Why Are Businesses Flocking to Fort Lauderdale?
Cost advantages, quality of life and access to international markets help drive South Florida region's economic growth.
Low taxes, abundant sunshine and an unparalleled quality of life are not the only reasons businesses and top talent are flocking to Greater Fort Lauderdale, where they find a gateway to national and international markets and discover a culture that rewards innovation.
“Quality of life, talent recruiting and global accessibility were a few of the reasons why we chose the Greater Fort Lauderdale area and why we are still happy with our decision two years later,” says Steve Richman, group president of Techtronic Industries (TTI).
Hong Kong-based TTI is a global leader in power tools and equipment for do-it-yourself, professional and industrial users in the home improvement, repair, maintenance, construction and infrastructure industries. The company moved its U.S. headquarters to Fort Lauderdale, FL in 2019. The region checks all the boxes for TTI.
“We are centrally located to three major airports, which easily accommodates travel to and from our customers and investors,” says Richman. “With Greater Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as an amazing destination, we are also able to recruit and retain top talent.”
Others have reached the same conclusion. Top industries in the region include technology, life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, marine industries, and aviation and aerospace.
Life Less Taxing
Well-known companies headquartered in Broward County include AutoNation, Citrix, Virgin Voyages, Microsoft’s Latin American headquarters, Royal Caribbean International, Chewy and Hotwire Communications. Other major companies with a presence include American Express, Chiquita, JetBlue, Marriott and DHL.
The Elevator Pitch
“Life. Less taxing. No personal income tax and one of the best corporate tax rates of states, according to TaxWatch. So, not only do you pay less taxes, both personally and corporately, but life is less taxing and that also relates to quality of life.”
David Coddington | Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance
In addition to sunshine and low taxes, the region has a thriving knowledge economy.
“We have world-class businesses in Greater Fort Lauderdale-South Florida,” says David Coddington, senior vice president of business development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. “We invented the first smartphone, the first IBM personal computer and so much more, going up to present day. Spatial computing technology was taken to a whole new experience by technology that was created in Greater Fort Lauderdale by Magic Leap. SiriusXM radio’s R&D facility, for everything from the car to the satellite, was developed in Greater Fort Lauderdale.”
Region Welcomes Innovators
Ultimate Software started in Greater Fort Lauderdale and grew into one of the best technology companies to work for in the country. Now part of the Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), it remains a national leader in tech. E-commerce pet retailer Chewy launched in Dania Beach and was bought by Pet Supermarket for more than $3 billion, Coddington says.
In Broward County, two Foreign Trade Zones – Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport – simplify international commerce. The county is also home to nine business parks.
Fort Lauderdale is a destination of choice for expanding and relocating businesses. Techtronic, for example, moved from the Washington, D.C. area. FutureTech moved its executive headquarters from Manhattan. The company is an IT partner for Fortune 500 companies in the aerospace, defense, education, energy, health care and manufacturing sectors, Coddington says.
Companies Enjoy Business-Friendly Region
Fort Lauderdale’s growth is good for businesses like Hotwire Communications, a locally founded tech company.
“The Greater Fort Lauderdale area is a very business-friendly place, with a tax climate that encourages economic growth and allows for flexibility, making it an ideal location to headquarter Hotwire or any other company,” says Kristin Johnson, Hotwire’s president and CEO.
“The location of our Hotwire Technology Center is in the center of the growing tech gateway, and we are seeing more reliance on our technology and the data center co-location services we offer as businesses have been flocking here from other regions of the country,” she says. “That growth is only going to make Greater Fort Lauderdale a more exciting and enticing location to operate from.”