Business Florida 2013 - The Regions
North Central Florida
Alachua, Gainesville, Ocala, Perry
Home to the University of Florida — the state’s largest and most research-intensive public university — North Central Florida bustles with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial activity. Known for its competitive cost of living and abundance of natural resources, this region offers a highly skilled workforce and plenty of support for emerging companies.
A well-developed transportation network ensures that businesses, especially those engaged in distribution and manufacturing, have easy access to vital markets. Two of Florida’s major interstate highways — I-75 and I-10 — intersect in this region, which is also served by multiple other roadways, rail systems and commercial airports as well as the deepwater ports of Jacksonville, Fernandina and Tampa. In Marion County, where U.S. 27 and I-75 come together, the firm Ocala 489 is developing a 500-acre commerce park that will include a new rail spur tied to what is expected to become CSX’s main freight line through Florida.
WHO LIVES HERE
Highly educated, well informed
North Central Florida’s labor force is among the state’s most highly educated. Nearly 44% of Gainesville residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher; in 2011, the city was ranked 8th on Amazon.com’s list of “most well-read cities in America” based on book, magazine and newspaper sales.
Strong work ethic
These workers are highly committed, too. In 2011, Parade magazine rated Gainesville No. 6 on its list of “America’s 25 Hardest Working Towns,” noting that residents here work more hours a week and score higher than the national average on willingness to give up personal time for work.