Orlando EDC President travels to China

Filed in: General News , International business

MeiMeng_and_RickWeddle_newsroom.jpgAs president of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP), the Orlando EDC's Rick Weddle traveled to China this month to help one of the world's largest university science parks, TusPark, celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Weddle spoke to more than 400 guests from around the world, including government and university officials and science park managers and companies, about Orlando's experience with growing its Central Florida Research Park and innovation economy. He also presented Mei Meng, Chairman of TusPark, with an IASP Award for Outstanding Leadership in the science park movement during the opening ceremony.
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Weddle also was a panelist discussing the role of IASP and science parks for a taped television show on China Central Television that is scheduled to air later this year.

Learn more about IASP on its website.

September 2, 2014

Development agreement approved for smart sensor research center

Filed in: Manufacturing , Osceola County , Research and Development

Osceola County Commissioners approved a development agreement with the University of Central Florida and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council on Monday that lays out construction details for the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.

The 100,000 square-foot, 2-story building will be built on 20 of the 165 acres set aside for economic development on U.S. Highway 192, across from Osceola Heritage Park. The budget for the first phase is $70 million. The county will be responsible for design and construction, which is expected to begin in March 2015, with a 2-year timeline to completion.

"This is just the next step in our vision to grow high-wage jobs for Osceola County and Central Florida. The center will be the heart of research aimed at advancing technologies that will shape the future," said Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr. "Interest is high in this facility and I'm confident that it will make Florida a global leader in a rapidly growing industry."

The center will be the home of research facilities that will design the future generations of sensors, making everything from automobiles, surgical devices, home appliances and a host of other devices safer and more useful.

"This is a unique opportunity for Florida," said M.J. Soileau, vice president for research & commercialization at UCF. "We are already working diligently to attract the highest-caliber research and development talent to help this consortium meet the needs of high-tech industry in Florida."

UCF and Florida High Tech Corridor Council will each provide $1 million to support administration and marketing of the R&D Center to potential users.

"The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, a partnership between Osceola County, UCF and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, is a great example of a team effort to be a leader in adding research, manufacturing and other high-tech, high-wage jobs in the region and our state. It is an opportunity to see and be part of Florida's future," said Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council."

Details of the agreement include:

* The initial construction will include shell space for the ultimate 100,000 square foot facility and build-out of clean room, office/laboratory and support space based on the available project budget. It is anticipated that approximately one-third of the building will be built-out in the initial phase. Subsequent phases are dependent on the availability of additional funds.

* The initial phase budget of $70 million breaks down as follows: (1) a Building Budget of $50 million for design and construction of the R&D Building, which will be funded from net proceeds bonds payable from the local government half-cent sales tax to be issued by the County (Sales Tax Bonds); (2) a Tools Budget of $11 million for acquisition and installation of specialized equipment for research and development (Tools), which shall be also funded from net proceeds of the Sales Tax Bonds; (3) a Flex Budget of $9 million funded by UCF.

* The design and construction of the complete R&D Building will cost approximately $75 million with an additional $120 million for Tools and other project costs. The County and UCF will work together to secure the additional resources from National, State, and Regional governmental organizations and community partners. If and when additional resources are secured, the County and UCF have agreed to supplement the Development Agreement, as necessary, to establish a capital budget and provide for design and construction of improvements to the R&D Building and the acquisition and installation of additional Tools.

"This center provides our region with a leapfrog strategy for Florida's global competitive advantage in the research and development of next-generation universal smart sensors," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. "Becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing with the establishment of this center and its related initiatives will help create more than 20,000 high-paying tech-oriented jobs over the next decade."

August 26, 2014

First U.S. industry-led smart sensor consortium in Osceola County

Filed in: Manufacturing , Economic Development Projects , Osceola County , Research and Development

QuarterlyInvestorUpdate_81214_small.jpgIn June, we told you about a state-of-the-art research center focused on the next generation of universal smart sensors. As mentioned, the center's goal was to recruit companies to create the world's first industry-led smart sensor consortium.

At our Quarterly Investor Update held at Osceola Heritage Park last week, leaders from Osceola County, University of Central Florida and the Orlando Economic Development Commission announced the creation of the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (iCAMR) with a panel discussion that also included GrayRobinson, P.A. and Lockheed Martin.

