MAJOR BUSINESS HAPPENINGS, DEVELOPMENTS AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN METRO ORLANDO
Metro Orlando has become a hub for corporate division, association and U.S. operations headquarters.
Science Applications International Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Siemens Energy Inc.,
Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, AAA, Darden Restaurants, HD Supply, L-3 Communications’ Advanced Laser
Systems Technology, Electronic Arts’ Tiburon Studios, Ruth's Chris Steak House, the Amateur Athletic Union,
international simulation companies Adacel and Indra Systems’ U.S. operations all call Orlando home and praise
the region for everything from its strategic geographic location to established industry clusters to a young
Entrepreneur and tech start-ups are mounting. Much of this is thanks to the growing resources
at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Funding for research at this young, 50-year-old university has
already surpassed $100 million, and more than 200 patents have been issued in the past seven years. In 2009,
UCF moved up from seventh place to third in the nation for the strength and impact of its patents as ranked by
IEEE, the world's leading association for the advancement of technology. Both IEEE and the Patent Board™, rated
UCF in the top ten for patent strength in 2008.
Since its founding in 1999, the UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) has helped more than 300 emerging
companies (including over 130 current clients) create over $500 million in annual revenue and more than 3200
new jobs with an average salary of $59,000. With nine opened current locations across 4 counties in Central
Florida, the Business Incubation Program is a collaboration in economic development between UCF; Orange,
Seminole, Lake, Osceola and Volusia counties; the cities of Orlando, Apopka, Sanford, St. Cloud, Winter
Springs; and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. Orlando has been recognized as a top location for
entrepreneurs and is home to one of only two National Entrepreneur Centers located in the United States .
There is a strong international presence in Metro Orlando. Mitsubishi and Siemens are
recognizable companies with a division located in Metro Orlando. In addition, over 120 other foreign based
companies are also here from countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany and more. Among the
leading, targeted trade industries: aviation, biotech and telecom. The top countries Florida is exporting to:
Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia.
Orlando is a recognized leader in simulation, laser and information technology industries.
Orlando is widely recognized as the largest cluster of modeling, simulation and training companies in the world
and the nation's military simulation training centers are based here.
Life science, biotech and medical technology industries are emerging. Orlando has made a $2
billion investment in life sciences in the region thanks to Lake Nona Medical City which consists of:
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; the University of Central Florida College of Medicine; M.D.
Anderson – Orlando Cancer Research Institute; Nemours Childrens' Hospital; Orlando VA Medical Center and the VA
Medical Simulation Center (2014); and an upcoming University of Florida research center. By year 10, the life
science cluster could create 30,000 jobs with $7.6 billion in economic impact.
In addition, also in Metro Orlando is Florida Hospital’s Nicholson Center (training facility on minimally
invasive surgical techniques for surgeons from across the globe) as well as the Global Robotics Institute and
the upcoming Florida Hospital - Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, a
partnership that serves as a bridge between basic discovery research and patient-oriented research.
Leading research and development work is coming out of UCF which includes an anthrax vaccine generated through
the genetic engineering of tobacco plants, stem cells used from bone marrow to help treat Alzheimer’s and a
protein to stop tumor cells from spreading. The area is also home to the headquarters of several national
pharmaceutical distributors and has a healthy number of medical technology companies that manufacture products
that deal with tendon repair, spinal implants, bladder control and more as well as a company using cord blood
to help save lives.
Orlando is becoming a center for digital media. The breadth of the software, simulation and
entertainment industries here is fueling the growth of the digital media sector. Over 400 companies involved in
digital media call Metro Orlando home, including Electronic Arts’ (EA) Tiburon studio, makers of one of the
world’s top selling video games, EA Sports Madden Football, among numerous other best-selling titles. To meet
the demands of an increasing workforce involved in digital media, there are several higher education institutes
offering specialized training in this industry, including the University of Central Florida’s Florida
Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA – a graduate level training in the interactive entertainment/gaming
industry), Full Sail University, Valencia College, Seminole State College of Florida and the Digital Animation
and Visual Effects (DAVE) School, among others.
In downtown Orlando, “Creative Village” – an urban environment targeting creative industry companies and
workers – is taking shape. Centered around FIEA and the nationally-recognized east coast operations of House of
Moves – the only professional motion capture studio on the east coast with fully integrated film, video and
Orlando companies are leading the way in homeland security. In addition to top defense
contracts obtained by Orlando’s Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Science Applications International
Corporation divisions, several home-grown companies are on the front lines of homeland security initiatives for
the nation. These companies’ business lines include simulation (Industrial Smoke and Mirrors),
land-mine detection (CyTerra Corp. – now part of L-3 Communications), and digital forensics
(I.D.E.A.L. Technology Corp. and Florida Law Enforcement Electronic Evidence Team at the University of
Metro Orlando has accumulated a wealth of the financial services industry. Leading companies
such as FIS and Fiserv who create banking software used by financial institutions from across the globe have
clustered in the region. In addition, major and independent banks are expanding; and related back office and
customer support centers such as Bank of New York are mounting.