Business Florida 2014 - The Regions
North Central Florida
Alachua, Gainesville, Jasper, Lake City, Ocala, Perry
Demographics for the North Central region can be found at Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.
• College of Central Florida
• Florida Gateway College
• North Florida Community College
• Santa Fe College
• University of Florida
• Gainesville Regional
• Ocala International
Innovative ideas and entrepreneurial activity thrive in North Central Florida, a region known for its competitive cost of living, accessibility and abundance of natural resources. As home to the University of Florida — the nation’s 12th largest public research university and one of two officially designated preeminent research universities in Florida — this region offers a highly skilled workforce and the supportive environment emerging companies need.
A well-developed transportation network ensures that businesses have ready access to vital markets via two major interstate highways and multiple additional roadways, rail systems, commercial airports and deepwater ports in Jacksonville, Fernandina and Tampa. In Columbia County, where I-10 and I-75 meet, ground will soon be broken on a 2,600-acre inland port near Lake City.
WHO LIVES HERE
Highly educated North Central Florida’s labor force is among the state’s most highly educated. In Gainesville alone, close to 44% of the residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the national average of 28%.
Eager to innovate University of Florida is a research powerhouse and catalyst for economic development. In 2012, its faculty snared $644.4 million in research grants, up $25 million from 2011. At the same time, UF’s Office of Technology executed 79 licenses/options and helped start 15 new companies based on university research.
Broad appeal Gainesville is one of "Six Best Cities for Young Professionals to Start a Career," says ComeRecommended.com, citing a "vibrant culture of innovation and entrepreneurship" and attractive starter salaries; on Forbes’ list of "25 Best Places to Retire in 2013" for its low cost of living and reasonable home prices; and, according to NerdWallet.com, the second fastest-growing U.S. city by population, percentage of employed residents and median income for workers.