1.1 Florida’s Historic Business Trends
Ever since Ponce de Leon landed on Florida’s shores in 1513 in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth, Florida has been a destination for entrepreneurs with extraordinary dreams and imaginative commercial activities. Our stories are telling: Spanish explorers found rugged swamplands and saw the future sites of gleaming cities. Henry Flagler set down a railroad to the remote tropics and opened up a corridor to Florida winter tourism. Walt Disney built a child’s dreamscape, and the world’s favorite Mouse, along with Florida’s tourism industry, let loose a “roar heard round the world.” Our state’s largest city, Miami, has been called the Gateway to Latin America, and from our beaches NASA has launched rockets, satellites and space shuttles connecting us to outer space.
Today Florida remains a land well-suited for the business of big dreams. Tourism still remains a hot industry, though technology, education and healthcare are also growing at a shockingly rapid pace. Even the events of the recent economic crisis, serious as they are, have not destroyed Florida’s capacity to dream and create; to the contrary, we’re seeing new innovation in fields of simulation technology, renewable energy, disease prevention and medical research, telecommunications, aerospace and nanotechnology, just to name a few key industries.
1.2 Business-Friendly Climate
Florida is well known for its business-friendly climate, both figurative and literal. Well-developed business laws, low corporate and personal tax rates and favorable geography make Florida a favored jurisdiction for all domestic and international business. Our twenty one commercial airports, fourteen deepwater shipping ports and two spaceports are among the busiest commercial sites in the world. Supported by these ports, “Florida-origin exports” (meaning goods produced or with significant value addition in Florida) account for more exports to Latin America and the Caribbean than are exported by any other state. Florida is among the largest recipients of foreign direct investment in the U.S., and Miami is a favored jurisdiction for international banking second only to New York in the U.S. Florida supports offices of more than seventy different foreign and domestic banking institutions which provide financing to other key participants in the commerce of the state. With the fourth largest U.S. Gross State Product and the eighth largest economy in the Western hemisphere, Florida is a powerful economic engine for domestic and international businesses alike.
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