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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

The Florida Innovation Hub
at the University of Florida The Florida Innovation Hub at the University of Florida

Growing Florida's startup companies

Across Florida, private sector entrepreneurs and researchers at state and private universities are constantly developing products and ideas that can be commercialized, and the economic impact of developing the startup companies born from those ideas within the state can be significant. At this report from Florida TaxWatch, you'll see the path of a successful startup company, learn about some successes in Florida and find out how the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem is improving.

Florida has highest insurance rates in nation

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners released a report on Monday that shows that the average premium for Florida homeowners is $1,933. That's nearly twice the national average according to data compiled by the organization. [Source: AP]

3 Florida universities rank in top 25 for patents

The University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida ranked among the top 25 universities in the world for the number of patents awarded in 2012, above academic powerhouses such as Northwestern, Harvard and Duke. [Source: Miami Herald]

Could spinach be the key to saving Florida's orange industry?

Tomorrow’s oranges might just have a little spinach in them. To battle the spread of citrus greening,Tropicana (PEP) supplier Southern Gardens Citrus has been funding research to engineer an orange plant that resists greening through a spinach gene. More from Businessweek and Food Safety News.

State lawmakers propose solution to flood insurance crisis

A bill to alleviate skyrocketing flood insurance premiums was filed Tuesday in the Florida Senate — an attempt to find a state solution to what has so far been largely a federal issue. The bill would streamline the state's regulatory procedures for flood insurance, add more state employees to vet insurance products and give homeowners more flexibility about how much they insure. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Miami Beach cartoonist inspires entrepreneurs
Miami Beach artist Hugh MacLeod has turned a habit of doodling on napkins into an artform and a business. “Most of my early work was pretty dark and angry, but I’ve become more focused on inspiration,” MacLeod said.

› Medical marijuana supporters face tight deadline
The Supreme Court isn't the only challenge facing a petition drive to put a proposed medical marijuana constitutional amendment on Florida's 2014 ballot. Organizers have until Feb. 1 to gather 683,189 voter signatures.

› Money tossed in PBIA’s fountain to be used to help charities
Travelers who toss their spare change into Palm Beach International Airport’s decorative fountain are helping pay for the work of local charities. Palm Beach County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to donate the money thrown into the airport’s fountain to 12 local nonprofit groups.

› Venezuelan interest in Miami real estate spikes online
Venezuela was the top source of foreign web traffic in October to the Miami Association of Realtors website, miamire.com. The site hosted 120,088 visits by people interested in Miami real estate, up 28.8 percent from a year ago.

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› Lofty goal: to create a new industry in Northwest Florida
Developers of the Gulf Coast Marine Life Center hope it will create a new aquaculture industry in Northwest Florida. The center’s advisory board hosted an all-day public meeting Tuesday to update residents on the project and the universities that have come aboard to partner with the facility.

› Miami-Dade Commission OKs Major League Soccer stadium talks
An excited Miami-Dade County Commission gave the go-ahead Tuesday for Mayor Carlos Gimenez to begin negotiations on a new Major League Soccer stadium. With their unanimous vote, commissioners boosted international star David Beckham and his investors’ campaign to bring a professional soccer franchise to downtown Miami.

› Canada's largest homebuilder Mattamy moves into Tampa
Canada's largest home builder is joining the snowbirds in flocking south, opening a new division in Tampa to compete for a growing demand in new homes, the company said Tuesday. Mattamy Homes is looking to acquire land here for its newest development, calling Tampa's "diverse population and economic base ... the next great opportunity" for the Ontario-based builder.

› Entrepreneurship competitions should build your business, not sap energy
Many new business founders view winning competitions as validation. The prizes are always welcome, and the exposure and connections made through them can lead to a critical leap for a new business. The problem: contests that allow unlaunched companies to compete rarely have the diligence or vetting phases needed to ensure that claims are valid and that the assumptions have been properly assessed.