Business Florida 2013 - The Regions
Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlote, Punta Gorda
With its enticing combination of affordable sites, educated workforce and dynamic quality of life, Southwest Florida appeals to companies in such diverse industry sectors as technology, retail, manufacturing and healthcare. Florida Gulf Coast University and several emerging technology and research parks are luring new businesses and providing existing firms with the resources they need to innovate and prosper.
Companies that start here tend to stay here, and those that relocate to this region find it a good place to grow. New Jersey-based TZ Insurance Solutions opened a Lee County office in 2011 with the promise of adding 125 jobs; to date, TZ has hired 140-plus. Likewise, long-time Collier County-based surgical device manufacturer Arthrex Inc. has plans to add 600 jobs and a new manufacturing facility.
Southwest Florida offers excellent transportation connections, including the I-75 corridor linking the region to Tampa to the north and Miami to the east, plus two designated Foreign Trade Zones at the recently expanded Southwest Florida International Airport and at Page Field, a general aviation airport.
WHO LIVES HERE
With a median age of 49, Southwest Florida’s workforce spans two eras: Baby Boom with its traditional work ethic and Generation X, proficient in multitasking and technology. Employers looking to round out their talent base can benefit from both.
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers, with satellite centers in Cape Coral, Punta Gorda and Naples, is a strong economic partner, offering 52 undergraduate and 30 graduate degree programs as well as courses centered on skills that area employers need most. FGCU’s Small Business Development Center hosts specialized workshops throughout the year.
Growing Asian community
Asian and Pacific Islanders represent less than 2% of the total population in each of the region’s three counties, but their numbers have nearly tripled in 10 years. As a result, all types of Asian-owned and -oriented businesses — from law firms to restaurants — are taking root here.