Music Mogul And E-Biz Vet Open New Black-Owned Tech Hub

With dozens of tech conferences coming to South Florida, business partners Ted Lucas and Hilmon Sorey are hoping to leverage the opportunity with their brand-new tech hub, The Source Miami. The downtown spot aims to ensure locals have a seat at the table as the city leads the nation in tech-job growth, according to Mindspace Magazine.

The Source Miami, located at 14 NE First Ave., will connect entrepreneurs, investors and job seekers to the Magic City’s burgeoning tech scene. Through accelerator programs, workshops, networking and investment opportunities, the new tech space will help develop local tech talent and support startups, small businesses and students.

It’s a continuation of the work that Lucas, a Miami Gardens native and music mogul, has been doing through his TechNolij nonprofit organization – created to help close the racial wealth gap through technology education. Last year, Lucas partnered with Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only HBCU, to launch an innovation lab and offer a six-week B2B Tech Sales Bootcamp taught by Sorey.

Ted Lucas and Hilmon Sorey at the grand opening of The Source Miami last Thursday.

Desiray Malcolm, who previously worked two jobs, credits the boot camp for her landing a job as an account manager at Kaseya.

“They say this is the beginning for The Source, but I feel like we’ve already taken off,” she said at last week’s grand opening for the tech hub.

Malcolm said she believes the hub will create more pathways for people like herself – a single mother who desperately needed a higher-paying job but didn’t know where to start.

Desiray Malcolm, who attended The Source Miami grand opening, sharing her story of how she left a warehouse job to pursue a role in tech after completing a boot camp at Florida Memorial University.

“I thought I had to go back to school, thought I had to know tech,” she told The Miami Times. “My résumé just didn’t add up, but someone gave me an opportunity, Ted and Hilmon, to be a part of a program like this so I’m forever grateful.”

“Sitting home in the middle of COVID, I was selling records but I [wondered], ‘How can I make a difference in my hometown of South Florida?’” said Lucas last week. “I’m one of the ones who knew nothing about tech. I didn’t have a clue. But I’m sitting there, and I see the movement that’s happening in South Florida … and I said, ‘If I don’t get in front of this tech movement for people that look like me, we’re going to be in serious trouble.’ And that’s why we’re here today.”

“A lot of times we think there’s a magic pill for success. The magic sauce is work,” said Miami-Dade Board of County Commission Chair Oliver Gilbert III at the opening. “This isn’t just another business because most businesses exist to empower themselves. This business exists to empower others.”

Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Chair Oliver Gilbert III (L) standing beside Ted Lucas as the latter introduces his new business, The Source Miami.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also shared encouraging words with the owners of the Black-owned tech hub last Thursday.

“Your foresight to recognize what we’re doing here and creating an ecosystem is so important for our city’s growth in the tech sphere,” he said. “We want to create a Miami for everyone, and The Source will do just that by being a hub bringing together entrepreneurs, innovators and talent from all over that will make a dent in the tech economy.”

The tech hub includes a “Zero to One Million Room” to foster a “millionaire mindset” and is also where workshops will take place, a “Good to Great Room” for investor meetings or brainstorming how businesses can scale up, two “Product Mentor Meeting Rooms,” a “Go to Market Strategy Room” and “The Lab,” a co-working space.

Hilmon Sorey leads a meeting at a new Black-owned tech hub downtown, The Source Miami.

“The Source is where businesspeople come together,” said Lucas. “I like to tell Hilmon that this is where millionaires and billionaires get together to make business happen … It’s [about] taking good companies and making them great.”

“For those who are not already engaged in the tech economy, or who are not already tech versed, this is a place to come and begin to get into the waters of technology,” explained Sorey, a tech veteran and co-founder of the New York-based ClozeLopp global sales management and consulting firm, about the new for-profit tech space. “If you’re looking for a job, you can come to TechNolij and you can have a conversation with us around what your career goals are and we will help match you with a program that could get you ready to be employed – to get you skilled or re-skilled and trained in a boot camp environment that gets you ready for employment immediately in the Miami area.”

The Source, through mentorships and various workshops, can also serve as a resource for small-business owners looking to grow. The workshops vary in topic and range from product and market strategy to wealth portfolios and social media.

The Source Miami includes co-working spaces and meeting rooms for investors, small-businesses owners and those hungry to learn about tech.

“We offer mentorships and workshops that take place here for you to get specific expertise around your company, how you can grow it and stay competitive,” said Sorey. “If you’re a founder who started a company or (you’re) looking to start one, and are either looking for funding or advice … or other people like you to work around, we have a co-working space in the lab.”

When asked whether there were any costs associated with accessing these resources, Sorey said there were no monthly fees.

“I wouldn’t call them costs necessarily. We partner with companies and there are multiple ways,” he explained. “We become an equity partner … a strategic partner where we’ve done opportunities for revenue because we’re helping you grow, and we’ll take a percentage of that growth but there are no hard costs where someone is paying a monthly fee to be affiliated with the organization.”

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