Published On: Wed, Mar 22nd, 2017

Florida offers welcoming business climate, Competitive advantages, streamlined regulations


carlo-barbieriBy Carlo Barbieri


Starting and/or operating a successful business always contains a built-in element of risk. As a result, entrepreneurs seek out states that offer the fewest chances for peril and the most potential for achievement.

Florida, by population the third largest state in the union, urges business people to set up shop and keep their success churning in every corner of the Sunshine State.

Enterprise Florida, the official economic development organization for the state, cites the state’s welcoming business climate and competitive advantages not found in many areas. A favorable business tax structure, pro-business government policies and competitive costs make planning for future growth easy.

In the words of Enterprise Florida, the state has an extensive economic market, great infrastructure, vibrant industrial sectors, a smart workforce and geography perfect for easy global connectivity. What’s more, Florida has consistently been among the top states in attracting foreign direct investment and is currently home to more than 2,000 international companies.

Florida’s government, headed by business proponent, Gov. Rick Scott, works together with economic development leaders to make sure the business climate remains favorable to companies of all sizes, including some of the world’s leading corporations.

At the State House in Tallahassee, lawmakers work on financial and marketplace initiatives such as insurance tort reform, targeted industry incentives and many more. Florida is also a right-to-work state.

 Pro-business tax structure

Business investments go a lot farther in Florida, given the state’s tax advantages, tax exemptions and no state personal income tax – one of only a few states that does not require workers to dip into their hard-earned wages to support the government. Businesses thrive in this low-tax environment, and employees enjoy the benefit of no personal income tax.

Access to capital

Florida offers growing businesses access to capital from private, state, federal and other sources. The state has put into effect capital formation initiatives such as the Florida Opportunity Fund and economic gardening programs that help businesses in the state expand by offering specialized services such as market information, leadership development and business management tools.

Targeted Industry Incentives

Let’s take a look at several targeted industry incentives:

Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund: This is available for companies that create high-wage jobs in targeted high value-added industries. It includes refunds on corporate income, sales, ad valorem, intangible personal property, insurance premium and certain other taxes.

Pre-approved applicants who create jobs in Florida receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created; $6,000 in a rural community (county).

Qualified Defense and Space Contractor Tax Refund: Florida is committed to preserving and growing its high-tech employment base by giving Florida defense, homeland security and space business contractors a competitive edge in consolidating contracts or subcontracts, acquiring new contracts, or converting contracts to commercial production. Pre-approved applicants creating or retaining jobs in Florida may receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created or retained; $6,000 in a rural county.

Capital Investment Tax Credit: This is used to attract and grow capital-intensive industries in Florida. It is an annual credit, provided for up to 20 years, against the corporate income tax. Eligible projects are those in designated high-impact portions of various sectors: advanced manufacturing, clean energy, biomedical technology, financial services, information technology, silicon technology and transportation equipment manufacturing.

Projects must also create a minimum of 100 jobs and invest at least $25 million in eligible capital costs.

High Impact Performance Incentive Grant: This is a negotiated grant used to attract and grow major high impact facilities in Florida. Grants are provided to pre-approved applicants in certain high-impact sectors designated by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Let’s now turn to some workforce training incentives. Please note that Florida’s workforce of nearly 10 million can exceed the expectations of even the most demanding employers. Not surprisingly, Florida’s talent pipeline is consistently ranked among the best in the nation.

Quick Response Training: This is an employer-driven training program designed to assist new value-added businesses and provide existing Florida businesses the necessary training for expansion.

Florida’s customized training programs and incentives help companies become operational and profitable in less time and with lower costs. CareerSource Florida, the state’s innovative partnership for workforce training, provides programs such as Quick Response Training and Incumbent Worker Training to help existing and new companies recruit, train and maintain cutting-edge skills and keep pace with new technologies.

A state educational facility – community college, area technical center, school district or university – is available to assist with application and program development or delivery. The educational facility will also serve as fiscal agent for the project. The company may use in-house training, outside vendor training programs or the local educational entity to provide training.

No other place in the Western Hemisphere can match Florida’s unique combination of strategic geographic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, multilingual workforce, and concentration of corporate and financial resources. From Florida, companies can effortlessly conduct business around the corner or around the world.

Thank you, Enterprise Florida, for providing the data for today’s column.

Make sure to read next week’s edition, which will discuss doing business in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

About the Author

- My name is Carlo Barbieri, an entrepreneur, civic activist and a leader of many organizations associated with Brazil. A native of Brazil myself, I am currently the CEO of Oxford Group, a firm composed of many international consulting and trading companies. I am also a founding member of the Brazilian Business Group and founding member and Past President of the Brazil Club. In addition, I serve as a Board member of the Deerfield Chamber of Commerce. I have served as a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Brazil Partnership. Past President of the Rotary Club – Boca Raton West for the 2014-2015 term, I have also been Vice President and Professor of 2Grow – Human Development. An Ambassador of Barry University in Brazil, I am the former President of the Black Fire Bull Steak House. I have also presided over a number of organizations such as the Brazilian Association of Trading Companies (ABECE), Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil-Australia Chamber of Commerce, Brazil-Dominican Republican Chamber of Commerce; director of the Trade Center of the State of São Paulo, Brazilian Association of Freight Forwarders and Brazilian Association of Banks. I was also a local Council member for the Consulate General of Brazil in Miami, for the 2013-2017 term.

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