The consortium is already hard at work recruiting companies from around the world to develop and manufacture the next generation of universal smart sensors for a variety of industries - from agriculture and aerospace to medical and defense - and will provide Florida with an unmatched global competitive advantage in advanced manufacturing.

Orlando EDC Chair Scott Faris praised local leaders and UCF researchers for their multi-year dedication to the project.

"This technology will take us into the future," said Osceola County Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr., whose county pledged $61 million to establish a partnership with UCF and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council to create the center.

By next year, industry leaders expect the international smart sensor market to be at $7.8 billion and could reach $1.9 trillion by 2020.

"We're going to be the leader in this technology space in the world, thanks to this project," said Charlie Gray from GrayRobinson, P.A.

Calling the project "game changing," Jeff Pridmore of Lockheed Martin said iCAMR and its research center will allow for more companies in the region to become involved in advanced manufacturing, reducing barriers to entry. "There has been a hole in this region, and this consortium will help fill that gap," he said.

Based on similar technology and incubation consortia in other U.S. cities, local leaders expect iCAMR could help create 20,000 high-tech jobs in the next decade across the region.

To help fund start-up operations costs, the state recently awarded the consortium a $1.9 million Quick Action Closing Fund, while the consortium continues raising additional money for research and development, as well as recruiting industry partners.

August 19, 2014

Design Interactive to create 20 jobs in Orlando

Filed in: Economic Development Projects , Entrepreneur , General News , Innovative Companies , Jobs , Orange County

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Small business expansion will create at least 20 jobs and a capital investment of $800,000

Governor Rick Scott announced that Design Interactive will expand in Orange County. The company specializes in human-systems integration, including human performance assessment, training systems design and evaluation and usability engineering for the defense industry, other federal agencies and the commercial sector. The project will create at least 20 high-wage engineering and support positions and a capital investment of $800,000.

Governor Scott said, "Design Interactive's expansion is great news for Florida families, and 20 new jobs will be created for families in the Orlando area. With the help of businesses like Design Interactive, we are continuing to build an opportunity economy in Florida. Let's keep working so Florida families and businesses have every opportunity to succeed, invest in their future and live the American Dream."

Founded in 1998 as a woman-owned small business by Kay Stanney, Design Interactive creates software solutions that are commercial, research and government contract-related. The jobs created as a result of this expansion will be mostly Ph.D.-level jobs that specialize in human-systems integration research and development (R&D). As a result of its expansion, Design Interactive is moving its operations to a larger facility in Orlando after also considering Virginia and Washington D.C.

"Due to our strong, continued growth over the past three years, we are looking to add design, engineering and computer programming staff to our vibrant team," said Stanney, President of Design Interactive.

Design Interactive's human-systems R&D focuses on providing adaptive, engaging solutions that optimize human performance and profoundly enhance the user experience. To compete on a national level, Design Interactive employs a team drawn from a variety of industry experience and academic backgrounds, including a software team, psychologists, human factor engineers, computer engineers and industrial engineers.

Florida consistently ranks among the top five states in the nation in the receipt of Department of Defense contract awards. Florida defense and homeland security industry boasts more than 50,000 current defense professionals, more than 42,000 active duty military and large numbers of former military and NASA personnel comprise our impressive pool of workers with the skills and security clearances in demand by industry employers.

"Florida is home to one of the nation's largest defense and homeland security industries, and few states can even come close to matching the scale and scope of our network of major contractors and suppliers," said Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as President and CEO of Enterprise Florida. "The expansion of Design Interactive in Orlando is proof that Florida has the workforce and perfect business climate for companies to succeed."

This project was made possible with the help of close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Orange County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

"Florida's skilled labor force and strong support for the defense and homeland-security industries have created an opportunity economy for businesses like Design Interactive. Design Interactive's decision to expand in Orlando will further Florida's reputation as a military-friendly state," said Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

"We are thrilled to have Design Interactive become a part of the Orange County community," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "We have the world's largest cluster of Modeling, Simulation and Training companies and this project really adds to that incredible asset. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we look forward to working with Design Interactive as they grow their business."

"Orlando is the global capital for Modeling, Simulation and Training, with companies working alongside both military and commercial partners. Design Interactive's expansion to grow its commercial customer base is evidence of the incredible synergies between industry, military and academia that are driving this industry's strength in our region," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission.

