Miami: A Thriving Business Climate Adds Flavor To FDI

The diverse cultures, flavors and talents of Miami make it a unique global address for high-tech players in a rapidly growing hub.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2021 Issue

When tech pioneer Peter Thiel’s $6 billion venture capital firm Founders Fund decided in January to open a Miami office, it found itself in good company.

Venture capital, private equity and private wealth management firms Blackstone, I Squared Capital, Citadel, Icahn Enterprises and Starwood Capital have recently come to South Florida. Goldman Sachs’ asset management division is considering joining them from New York.

Together, they comprise a diverse, multinational base of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), technology, health care, logistics and aerospace disruptors and innovators calling the region home.

(Photo: Shutter stock/shot by ESB Professional)

The nation’s fourth-fastest growing large city, the Miami MSA has all the assets for global employers to thrive: no state or local personal income tax, a low corporate income tax, a favorable regulatory climate and a diverse talent base.

Even before the pandemic, Florida was luring close to 1,000 new residents a day. Today, executives, employees and their families are drawn by the chance to work from a culturally rich community that offers low density, appealing winters and a lower cost of living than many other comparable markets.

Outsiders have gotten the message: Miami is a hot market for domestic and foreign direct investment. The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s official economic development organization, works directly with companies looking to relocate or expand in Miami. Since 1985, they have assisted more than 1,200 businesses, creating over 100,000 jobs and driving more than $6.6 billion in new capital investments.

Among them, Norway-based Atlantic Sapphire recently invested $480 million here to open its U.S. headquarters and salmon farming operation. SoftBank Group made a $100 million commitment to fund Miami-based start-ups.


Miami is the gateway to Latin America—and the world. The county hosts 1,000 of the region’s 1,300 multinational businesses, and it’s where more than 100 languages are spoken. Spanish-language television networks Telemundo and Univision both develop their hemispheric strategies here. Miami-Dade County ranks as the second largest financial services center on the East Coast. It also boasts the third-largest number of consular corps and foreign trade offices.

(Source: Miami-Dade Beacon Council)

Miami leads the nation for foreign-born population and is second for foreign-born residents with advanced degrees. Internationally experienced lawyers, accountants, global consultants and bankers are skilled at negotiating domestic projects, on- and off-shoring operations, and launches and expansions in the region and abroad.

Business blooms in the sunshine. Miami is ranked first in start-up activity and sixth for small business by the Kauffman Foundation. It’s the top city nationally for women entrepreneurs.

The only U.S. city named a 2019 “global city for the future of connectivity” by fDI Magazine, recent tech arrivals include Spotify; point-of-sale firm Tabit; education firm GeniusPlaza; fintech specialist Pipe; and consultancy Slalom. Miami’s own REEF Technology recently closed a $700 million growth equity round.

Miami’s tech roots can be traced to the 2001 opening of the Equinix network access point (NAP) and data center. NAP founder Manny Medina’s latest venture Appgate recently was valued at $1 billion, and his eMerge Americas conference brings in 15,000 global technology leaders here annually. In all, the county’s 82 percent tech job growth over the past decade is second in the nation.

Miami is connected by air, sea and land. One of three international airports and about a dozen general aviation airports serving the tri-county region, Miami International Airport is first and third in the U.S., respectively, for international freight and international passenger traffic—and one of two certified pharma hubs globally.

Called the “cruise capital of the world” for the 6.8 million passengers who sail annually on more than 50 ships from 22 cruise lines, that’s only half of PortMiami’s story. During the pandemic, cargo operations—and a burgeoning logistics infrastructure—have broken records, in part by handling goliath loads from post-Panamax container vessels.

From pre-K to post-graduate to workforce development, the region is an educational and workforce pipeline. Award-winning Miami-Dade Public Schools claims four top-100 high schools in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings. More than a dozen colleges and universities include four R1- and R2-ranked research universities.

Miami is the nation’s top city by percentage growth of adults with graduate degrees. Need a labor pool with unique skills? Area workforce development organizations and colleges train for specific needs, especially in the emerging IT, healthcare and logistics sectors.

South Florida is dynamic and cosmopolitan with world-class museums and performing arts centers, art aficionados that come annually for Miami Art Week and its five professional sports teams.

Miami’s so culturally diverse, you can taste it. Whether living in million-dollar beachfront condos or waterfront mansions, or family-friendly and workforce-affordable suburbs, foodies from across the region discover pan-hemispheric fare that epitomizes America’s “melting pot.”

For companies seeking a global address with a tropical allure, Miami is a “salad bowl,” where unique flavors, talents and experiences enliven the region—and benefit the businesses that call it home. Diverse, culturally rich, economically disruptive and entrepreneurially ambitious, for those seeking the ideal relocation market, Miami is the destination for the 21st century—and beyond.

The Beacon Council works with local and state EDOs to help companies find their next home.

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