Greater Gainesville’s resources are vast. The field of business is no exception. With an established economy and a booming industry of startups and innovative companies, the possibilities are endless. Business, Brains & Beauty Greater Gainesville is an ideal lifestyle destination for innovative companies and people who love art and nature Greater Gainesville’s innovation ecosystem, education resources and world-class cultural offerings make it a region rich in opportunities for virtually any business or individual to work successfully and live fully. The upward trajectory of opportunity in the Gainesville Metropolitan Area is demonstrated by its increasing gross domestic product, which in 2014 reached over $11.5 billion, up nearly $1 billion since 2010, and more than $5 billion since 2001. Greater Gainesville is home to a large concentration of young, creative and intelligent innovators and continues to rise as a region leading the state in research, startups and workforce innovation. While the region’s culture of innovation has been a defining characteristic of its economy, businesses and overall identity for the past two decades, Greater Gainesville’s trail of innovation was first blazed 50 years ago when Gatorade made the commercial leap from the lab of then-UF professor of renal medicine Dr. J. Robert Cade to retail shelves. Since the commercialization of Gatorade, the University of Florida has set a tone for entrepreneurship strengthened by its prowess in garnering research funds — in 2015, UF brought in a record $724 million — as well its affinity for building partnerships that encourage the transfer of its research to market. The result has been a business ecosystem fueled by a steady proliferation of innovative business, state-of-the-art products and services and world-class incubators to nurture the companies that produce them. Further enriching this ecosystem is Santa Fe College — ranked in 2015 by the Aspen Institute as the nation’s No. 1 community college — which has proven its ability to produce graduates who are prepared to pursue higher education or have the relevant skills local employers need. Greater Gainesville’s business ecosystem has garnered national and international recognition in recent years, which has turned a spotlight on the success of individual companies and increased regional resources for innovation. Home-grown companies and incubators in Greater Gainesville have achieved momentous success. Led by Santa Fe College and the City of Gainesville, the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC) began a major expansion in early 2016 to accommodate the growth of France-based Merieux Nutrisciences, a leader in food safety. The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the company officially announced that it would move 100 jobs (70 existing, 30 new) to the new location in the fall 2016. Gainesville-grown SharpSpring, a multinational, publicly traded company that has grown to more than 75 employees in three years, recently moved its company headquarters to Innovation Square. Applied Genetic Technologies Corp. (AGTC), which in 2015 raised $50 million through an initial public offering and announced a deal worth up to $1 billion with Massachusettsbased Biogen, constructed a new facility to house its corporate headquarters here in Greater Gainesville. The University of Florida’s Innovation Hub, which has assisted more than 60 companies resulting in more than 760 jobs and $50 million in private investment, is currently expanding to accommodate an additional 45 companies. The expansion is funded by an $8 million award from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce received in 2015. Greater Gainesville’s economic development efforts have also resulted in multiple recent successes in business growth, attraction and retention capabilities. In 2016, global human engagement leader VANAD Group named Gainesville as its U.S. headquarters. Other projects, which total an additional 800+ jobs and more than $288 million in capital investment, throughout 2015 and 2016 resulted in the attraction of companies such as USR Systems, TapeSouth and Feathr (which was founded in Gainesville, moved and then returned), and the expansions of others, including Merieux Nutrisciences, Phalanx Defense Systems, SiVance-Milliken, Sandvik and Themeworks. Other projects and proposals continue to result in exponential growth for the region. Celebration Pointe and the Butler Plaza expansion are boosting offerings available at one of the region’s major retail areas. Additionally, the Hawthorne location of the Envision Alachua Sector Plan was approved by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and will be developed into an advanced manufacturing campus. Key Industries & Employers Greater Gainesville’s key industries include Advanced Logistics, Advanced Manufacturing, Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology/Life Sciences and Software/ Information Technology. The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce has created and nurtured industry councils in the five key industries to increase industry cohesion and provide businesses with industry-specific connections, resources and guidance. In particular, a portfolio of businesses and talent resources comprise a robust Software/ IT sector, which includes companies such as the VANAD Group, Mobiquity, Sharpspring, Sumtotal, Infotech, and more. Adding to the region’s ability to grow IT businesses is it’s access to a ready supply of relevant talent produced by sources such as CareerSource North Central Florida and the Gainesville Dev Academy, which collaborate to tailor skills of graduates and trainees to meet the needs of local industry. The region’s Advanced Manufacturing industry is anticipated to grow, as evidenced by several local companies projection of a collective $292 million in new capital investment (as noted in responses to a 2015 survey of regional manufacturers). Greater Gainesville’s Advanced Manufacturing industry ranks among Florida’s top third in size for manufacturing industry clusters. Increasing in Notoriety, Quality of Life and Opportunity Greater Gainesville has received numerous recognitions and accolades in recent years. Some, such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s, are directly tied to the University’s technology transfer abilities. Others speak to the positives of living, working, playing and doing business in the Greater Gainesville region. Our region has been named one of the top three college towns for a weekend getaway by U.S. News Travel (2016); the No. 2 Leading Metro for Economic and Job Growth by Area Development Magazine (2014); the No. 1 City on the Rise by NerdWallet (2013) and the Best Florida City for Jobs and Careers by Forbes (2012). As Greater Gainesville’s culture of innovation continues to evolve, so does the fabric of its intelligent, diverse and welcoming community. The region’s excellent quality of life exists against a friendly backdrop of purpose-driven organizations and unparalleled natural beauty. Our area is home to a thriving cultural scene, which includes a national ballet company, a world-class symphony orchestra and museums, and diverse international dining options, all of which serve as additional economic drivers. Greater Gainesville’s beautiful natural environment is unmatched in Florida, offering recreational options such as High Springs, which is world-famous for its rivers and freshwater springs, as well as the Devil’s Millhopper Geological Park or boardwalk tours of Payne’s Prairie, Florida’s first state preserve. 5 KEY INDUSTRIES - Advanced Logistics - Advanced Manufacturing - Agricultural Sciences - Biotechnology/Life Sciences - Software/Information Technology SOURCE: Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Council for Economic Outreach ABOUT THE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING COUNCIL Alachua County and the surrounding counties encompass more than 200 manufacturers that together employ over 4,000 people. The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce has created an Advanced Manufacturing Council to connect and grow the regional manufacturing sector through unified marketing, advocacy and economic development efforts. All manufacturing companies and entrepreneurs are encouraged to join and take advantage of the opportunity to successfully grow in the Gainesville region. Service providers (i.e. banks, law firms, insurance companies, etc.) are also encouraged to join as an Industry Provider. Learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing Council at madeingnv.com.
Published by Business in the Heart of Florida. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://omagdigital.com/article/Business+In+Greater+Gainesville/2694590/378757/article.html.