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Startup Climate Heats Up as Florida Gets Voted #1 State for Innovation

Apr 24, 2013

As Floridians, we know how to take a few knocks and roll with the punches – especially when many digs concern our hot, humid and hurricane-prone peninsula. It’s our birthright. Or, if you’re like the millions of us who’ve hailed from elsewhere, it’s a position you learn to adopt and quickly embrace.

And, yes, we admit that amid the sardonic wit there are some bitter truths: Florida is not the smartest state (based on average IQs). Several of its cities – Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville – vie for the dubious distinction of Murder Capital of the State. And when it comes to insurance fraud there is no equal with 3,530 suspect claims from 2008 through the first of 2012 alone; 851 claims ahead of California, its nearest rival. Yikes!

Welcome to FloridaBut sometimes the light shines on us Sunshine Staters for the right reasons! Which is why I’m proud to join the “Go Us” bandwagon after Fast Company crunched the numbers and ranked Florida as the nation’s number 1 state for innovation.

Of course, Governor Rick Scott lost no time championing the accomplishment.

“One of my top priorities since taking office has been to get Florida back to work by creating the most favorable business climate in the nation,” he said in a press release. “…Our efforts are working and it’s very rewarding to see an industry-leading publication like Fast Company give us this recognition.”

Pushing the political showmanship aside, the announcement really is good news. Not only was Florida ranked the country’s most innovative state, it scored high in other categories too – most notably as the state with the third highest revenue per startup at $1.2 million and the second highest rate of private-sector job creation.

And when good news like this goes viral it sends strong signals to other would-be-entrepreneurs to set up shop here too. Florida gets knocked for many things. But as we’ve written in the past, South Florida Startups are Working Hard to Help the Region Shine, our state’s domestic and global tourism combined with unmatched ethnic, racial and national diversity brings us the three ‘Ds:’

  • Dollars
  • Dedicated residents, and
  • Dynamic solutions to business challenges throughout the country

If future rankings show a majority of Florida startups have been around for 10 years or longer and are still top earners, then I won’t just be applauding “Go Us.” I’ll be chanting “WE ROCK!” to all those who knock us in Florida. And the more Florida’s economy is noted for greatness the better the chances are that some of those very tired punch lines will have lost their, um…..punch.

Are you part of a startup in Florida or have you just moved here? What are your views on the state’s climate for innovation and startup culture?  Share your thoughts with our readers in the section below.

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