By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2017 Issue
You can have peace-of-mind when you locate your business in Florida. The state’s favorable business tax structure, government policies and competitive costs make planning for future growth easy. Florida consistently ranks among the best states for business, thanks to its pro-business state tax policies, competitive cost of doing business and streamlined regulatory environment. The state is proud of its welcoming business climate and competitive advantages.
Florida’s government and economic development leaders work together to ensure that the state’s business climate remains favorable to companies of all sizes, including some of the nation’s leading corporations. Florida is working on legislative, fiscal and marketplace initiatives such as insurance tort reform, targeted industry incentives and many more. Florida is also a right-to-work state.
Florida offers a cost-efficient alternative to other competitive high-tech states. Put simply, land, labor, and capital are more affordable in Florida than in California or New York, for example. In addition, for businesses in certain targeted industries or specialized locations, the state offers additional financial incentives. Businesses looking for workforce training, road infrastructure or specialized locations may also qualify for specific incentive programs.
Business dollars go a lot farther in Florida given the state’s tax advantages, tax exemptions and no state personal income tax. Businesses thrive in this low-tax environment, and employees enjoy the benefit of no personal income tax.
Florida understands that businesses need certainty, predictability and efficiency in government regulations. The state’s regulatory agencies and local governments provide quicker, less costly and more predictable permitting processes for significant economic development projects without reducing environmental standards.
Florida offers growing businesses access to capital from private, state, federal and other sources. The state has implemented capital formation initiatives, such as the Florida Opportunity Fund, and economic gardening programs that help Florida businesses expand by offering specialized services such as market information, leadership development, and business management tools.
HIGH TECH, HIGH TOUCH: THE HUMAN FACTOR ATTRACTS AND KEEPS TECH WORKERS
Tech talent remains in high demand—and skilled workers know it. The unemployment rate for technology professionals is significantly lower than the national average—just 2.4 percent in March 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, the number of technology professionals voluntarily leaving their jobs is above the 10-year average, according to tech-hiring website Dice.
Naturally, salary remains the top draw for tech workers, but they are increasingly focusing on other factors when deciding whether to take a new job or keep the one they have. A survey of tech employees by South Florida IT search and staffing firm ProTech found that work-life balance was the second biggest reason for leaving a job after salary—the first time it came up as a top reason for switching jobs in the company’s annual survey.
With factors such as leadership and work-life balance a priority, bear in mind that prospective employees have more ways than ever to learn about a company’s culture and to seek new opportunities. Online resources such as Glassdoor and career-focused social networks like LinkedIn make it much easier for candidates to get a sense of what working for a company is really like—and for current employees to reach out to colleagues working at places where the grass actually may be greener.
Here are some tips on how to recruit and retain tech talent:
Make work-life balance a priority. Few jobs today offer old-fashioned banker’s hours, but prospective employees want a sense of the expectations—and once hired, they want companies to deliver. Development sprints and deadlines are a fact of life in the tech world, and employees understand there will be times they need to work late. “But when it happens regularly day in and day out, that’s when employees get burned out,” says Elizabeth Becker, a ProTech client partner. “They see it as a breakdown in management.”
Tech talent, especially younger workers, also have high expectations for flexibility and the ability to work from home or from remote locations. Offering a spectrum of flex time and telecommuting options both widens appeal to prospects and helps retain talent you are counting on.
Stress career growth. The second most important factor in the ProTech survey: career paths. If your company doesn’t offer clearly outlined routes to professional advancement, staff may not see why they should stay. While not every position offers an upward trajectory, especially at the time of hire, companies can send a strong message about the company’s culture by promoting employees from within into senior roles. “Emphasize that and put it into practice,” Becker advises.
Get creative with benefits. Tech companies like Netflix made headlines when they announced unlimited vacation time, but in practice these kinds of policies often prompt employees to take less—not more—vacation. Pioneering companies are requiring employees to take a minimum of two weeks of vacation or more, Becker says. Some even chip in spending money to ensure time off is spent on something fun or relaxing.
Look where the talent is. Tech companies tend to congregate in regions with large numbers of high-tech workers. Florida, which ranks fourth in the nation for high tech employment, has regional clusters of technology firms in sectors ranging from biotechnology, aerospace and aviation, advanced manufacturing, modeling, simulation and training, and others. “Our strengths are in defined clusters of technology that new companies or employees can easily integrate into,” says Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, a regional economic initiative encompassing 23 Florida counties.