***

Design Interactive is a certified woman-owned small business. Founded in 1998, Design Interactive Specializes in human-systems integration, including Human Performance Assessment, Training Systems Design and Evaluation, Cognitive Readiness, and Next-Generation HSI. In 2009, Design Interactive was named one of Central Florida's top woman-owned businesses by the Orlando Business Journal.

Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a partnership between Florida's businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. EFI facilitates job growth for Florida businesses through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses.

Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the region. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed. For more information, visit www.OrlandoEDC.com.
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August 14, 2014

Online healthcare booking company expands in Seminole County

Filed in: Economic Development Projects , Innovative Companies , Jobs , Seminole County , Why Orlando?

BTD_LOGO_COLOR.jpgWhen BookThatDoc first launched in October 2013, the company had fewer than 10 employees. Today, this unique online healthcare scheduling service announced it would expand its Altamonte Springs-based service by 40 jobs over the next three years and make a capital investment of $580,639 in the region.

"With the support of our community partners and medical professionals, we've been thrilled by the growth of our service, which helps people find and schedule medical appointments online instantly and provides important healthcare information - at no cost," said Matt Bohannon, President of BookThatDoc.

BookThatDoc is a free service that helps patients find a medical provider, book appointments and engage with peers and medical professionals in its online, interactive forum devoted to healthcare information.

With about 1,500 members signed up, BookThatDoc provides online scheduling for about 130 medical professionals, including general practice, pediatricians, dentistry and specialists. Its online directory also lets people search for healthcare services by name, specialty, location and insurance.

The company said it plans to add jobs in information technology, software development and customer service to expand its scheduling services to medical professionals from Jacksonville to Tampa. Eventually, BookThatDoc hopes to offer online scheduling for practitioners statewide.

"The Orlando area's commitment to growing technology startups has helped drive our expansion plans, which involve hiring locally," Bohannon said. "The region's large numbers of young professionals and families provide a perfect match for our online booking services."

"Retaining and expanding existing businesses is a critical element in our ongoing efforts to stimulate our local economy," said Seminole County Chairman Bob Dallari. "Seminole County is committed to assisting BookThatDoc grow, expand and succeed."

"Our region's reputation for talented workforce, especially in tech, and its growing life sciences and healthcare industry make it the ideal location for BookThatDoc to expand," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. "We're pleased with BookThatDoc's decision to grow its service base and create new jobs for our community."

Seminole County, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Seminole State College and CareerSource Florida collaborated on this project.

BookThatDoc is an innovative, online solution to finding and booking doctors instantly online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its goal is to provide consumers with information about medical providers where they need them, when they need them and with real-time referrals all at their fingertips. Online booking is easy, quick, convenient and free.

Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the region. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.

August 13, 2014

National Business Incubation Association selects Orlando as new headquarters

Filed in: Economic Development Projects , Entrepreneur , Headquarters , Small business , Why Orlando?

nbia_logo.jpgThe National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), the world's leading organization advancing business and entrepreneurship, announced today it will relocate its headquarters and the formation of the Global Training Center for Business Incubation & Innovation to Orlando from Athens, Ohio, to service more than 2,200 members worldwide.

Orlando's nationally recognized incubation and entrepreneurship resources have earned praise from Entrepreneur magazine and American City Business Journals as one of the top places in the country to grow or start a small business. Orlando recently was ranked Florida's top city for overall friendliness toward small businesses by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Thumbtack.

"NBIA selected Orlando because of its reputation as being the home of entrepreneurship and innovation, making it the ideal place to expand our programs and enhance our mission," said Karl R. LaPan, NBIA's Board Chairman and interim President and CEO. "The fact that the Orlando region has one of the best business incubation network systems in the world is icing on the cake."

Already home to the National Entrepreneur Center - one of only two such centers in the nation - Orlando also boasts the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) - one of the largest in the Southeast and named the 2013 NBIA Incubator Network of the Year.

"The UCF Business Incubation Program is one of the best in the country, and Orange County has been a proud supporter and funder of this program for over a decade," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "Along with a number of other small business, minority development and entrepreneurial programs that are already established in our community, NBIA's relocation of their headquarters to Orange County is a perfect fit with our focus on growing jobs by creating a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem."

