Cultivating South Florida’s competitive business climate

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Miami has long been known as the Gateway to the Latin America, but as our economy continues to grow and evolve, we must embrace our strength as a region.

That sentiment comes from Senator George LeMieux, Chairman of the Board for the law firm of Gunster and a member of the Chamber’s Board of Governors.  

A public servant and strategic counselor to C-suite executives, Senator LeMieux spoke to me about how the business community can foster growth and how entrepreneurs can improve their chances of success.

Senator George LeMieux

Senator George LeMieux

Christine: As an active leader in the state, what are the key issues for Dade and Broward, and how can the business community drive better results on those issues?

Senator: This is the most exciting time for businesses to be in South Florida. Dade and Broward are enjoying an economic renaissance. However, it is of the utmost importance for businesses to continue advocating for a competitive business climate. A strong business climate that promotes growth consists of low taxes, low regulations, and thoughtfulness about infrastructure and logistics.

South Florida can be more than just a gateway to Latin America; it can serve as the center of commerce for the Americas. Financial organizations, hedge funds, private equity and banking companies are fleeing the northeast and moving to South Florida due to its increased opportunities with Latin American businesses.

We can’t become complacent. We have to continue to be mindful about this successful business climate that we are cultivating.

Christine: One of the tenets of the chamber this year has been that South Florida is the entrepreneurial capitol of the world. As someone who has been here a long time, talk about how you see this evolution and where you think we are in the spectrum of becoming recognized as a global entrepreneurial capitol?

Senator: Florida has always been a small business mecca. But previously our economy was based upon real estate, construction, and tourism. Whereas today small businesses run the continuum of industries.

We are branching out beyond our traditional trades; that’s what is contributing to our booming economic renaissance. But, we still need to further the diversification of our economy.

For example, Florida businesses are 20% of all exporters in the United States, which is astounding considering our population compared to that of the rest of the country. 

Our diversity is beginning to make us standout and make our economy resilient. The next time a recession occurs, Florida will come out stronger.

Christine: As someone involved in managing a business yourself, what advice do you offer to businesses who are looking to either enter the South Florida market or grow within it?

Senator: In South Florida our diverse population is our strength. We have evolved into a stunning cultural mecca. Florida has five million people who speak a language other than English. But we are not limited to Spanish speakers; we have Portuguese, Russian, French, German, and speakers of many other languages. A business must take advantage of new opportunities available only in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural environment like South Florida.

Lastly, I advise especially new businesses to come to their full potential by joining organizations like the Greater Miami Chamber. It provides great resources, support, and can open doors to exciting opportunities. As this area flourishes and attracts many new people, few have extensive family pasts or origins in South Florida.

I think the chamber is extremely important to help guide new businesses and owners to know the business climate and culture that surrounds them.

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