Microsoft has announced plans to launch an innovation center in Miami, Florida, which analysts suggest could be used to bolster the tech giant’s growing operations in Latin America.
“The Miami Innovation Center will serve as the gateway to Latin American region,” the Microsoft stated in a press release.
Microsoft’s Latin American headquarters is in Miami and with this new center it will be better positioned to build stronger ties with the numerous global corporations that operate extensively across the region from their bases in southern Florida.
Microsoft’s operations in Latin America and the Caribbean have tripled in size in the past five years. The employee count at its Latin American headquarters has risen from 100 to 400, while reports say Microsoft employs nearly 2,000 Latin Americans in about 46 countries across the region.
Analysts say the new center will serve as a school for students and tech start-ups, providing them with the necessary tools and training to participate in the fast-changing world of technology. The facility will also help students build portfolios and gain valuable experience in preparation for entering the labor market.
Software developers, IT professionals, academics, entrepreneurs will all stand to benefit from the innovation center, which aims to develop the skills of young people, foster innovation and collaboration, and grow knowledge economies.
The 5,000 square foot complex will have a training area and hardware for testing applications and software. It is due to up and running by the end of spring 2015.
One of the first projects of the center, according to the Miami Herald, could be a summer program to teach 200 Miami-Dade County teachers about building apps. People using the innovation center will also have access to Microsoft’s BizSpark program, which offers free software and other tools to startups, as well as access to mentors from the local community and beyond.