NBIA officials said they plan to establish the new headquarters and Global Training Center for Business Incubation & Innovation in the Central Florida Research Park and look forward to partnering with existing incubation and entrepreneurship programs throughout the region, as well as developing global partnerships. With more than 900 member organizations worldwide, NBIA provides education, advocacy and networking resources to early-stage companies.

Incoming NBIA Chairman Elect and Executive Director of the UCF Business Incubation Program Tom O'Neal said, "The relocation of the NBIA to Orlando puts the region in the forefront of innovation-related activity in the world. By working with the NBIA and having direct access to its expertise, we hope to further strengthen the region's innovation culture by building stronger and more successful companies."

While UCF's BIP focuses on startup companies, currently serving 148 clients across four counties, the university has expanded its entrepreneurial resources to include services for innovators in multiple stages, from students to small businesses to second-stage companies and more. It recently formed a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to allow seamless access for clients in any stage.

"Our region's cutting-edge commitment to entrepreneurs, including some of the nation's finest incubators, the GrowFL economic gardening programs and more make this the perfect stage from which NBIA can promote that kind of activity around the world," said Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) President Randy Berridge, adding that the FHTCC would provide support for facilities and administration.

NBIA says it also plans to work closely with Orlando's National Entrepreneur Center, which has coached and trained more than 100,000 businesses and facilitated more than $150 million in loans since its inception in 2003.

"This is truly a win-win for our region as we welcome the premier organization for business incubation in the country, and NBIA joins an entrepreneurial community that has been nationally recognized for collaboration," said Jerry Ross, Executive Director of the National Entrepreneur Center. "This is very good for the Orlando area, NBIA and for innovative companies everywhere."

"NBIA's decision to relocate here is a great opportunity for the whole community," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, which assisted NBIA in its headquarters relocation decision. "It will benefit UCF's currently established incubation program, small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs."

Initially, NBIA considered more than 30 cities for its new headquarters, narrowing its final list to Orlando, Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix.

Partners on the project include the Orlando Economic Development Commission, University of Central Florida, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange County, the City of Orlando and the National Entrepreneur Center.

National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) is the world's leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship, with 930 organizations and 2,200 professional members in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1985, NBIA has provided industry professionals with information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies. NBIA business incubation programs catalyze the process of starting and growing companies by providing entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools they need to make their ventures successful. NBIA estimates that in 2011 alone North American incubators assisted approximately 49,000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for nearly 200,000 workers and generated annual revenue of nearly $15 billion.

UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) is a non-profit community resource, which provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies (including nearly 150 current clients and more than 100 graduates) reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources. With eight facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando, St. Cloud and Winter Springs.

Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) is an economic development initiative of the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF). The mission of FHTCC is to grow high tech industry and innovation through partnerships that support research, marketing, workforce and entrepreneurship. The unique partnership of more than 20 local and regional economic development organizations, 14 state/community colleges and 10 workforce boards has resulted in a strategic approach to high tech economic development that supports matching funds research, marketing, workforce development and entrepreneurship leveraging governmental, EDO and corporate budgets on a regional rather than local basis.

Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the region. The
EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed. For more information, visit www.OrlandoEDC.com.

National Entrepreneur Center (NEC) is home to a variety of independent business organizations that offer free business coaching, low-cost business training, and a variety of networking events and business resources designed to accelerate the growth and development of small businesses. Founded in 2003, through the public-private partnership of Walt Disney World, Orange County Government and the University of Central Florida, this shared facility and collaborative approach to small business development has attracted national recognition as a model of efficiency and leverage. Since inception, the resident organizations of the NEC have trained and counseled small businesses in record numbers, while creating nationally recognized business development programs.

August 7, 2014

Deloitte to open U.S. Delivery Center, create 1,000 jobs

Filed in: Economic Development Projects , General News , Jobs , Seminole County , Why Orlando?

deloitte-logo.jpgDeloitte Consulting LLP (Deloitte) will open a U.S. Delivery Center in the Orlando, Florida, region creating up to 1,000 new jobs over the next four years and making a capital investment of $24.6 million in Seminole County.

The professional services firm will locate in a 130,000 square foot facility in Lake Mary and will hire software development, system analyst and information technology positions.

