The Startup Culture
New innovative companies and their support networks continue to choose Miami. These businesses are attracted to Miami’s startup mentality and dynamic entrepreneurial landscape; access to large domestic and international markets; business-friendly climate; and financing availability from banks and nontraditional sources.
Miami-Dade County’s market statistics show that the average number of business establishments grew from 87,700 in 2011 to 96,981 in 2017, for a steady expansion of 10.5 percent. The number of payroll jobs (average employment) increased from 970,110 in 2011 to over 1.1 million during the same period, for an increase of 14.1 percent. Job growth in the county’s seven target industries from 2012 to 2017 was estimated to be even higher, reaching 16 percent — or nearly 61,000 new jobs — according to Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI). This growth was led
by the technology sector, which increased 32 percent.
Miami’s startup support network includes two research universities and organizations such as Cambridge Innovation Center, Babson College and Accelerated Growth Partners. Plus, Miami’s strong multi-sector economy attracts entrepreneurs with big ideas. A few examples of local startup success include Freebee, founded by two young University of Miami business graduates, who started an eco-friendly, alternative transportation company in Miami-Dade in 2012. The company makes its money by wrapping each vehicle with an individual advertiser such as Pepsi, Goya, Macy’s or Bacardí.
Three entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Chile decided to base their travel company, Voyhoy, in Miami in 2015. Voyhoy provides travelers an affordable alternative to travel within Latin America by using alternative travel options such as buses, low-cost airlines, trains and ferries. Cargo42 is a startup based on an app that allows companies to ship their merchandise locally using empty space on commercial trucks. Clients save money on shipping, while trucking firms — which often run routes with empty space — gain extra revenue. The three co-founders first tested their concept in Boston and moved
their operations to Miami in 2016, seeing strong opportunities in the city’s large transportation and logistics businesses.
A key index of startup activity in the U.S. gave the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region top ranking in The Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index of Startup Activity, which ranked the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area No. 1 out of the country’s 40 largest metropolitan areas. This top ranking serves to further support Miami’s growing importance in the startup industry.