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Just Another Reason Why We Call South Florida Home
A large map of the technology companies in South Florida greeted us at the doors as we walked into South Florida Business Journal’s first in a series of Tech Talks. The event brought together educators, civic leaders and South Florida-based disruptive technology start-ups to discuss what needed to be done to nurture and retain the pool of STEM talent in the region. ERP Maestro’s CEO Jody Paterson was on the panel discussing why he chose the Gold Coast for the company headquarters.
South Florida has it all:
If the impressive statistics brought up during the panel discussion are anything to go by, South Florida clearly has more to it than beaches and sunshine. As the City of Hollywood’s, Raelin Storey, who gave the opening speech pointed out, “Florida’s tech talent pool has grown by 25 percent in the last five years.” Fort Lauderdale is ranked 4th in the U.S. for the fastest growing tech pool. Miami’s metropolitan area, including Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, leads the state’s tech industry with an estimated 8,167 tech business establishments and nearly 80,000 workers.
David Coddington, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s VP of Business Development, said, “It is no wonder that technology companies like Magic Leap, e-Builder and Ultimate Software have set up shop in the Sunshine State or that Miami was shortlisted among the top 20 cities for Amazon’s second headquarters.”
The perception that this is a holiday destination isn’t too bad after all. People come here for the holiday but stay for the opportunity. As Jody explained, “At ERP Maestro, we sometimes wear shorts to work and that is OK here in Florida. This place has the perfect balance of comfort and cutting-edge. Even the turnover rate here is 60 percent less than it is on the West Coast.”
But is there a brain-drain happening here? Wyncode’s COO and panelist Johanna Mikkola pointed out that two-thirds of the college graduates are staying. Jimena Zubiria, VP of University at TheVentureCity, quickly added, “Even if they do leave, they come back – like I did. Instead of being one in 56,000 employees at Google, I decided to move back here because I saw the opportunities and choices that were opening up back home.”
By 2020, it is said that there will be 1.4 million tech jobs but little over 400,000 candidates. It is not just the existing talent pool that is a concern; South Florida is preparing the workforce of the future as well. According to Andrew Duffell, President & CEO of the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, “Florida educators and universities are focused on starting early with the STEM program by helping children think critically.”
“But what about funding?” Florida is ranked No.4 in the top five states that garnered 80 percent of the country’s venture capital investments in 2017. Southeast Florida is ranked 8th in the share of total U.S. venture capital investments, and 104 venture capital deals were signed by startups in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties in 2017. And not to forget, ERP Maestro recently secured a second round of funding.
South Florida also provides the best business tax climate with zero personal income tax making business sense for companies to set up offices here.
In addition to the solid infrastructure and many other regional benefits, South Florida has great weather, making it an ideal place to also play hard. Admittedly, it can be a tad on the hot side for a few months of the year, but it’s more fun shoveling sand at the beach than shoveling snow. SoFlo, as it is colloquially called, is an ideal place to work, live and holiday.
As the map in the doorway aptly states, “Work in the Cloud. Live in the Sun.”
These are reasons enough to live and work in Florida, and we’re hiring. Visit our Careers Page to see the current job openings and to apply.