"The opening of the U.S. Delivery Center allows Deloitte to help clients scale and deliver projects efficiently through a focus on quality and standardized processes and procedures," said Bonnie Barnes, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and U.S. Delivery Center leader. "It also creates a great place for innovation and knowledge development that closely aligns with other centers. Deloitte's centers have a unified operating strategy, collaborate frequently, and can load-share to help drive efficiencies. The goal is to help clients in their efforts to drive projects to higher levels of business value and efficiency, by enhancing quality, while reducing project timelines and costs."

"Access to skilled workers -- especially in areas such as business, HR, IT and systems engineering -- and proximity to well-respected educational institutions make the Orlando area an optimal location for our Delivery Center," noted Bert Naquin, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Center director. "This is an extension of our long-standing commitment to the state -- both as an employer and as an active member of the community. Deloitte LLP already employs 877 Florida professionals in five locations and recruits from 16 of the state's colleges and universities. In June, more than 600 of our people spent a day volunteering their time and skills at 27 community service projects as part of our 15th annual IMPACT Day. With the opening of our Delivery Center, we look forward to being an equally committed member of the Orlando community in the years to come."

"Seminole County is proud to be the new area of focus for Deloitte Consulting," said Seminole County Chairman Bob Dallari.

"Lake Mary is thrilled to be selected as the home for Deloitte's new U.S. Delivery Center," said Lake Mary Mayor David Mealor. "And it's even more fitting that they are moving into the space previously occupied by Verizon Communications. We're proud that Lake Mary/Seminole County is becoming a location of choice for firms that want to consolidate their high-value operations in one place."

"We're glad that Deloitte Consulting sees the value in graduates from UCF's engineering and computer science program who will likely make up a substantial portion of their workforce," said Dr. John Hitt, president of the University of Central Florida (UCF).

"The selection of Deloitte to locate a major presence in the Orlando region tells the world that Orlando is also a great place for business," said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission.

Seminole County, the City of Lake Mary, the University of Central Florida, CareerSource Central Florida, Florida High Tech Corridor, and the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) partnered on this project.

Deloitte Consulting LLP helps organizations grow their businesses and enhance value by identifying actionable insights. More than 23,000 professionals provide a broad range of capabilities across human capital, strategy and operations, innovation and technology that are aligned to the particular needs of specific sectors, businesses and organizations. Deloitte provides clients with leading business insights that can help generate a tangible and measurable impact.

Orlando Economic Development Commission is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the Orlando region. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.

August 4, 2014

Forbes features Orlando's startup scene

Filed in: General News , Small business , Why Orlando?

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"Orlando has long been known for its tourism, but many people aren't aware that its second largest industry is tech," writes Elaine Pofeldt in a new article "How to Create a Startup Hub" posted on Forbes.com.

The article highlights Orlando as a model for other communities and features the Orlando Economic Development Commission, University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program and National Entrepreneur Center and mentions numerous organic tech meetups.

EDC President and CEO Rick Weddle, Waymon Armstrong of Engineering and Computer Simulations and Philip Holt of SPLYT are all quoted in the article, all of whom met with editors and reporters from Forbes while in New York City earlier this year on a media mission. This is a result of follow up interviews.

July 31, 2014

Orlando top ranked for small businesses, tax climate

Filed in: Entrepreneur , Rankings , Why Orlando?

orlando skyline 2012_350w.jpgOrlando earned accolades this week for both its friendliness toward small businesses and favorable tax climate, according to two reports from the Kauffman Foundation and KPMG International.

In partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Thumbtack.com rated Orlando an "A" overall as one of the friendliest cities in the country for small businesses and entrepreneurs. While Florida earned a "C+" overall, Orlando is the top-rated city in the state.

The Small Business Friendliness Survey was compiled from more than 12,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country, and its Orlando findings are available here.

"After a two-month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, Orlando has emerged as one of the top cities in the country for small business," said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist at Thumbtack.com.

Other key findings of the Kauffman Foundation study ranked Orlando as 6th in the country for its regulatory friendliness and gave the City Beautiful an "A+" for the friendliness of its tax code, licensing laws and zoning and environmental regulations.

Orlando also offers one of the most favorable tax structures for businesses among major international cities, according to a new study released by KPMG International.

KPMG's 2014 Competitive Alternatives: Focus on Tax study is a global comparison of the total tax burden that companies in 107 cities throughout 10 countries may face, including corporate income taxes, capital taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, miscellaneous local business taxes and statutory labor costs.

Of the 51 large international cities highlighted in the study, Orlando ranked 18th overall and 9th in the United States.

