Florida Trend's Business Florida
A Word From the Publisher
Welcome to Business Florida 2011, the 15th edition of Florida’s official business opportunity guide.
When the first Business Florida was published in 1996, Florida had plenty to boast about. Our population had reached a whopping 14.5 million and our labor force topped 6.8 million. In the intervening years, we’ve added four million more residents and, at 9.2 million, our labor force is today the nation’s 4th largest. In 1996, Business Florida reported total merchandise trade of $52.1 billion; this 2011 edition reports trade of $103 billion. Our top merchandise trading partner remains Brazil, but the dollar value of trade with our South American neighbor has more than doubled — from $5 billion to $12.6 billion annually; China, which wasn’t even among Florida’s top five trading partners in 1996, is today ranked No. 3.
For this 2011 edition, we’ve chosen to focus on the “Top 10 Reasons To Do Business in Florida.” Some of the assets we tout today — Florida’s world-class research institutes and burgeoning cleantech and life sciences clusters, for example — were barely on our radar in 1996; in contrast, this edition includes a special report titled Research Florida that is entirely devoted to the innovative people and organizations in our state that are making a difference in the lives of people worldwide.
And while many things about Florida have changed in 15 years, many more remain the same. Our policies and tax structure are still among the most business-friendly and our quality of life is unsurpassed. I encourage you to read the following pages and discover for yourself the wealth of opportunities that awaits you in Florida.