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In Miami, A Hub For Green Product-Makers

Nadege Green

EcoTech Visions is tucked away in a nondescript mall between the busy Northwest Seventh Avenue corridor and I-95.

Pandwe Gibson, founder of the shared space for green manufacturers, is directing workers on last minute preparations for EcoTech's Nov. 20 grand opening.

In this space, eco-friendly entrepreneurs -- or eco-preneurs -- will grow and expand their businesses. They will collaborate where possible and create jobs for the surrounding community.

“What makes us unique is that what you find throughout the city is there are about nine high-tech incubators, but that doesn’t really address the human capital needs of this community,” says Gibson. “So when you go to a lot of those spaces, you don’t see people who represent this community and the environment.”

Gibson received $172,000 in grants to build out her vision. She says while South Florida is seeing a boom in high-tech and service-industry related incubator spaces, small manufacturing businesses are left out.

There’s a mechanics lab for an electric bicycle company, another office will be home to an all-natural beauty product line.

Outside, herbs and tomato plants sprout out of raised bed adjacent to a soon-to-be completed aquaponics fish farm.

Just behind the garden is an unfinished space that will house a manufacturing plant for Earthware, a company that make biodegradable utensils and tableware.

Gibson says that manufacturing plant alone will create about 20 jobs that pay about $15 an hour.

EcoTech Visions has also teamed up with local universities and job training facilities to create an onsite internship and fellowship program.