Orlando had an overall total tax index of 88.2, representing tax costs 11.8 percent below the U.S. baseline of 100.

Other findings in KPMG's study include:

Corporate Services - Orlando had a total tax index of 90.2, representing tax costs 9.8 percent below the U.S. baseline of 100 - 11th among the 51 large international cities (4th in the U.S).

Digital Services - Orlando had a total tax index of 90.1, representing tax costs 9.9 percent below the U.S. baseline of 100 - 12th among the 51 large international cities (5th in the U.S).

Manufacturing - Orlando had a total tax index of 86.8, representing tax costs 13.2 percent below the U.S. baseline of 100 - 20th among the 51 large international cities (11th in the U.S)

Research & Development - Orlando had a total tax index of 90.9, representing tax costs 9.1% below the U.S. baseline of 100.0 - 18th among the 51 large international cities (11th in the U.S.).

Read KPMG International's full study here.

July 16, 2014

Advanced IT Concepts expands local headquarters

Filed in: Defense , Economic Development Projects , Headquarters , Jobs , Seminole County , Why Orlando?

AITC Makes IT_newsroom.jpgToday, Governor Rick Scott announced that Advanced IT Concepts, Inc. (AITC) will expand its corporate headquarters in Seminole County. AITC provides systems integration, professional services and value-added resale of Information Technology (IT) solutions to both the government and private sectors.

The expansion in Winter Springs will bring 50 new jobs and a capital investment of $1.87 million, including land, to the area over the next five years.

Governor Scott said, "AITC's addition of 50 jobs in Seminole County is great news. Now more Floridians will have the opportunity find a job and support their families. Since December 2010 Florida businesses like AITC have created more than 580,000 private-sector jobs. This announcement is further proof that Florida is the best place in the nation to get a job and raise a family."

Founded in 2010, AITC is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business and is among the fastest-growing small businesses in Seminole County. It was recently named by the Orlando Business Journal as one of Central Florida's 50 fastest-growing, privately owned companies and ranked 39th for fastest-growing small business in Florida. AITC considered moving to Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia but chose Florida for its expansion to better suit the company's clients.

"We sincerely thank Governor Scott, his team and Seminole County government for providing the environment, resources and support needed for this significant step. The support received by AITC will allow us to focus on growing the company and creating new jobs to better serve our clients," said Gabriel Ruiz, AITC's President and CEO.

AITC was founded by former military IT professionals to assist customers through the design and implementation of innovative IT solutions for the defense industry. AITC draws on significant telecommunications and IT experience to provide advisory services, strategic planning, program management, system deployment and technology specialists, as well as engineering, logistics and training support.

Florida's high-tech economy and workforce make it a great location for homeland security and defense businesses looking for workers with the expertise needed to compete in this rapidly-evolving industry. Florida is ranked third in the nation for high-tech establishments. In addition, the state's software and computer systems design and integration industry is one of the largest in the U.S., with nearly 12,600 firms. Nearly half of the more than 80,000 professionals who work in the field are employed by software development firms, with the rest working in related technology-intensive industries throughout the state.

Enterprise Florida's President and CEO, Gray Swoope, said, "AITC adds value to several of Florida's industries. This expansion is great for Florida's IT and defense sector, and the company has proven its ability to thrive as a small business in the Sunshine State. Florida's resources, including a strong workforce, expansive infrastructure and strategic partnerships, have created one of the top business climates in the country. We're excited to see the growth of AITC and I look forward to their continued success."

This project was made possible with the help of close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Seminole County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

"AITC's story of growth as a Florida business is confirmation that our sound economic policies and business-friendly environment are working. The accomplishments achieved by AITC's founders demonstrate that Florida is a great place for veterans to start or grow their businesses. Florida's economy is a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed through innovation, creativity, and hard work," said Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

"On behalf of Seminole County, I am excited to welcome Advanced IT Concepts, Inc. to our community. AITC's decision to relocate to Seminole County means increased opportunities for Seminole County area residents, and is a testament to the pro-business atmosphere we continually strive to foster," said Seminole County Chairman Bob Dallari.

"Orlando is a world leader in defense technology - by both large and enterprising small businesses. We're pleased with AITC's decision to expand locally and create jobs that will bolster our region's reputation as a premier location for innovation and skilled workforce," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission.

July 14, 2014

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