Embrace diversity and inclusion. It’s no secret that the technology sector remains less than diverse. A 2016 study of 18 blue-chip tech employers conducted by PayScale found that most had fewer than 30 percent female employees; none had 50 percent or more. Finding ways to broaden the talent pipeline, such as recruiting student interns and participating in convenings that bring together diverse tech talent, can help ensure a larger pool of prospective employees into the future.
Collaborate. Companies within a sector can collaborate to increase a region’s profile as a tech hub. Berridge points to Florida ventures such as Medical City in Central Florida, the Space Coast, and international projects near ports across the state as examples of partnerships that are “helping feed the growth of the clusters… it’s exciting to see collaboration in making high-tech industry and its workforce a priority,” Berridge says. “Any one business is never alone in expanding, strengthening the industry, and having a positive impact in the community.”
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[This section was written by Mark Toner.]
SOUTHERN GEM: CAPE CORAL IS NO. 1 FOR GROWTH POTENTIAL
Competing in today’s global market can be demanding, so you want to be in a thriving business region with all the right amenities: safety, modern and convenient transportation and technological infrastructure, and a positive environment for your business sector and your employees.
If you’re considering the Southeast United States, look no farther than Cape Coral, FL, a rich and supportive business environment that enables companies like yours to grow quickly—and a paradise for the workforce.
Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and for good reason. Cape Coral boasts 266 days of sunshine a year. Here are other key factors business leaders and decision-makers need to know about Florida:
These are some of the reasons Florida is a paradise for growing businesses, as well as the state’s residents—and why it’s a dominant player in the Southeast. Florida is a state with a wide variation in demographics and amenities, so take a close look at Cape Coral, FL.
The Cape Coral MSA is one of the nation’s job growth leaders—a waterfront metropolitan area located in Lee County on Florida’s Southwest coast. Lee County has a population of roughly 650,000 people, with more than 7 million visitors each year. The local year-round population is expected to increase by more than 14 percent by the year 2020. In fact, the Cape Coral metropolitan area is the fastest growing in the nation, according to Moody’s Analytics.
Cape Coral is the largest city in Southwest Florida and stands apart from all other communities in the region. The sprawling, 120-mile city—the third largest geographically in the state—is only 48 percent built out. This means that there are wide-open opportunities for finding a prime location for your business, along with demographics suiting your goods and services.
What makes Cape Coral unique? In addition to an ideal, year-round climate, Cape Coral’s affordable real estate and competitive cost of living continue to draw national attention. Due to its rapid growth, the Cape Coral Economic Development Office (EDO) team is recruiting select business sectors to create a rich and diverse business environment. By combining federal, state, county and city incentives, we assist enterprises committed to working with us on this critical financial investment.
Here are a few keys to the Cape’s forecast:
- As the 10th largest city in Florida, Cape Coral is an ideal location for relocating businesses due to its large, talented and available workforce.
- The city boasts nearly 400 miles of navigable canals, and it’s surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River, part of the federal Intracoastal Waterway, drawing international boaters. This key amenity is a boon to homeowners and business owners in several sectors: services, products and supplies, retail and manufacturing.
- Numerous existing retailers in Cape Coral have experienced tremendous annual sales and, in some instances, are the largest grossing stores within their respective chains.
- A new conference center at the waterfront Westin Hotel will draw visitors from around the nation.
- In 2017, Moody’s Analytics expects the metro area’s population to expand 3.61 percent. It also projects that the area will have the highest rates of employment growth (3.83 percent) and output growth (6.82 percent) fueled by expanding hospitality and housing markets.
The Cape Coral Economic Development Office has designed several areas of emphasis to enhance and tailor growth with a visionary outlook for all sectors of the marketplace, including:
Veterans Investment Zone. The 240,000-square-foot Lee County VA Healthcare Center has exceeded its original projections in terms of patients, visitors and service levels. This facility draws thousands throughout the region; an estimated 260,000 veterans live in Southwest Florida. Nearby is a 15-acre Cape Coral Army Reserve Center. One component of this zone is the 222,000–square-foot Patriot Plaza planned for development on more than 430 acres of undeveloped land within 1 mile of the regional VA Healthcare Center.
Concourse at Cape Coral is a 171-acre parcel that is owned by the city, which is seeking public-private partnerships for its development, including 55 acres for shopping and 50 acres for entertainment nestled in unspoiled nature with water views.
The Cape Coral EDO is working on several fronts to attract new investors and businesses, facilitating the expansion of existing businesses, creating new and improved employment opportunities, and developing and promoting economic incentives. The Cape Coral EDO tracks emerging industries, demographics, market conditions and workforce data to provide solid resources for startups, relocations and expansions.
