Business Florida 2015 - The Regions
Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers, Naples, Punta Gorda
With its enticing combination of affordable sites, dynamic workforce and exceptional quality of life, Southwest Florida appeals to companies in such diverse industry sectors as healthcare, business services, logistics and manufacturing. Companies that start here tend to stay here, and those that relocate to this region find it a good place to grow.
Globally minded firms enjoy easy access to both domestic and international markets via I-75, which puts four deep water ports — Manatee, Tampa Bay, Miami and Everglades — within an average 160-mile drive. Southwest Florida International Airport, among the nation’s 50 busiest, and Page Field, a general aviation facility, are designated Foreign Trade Zones, and at Punta Gorda Airport, 23 mid-sized U.S. cities are now just one non-stop flight away thanks to Allegiant Air’s continued expansion.
Educational assets in this region include Florida Gulf Coast University, offering 51 undergraduate and 28 graduate degree programs, plus workshops and one-on-one-counseling for entrepreneurs at its Small Business Development Center, and Florida SouthWestern State College (formerly Edison State College), serving 17,000 students at campuses in all three Southwest Florida counties.
WHO LIVES HERE
Employers looking to put down roots in this region can anticipate having the workers they’ll need in the years ahead. The University of Florida’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research projects a 9% increase in Southwest Florida’s 25-54 age group by 2020, compared to 4% across the entire state.
Employers who are hiring
The Naples-Marco Island MSA had the nation’s highest job gains last year, according to the financial news website 247wallst.com Between October 2012 and October 2013, the number of jobs here jumped by 8%. Industry sectors leading the way: professional and business services, up 10%, and leisure/hospitality, up 7%.
At 26%, Collier County has the highest concentration of Hispanic population of any Florida county bordering the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Census data reveals. Of the total 38,309 businesses in Collier, 16% are Hispanic owned; Lee County is next closest at 14%.
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