or underemployment have gone away. And a new program in Broward is trying to tackle those problems.

It’s called Startup Quest. The program puts patented ideas from universities into the hands of people who are underemployed or straight up out of work. Mentors and mentees serve as bosses and workers, respectively.