Savvy business owners want to be in Cape Coral. If you want to get down to business in a clean, warm and inviting environment, contact us today.
AFFORDABLE IN TAMPA BAY, HERNANDO COUNTY HAS IT ALL
Hernando County, located on the west coast of Florida in the highly-regarded Tampa Bay Region, offers the perfect blend of opportunity for business relocation, expansion and lifestyle. Availability, affordability, accessibility and community, that’s what we’re all about.
The Brooksville – Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center provides an abundance of opportunity just 40 minutes north of Tampa International Airport, and features a 7,000ft runway, an air traffic control tower, airside parcels, and CSX rail access sites with sidings in place. The Technology Center is a premier business location and the epicenter of economic development in Hernando County. The BKV Tech Center is a 2,400-acre, master planned facility with features that include available buildings, 1,000+ acres of land for development, sites with direct airside access, and a Duke Energy Site Ready 285-acre parcel with infrastructure in place. With access to more than 300,000 workers within a 30-minute drive time, a technical high school and adult education center just across the street, you can see why it is home to successful businesses such as Accuform Signs, Micro-Matic USA, e-Telequote Insurance, and Premio Foods to name just a few.
On the east side of the county, just one mile from Interstate 75 and 40 miles from the Florida Turnpike, are several hundred acres ready for development. Situated on either side of a 1.5Msf Wal-Mart Distribution Center, these two sites are prime for manufacturing or logistics.
Accessibility is key to your business and with five major highways crisscrossing Hernando County, shipping and receiving is a breeze! North-south routes include Interstate 75, U.S. 19, the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41. The latter two run adjacent to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center, providing a 2-stop light connection to Tampa Airport. I-75 is east of Brooksville and connects via the major east-west artery, State Road 50.
A business-friendly community, Hernando County is committed to growing industry. Creative and flexible business incentives are available for job creation, workforce development, and construction costs. These incentives, combined with our Rapid Response Permitting and State of Florida incentives, make Hernando County the ideal place for business.
Your future workforce needs are a top priority. Our relationships with the local school system and post-secondary institutions help to influence curriculum and workforce training programs to suit your specific business needs. Partnerships with Pasco-Hernando State College, St. Leo University, University of South Florida, University of Florida and others, along with a robust technical high school and adult education institutions like SunTech and AMSKills (a European based apprenticeship program), ensures access to any business expertise you may require as well as a pool of well-trained and motivated employees.
“All work and no play makes …” for an impossibility in Hernando County. Recreational activities are so abundant and varied, it is no wonder we are known as Florida’s Adventure Coast. Your employees and business associates will melt at the picture-perfect sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, where the Hernando County coast will lure them to some of the best fishing, scalloping and shallow-water boating in west central Florida. Inland, they will enjoy playing championship golf courses and kayaking on a matrix of rivers. You may enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding on some of Florida’s top-rated trails that meander through forests and nature preserves. For the more adventurous, zip lining, a world-class motorcycle/ATV compound and camping are also quite popular.
The metro markets of Tampa and Orlando are only a short drive away and residents in Hernando County have access to a wide range of professional sports venues, concert halls, cultural and fine arts, and some of the top-ranked beaches in the United States. Residents here enjoy big-city conveniences while living in an active suburban community where the cost of living consistently ranks the lowest of Tampa Bay’s seven county region.
With a reputation as the most affordable county in the Tampa Bay Region and offering lifestyle choices from beaches to country club to ranches to historic homes, Hernando County has something for everyone. These assets, combined with our business-friendly government, available land and an abundant and well-trained workforce, make Hernando County a natural choice for business relocation and expansion.
Fast Florida Facts
- No state personal income tax
- Streamlined regulatory environment for businesses
- Fourth-largest economy in the United States
- Visited by 98.9 million visitors each year
- The No. 1 leader in the Southeast for personal income, with a total of $840 billion
- Boasts more than $153 billion in annual merchandise trade
- Has the nation’s No. 2 infrastructure
- Offers 15 deep-water seaports, 19 commercial service airports, two spaceports, 12,000 miles of roads and nearly 3,000 miles of freight rail track routes, making it “one of the world’s most extensive multimodal transportation systems”
- Home to two of the world’s busiest airports: Miami and Orlando International
- No. 1 state in the nation for higher education based on tuition and graduation rates and No.1 for entrepreneurship based on its business birth rate, according to U.S. News and World Report.