In recent years, Miami gained recognition as a hotbed for new businesses and entrepreneurs flocked.
There were incubators and accelerators aplenty and the ecosystem was booming.
The rising costs and over-saturation of areas like Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, and NYC made them prohibitively expensive, so it is easy to understand why other startup cities became attractive.
Miami, Boulder, and Boise are just a few of the rising startup cities.
So What Makes a City Right for This Kind of Gold Rush?
Network Capital Funding, a direct mortgage lender with a startup mentality, was one of many businesses to recently be courted by Florida and encouraged to open an office in the state.
Along with state incentives, the company found an influx of young talent moving to the area, and particularly Miami. Companies all over the U.S. are tracking the movement of millennials who are seeking more affordable living situations, and Network Capital found plenty of them in Florida. To learn more about the decision matrix behind opening an office in Miami, I spoke with Tri Nguyen, CEO and founder of Network Capital.
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With 122 companies on the 2014 Inc. 5000, Miami has proven that it is a popular destination for business as well as fun in the sun. There is a growing ecosystem of incubators and coworking spaces and an increase in younger talent moving to the area. “As we considered opening our office in Miami it came down to the growing number of Millennials in the city, which is fostering a culture of innovation.” Nguyen shared.
From a monetary perspective, Florida does not have state income taxes and boasts promotions that alleviate property tax. The cost of living is also much lower than other states like New York and California, giving employees greater financial freedom.
Youthful Talent Pool
Known as the “Magic City”, Miami has a huge tourism economy and thus the hospitality industry is the big player in town. But in order to cultivate a young, energetic, and driven startup culture it is necessary to integrate this youthful talent pool, which could mean stealing them away from other regional employers.
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“Miami hasn't been known to have a lot of finance companies, which some might look at as a problem, but I saw it as an opportunity to recruit untapped potential,” Nguyen explained. Miami's industries are primarily hospitality and real estate, which fluctuate with the economy and have high turnover rates. Opening businesses with long-term growth potential creates opportunities in a community that has few options for secure employment.
In fact, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCooper, 52 percent of Millennials cited “growth opportunities” as their number one motivating factor when choosing an employer.
Tangibles and Intangibles
The low cost of living, strong transit system, desirable and hungry talent pool, and loyal work ethic ingrained in the fabric of the community are all huge tangible wins for Miami. As Miami becomes increasingly more cosmopolitan, there is a vibrancy in the air that creates a positive quality of life that is missing in other metro cities. Residents embrace creativity through art, music, museums and festivals as well as the consistent influx of tourism that helps create an evolving cultural identity.
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Overall, Nguyen says his company is seeing more and more traditional industries entering the market and stimulating the economy. Millennials are also more empowered to work in career positions that propel them into long-term professions. “And the stereotype that this generation is lacking loyalty is not always true. We’ve managed to maintain a 90 percent promote-from-within rate,” says Nguyen.