While South Florida headlines have been seized by crazy spring breakers, there is another major migration taking place. Businesses in the financial and technology sectors are flocking to Miami, potentially turning the Magic City into the new Silicon Valley, to be rivaled by hubs like New York and California. In addition to the new talent streaming in, Miami has a strong pool of existing black professionals eager to contribute to the historic expansion. With Miami among the highest population of black engineers in the country and over 25,000 black alumni from FIU alone, Miami has no shortage of diverse talent.
‘’There is a diverse ecosystem made up of people of all different backgrounds, especially across the African diaspora and we want to be a part of this conversation, we want to add value and can add value, it’s just about finding the right partners to facilitate that” said BPN founder Kenasha Paul during the Cafecito Chat series with the mayor that took place in the end of 2020.
As of March 17th, the city unanimously approved incentives of $180K-$240K to the right companies in an effort to diversify the hospitality-based economy, which was negatively hit by the decrease in travel during Covid-19. The influx of business raises opportunities in Miami, as the incentives require companies to create at least 10 new jobs in the 305 that pay at least 125% above the average wage in Miami-Dade county in order to be considered.
While the city’s diversifying tech amongst sectors, racial diversity is to be incorporated in the mission. According to Mayor Suarez, he plans on working with organizations like the Black Professionals Network and others to collaborate as Miami expands opportunities in tech. Bringing companies that are looking to increase diversity in tech are a part of the mayor’s picture in creating a Miami for everyone, one with unlimited opportunities and an equal playing field for all.
In 2021 fashion, it all began with a tweet. Venture capitalist Delian Asparouhov was the catalyst in the relocation movement from Silicon Valley to Miami in a tweet, writing, “ok guys hear me out, what if we move silicon valley to miami?” Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, replied, “How can I help?”
Subsequently, hedge funds, tech startups, venture capital firms, founders, and CEO’s are on a mad dash to the sunshine state. The lush lure of exotic weather, lower taxes, and an overall more affordable cost of living attract companies like New York based private equity firm Blackstone, moving in early 2021 and fintech company Pipe Technologies that made the move in late 2020.
Mega moguls like David Blumberg, founder of Blumberg Capital, and Jonathan Oringer, founder and executive chairman of Shutterstock, made the move to South Florida, purchasing 8 figure homes with the plan to expand in the sunshine state.
“If we can find entrepreneurs down here, if we can launch enough businesses, if we can attract enough talent, we’ll be able to build lots of interesting companies down here,” said Oringer of the strategy behind the big move.
SwagUp founder and CEO Michael Martocci, along with scores of startup founders, were initial leaders in the movement to Miami during the Covid-19 pandemic. SwagUp, a custom work swag design startup featured above, tripled its team from 45 employees to 150 employees with plans to build a larger Miami office when the present lease in Little Haiti expires.
“We’re building a Miami forever and a Miami for everyone,” says Miami mayor Francis Suarez regarding the influx and its advancement of the city. With opportunity streaming into South Florida, the Magic City becomes even brighter, rising in power and promise.