Florida led US in 21 new businesses, census data shows – Sun Sentinel
Business continues to come to South Florida regardless of, or perhaps because of, the COVID-19 pandemic, another surge in inflation, and now, a global war in Eastern Europe. .
According to recent figures from the US Census Bureau, the latest business formation figures show that Florida accounted for 683,680 of the 5.8 million new business applications filed nationwide from January 2021 to January 2022. This represents approximately 11.7%.
One of the latest out-of-state arrivals: ATN Corp., a maker of optics for civilian, law enforcement and military use, which announced on Tuesday it has moved its headquarters and facilities California manufacturing facility in Doral in western Miami-Dade County.
The move is another example of the flood of businesses heading to the Sunshine State, and a continuation of strong numbers that show Florida is a national leader during the pandemic in attracting new business or becoming a hotbed for startups.
“All areas of Florida are firing on all cylinders when it comes to economic development and job creation, especially here in South Florida,” said John Boyd, principal of The Boyd Co., a company relocation consulting in Boca Raton.
Florida’s low tax advantages over other states are still a big incentive, he said. But these days, the factors also include larger pools of skilled workers and the state’s decision to scrap pandemic-related regulations.
Some of those workers migrate here with their businesses, he said. “I think talent is now valued by a global site looking for an audience,” Boyd said. “Florida now welcomes highly skilled technical workers, not only from New York and New Jersey, but also from states like Illinois and California. There’s a new phenomenon where we’re seeing unprecedented interest from California businesses. »
Bob Swindell, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Broward County’s economic development arm, said out-of-town businesses are looking for lifestyle perks they wouldn’t find. maybe not in the northern cities.
He mentioned a financial services company that was in town last week looking for a potential location in Fort Lauderdale. A business executive who already lives in the area spoke about the schools, available talent, lifestyle and tax climate among his colleagues.
“It’s a work-life balance that people take,” Swindell said. “Most important is what are their choices outside of work?”
Economic development proponents, business lawyers and real estate brokers all agree, the driving factor for businesses deciding to come to Florida has been the state’s decision to keep its businesses exempt from various ordinances. closure, hour restrictions, vaccination and mask requirements and other measures designed to curb COVID-19 for most of the pandemic.
“Florida is a great place to live and work,” said Steve Lemenov, chief marketing officer for ATN. “It’s a lot cheaper than the Bay Area and so much more business-friendly. But I think the most important reason is the people. We are able to fill our positions here faster and with more qualified skills.
Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, said the state is providing businesses with more clarity about the regulatory environment they face.
“The idea of certainty is very valuable to employers coming from states where certainty has never been offered. Businesses don’t like the idea of being shut down. They also don’t like the idea to be open one day and forced to close another.
She said many companies are undertaking comprehensive benchmarking of how their current locations match potential landing spots in Florida.
Factors include taxes, the cost of labour, housing and transportation, and their ability to attract a workforce with the right skills.
“The moment they absolutely pull the trigger is when their employees say ‘yes, we’re ready to move,'” Smallridge said. [will] move is an encouraging sign.
“We’ve seen all of these stars align over the past two years,” she added. “Many companies realize that the business environment in Florida is very robust and business-friendly, not to mention that we are the gateway to markets in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Jonathan Kingsley, executive director of management at Colliers International, the real estate services company, agreed that the state’s political decision to keep business open during the pandemic has given Florida a leg up on other states. .
“It really starts at the legislative and policy level,” he said.
Legions of northerners flocked to Florida as short-term visitors, new home buyers and new business operators once it became known that residents and shoppers could roam the streets and neighborhoods and even eating out with limited or no restrictions. Many have settled on Florida as a great haven of fresh air with its beaches and open green spaces, even though its urban areas have become more densely populated over the years.
But Kingsley said the state already had momentum toward new business development because about 1,000 people traveled south daily before the pandemic.
“It’s certainly accelerated through COVID,” Kingsley said. “You think of it as the gateway effect. Beyond that, people just found it to be a good, safe place to get through COVID.
Early on, he said, the company began tracking “every major residential sale where the executives were putting an equity stake in the ground” buying homes in South Florida.
“Then they jumped in full force,” moving their businesses and employees to the area and, in turn, generating demand for office and industrial space.
In 2021, Fort Lauderdale welcomed more than a dozen new entrants, including financial firms such as PJ Solomon, an investment bank, PinBridge Investments, an asset management firm, and BelHealth Investments. West Marine, a marine supply company, moved its headquarters from California. Future Tech Enterprise Inc., a technology company, has moved its headquarters from New York.
“The volume of activity we are seeing in offices and industry exceeds our expectations,” he said. “And that’s purely the result of population growth.”
Lawyer Robert Lewis, whose Spiritus Law advises restaurant and club operators on how to get started, admitted he was seeing a “significant migration of new businesses” from the North East and West Coast – all looking to start n anywhere from South Florida to Orlando to the English Channel.
“We are seeing a renaissance in the hospitality industry in general,” he said. “Restaurants and nightclubs are coming back in force.”
Many of the companies he advises are those that shut down during the pandemic and are now run by people with new investment funds.
“We’re looking at more startups getting into the alcohol and hospitality industry,” he said. “Little moms and pops are looking to get into restaurants, and packed liquor stores have grown in popularity.”
The strong demand is reflected in soaring liquor license prices.
“The value differs from county to county,” he said. “If we look at Miami-Dade County, that pre-2021 license was worth $175,000. To date, this license is worth between $460,000 and $475,000.
Latino entrepreneurs continue a long tradition of starting or expanding businesses in South Florida, whether in laundry or financial services.
This week, Miami entrepreneur Sergio Aguirre announced that he was opening his first location of a laundry pickup and delivery business franchised by Mr. Jeff in Coral Gables. The company is now present in 30 countries. Customers place an order through a proprietary app to have their laundry picked up at home, with the promise that their clean clothes will be delivered within 48 hours.
Aguirre, who came up with the idea while living in Mexico, hopes to expand to Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.
“When I discovered this concept in Mexico, I had it in mind and saw how it was being developed,” he said. “It pays more than a restaurant. It’s a small business that can grow vertically.
Meanwhile, Susana Sierra, CEO of Chile-based BH Compliance, opened a US office in Miami in late 2021.
“South Florida has become a hub of technological innovation,” she said of moving her family here and opening an office. “My company is always adopting the latest technology to monitor corporate compliance programs in Latin America, so we want to benefit from Miami’s tech ecosystem.”
Lifestyle was also a factor, she said. “Weekends are like being on vacation. We do a lot of outdoor activities, including sports, go to the beach and meet people from all over the world. When people hear that I’m from moving here, they try to introduce me to their business connections and talk about their own experience as transplants from other cities and countries.