This post is part of Schwartz Media Strategies’ “Fueling Florida, Moving Miami” series exploring the people, places and trends shaping the New Miami.
Long viewed as being dominated by real estate and tourism, Downtown Miami has undertaken a decade-long effort to attract hedge funds and tech companies capable of diversifying the district’s economy and attracting high-wage jobs. What began as a trickle of businesses ten years ago has grown into a deluge, with new companies announcing plans to relocate or expand to Downtown on a weekly basis.
Leading the charge is the Miami Downtown Development Authority, which has been recruiting firms to Miami for years and is enjoying a new burst of excitement that has solidified Downtown Miami’s position as Wall Street of the South (or are we the next Silicon Valley?).
The DDA has gotten a boost from a number of high-profile tech execs, as well as Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, whose four word response to venture capitalist Delian Asparouhov — How can i help? — took the Twitterverse by storm.
Accelerating this trend is the DDA’s Follow the Sun program, launched in October 2020, which offers eligible businesses up to $150,000 over three years in exchange for creating high-wage jobs in Downtown Miami.
Since launching the program, the DDA has approved funding for 15 companies expected to create approximately 1,500 jobs paying an average of more than $100,000 over the next three years. Eight of these firms are in the technology sector, coming from as far away as Europe in hopes of hitching a ride on Miami’s rising star.
“Each week, we are learning of another technology or finance firm moving to Miami, and the business migration trend is showing no sign of a slowdown,” said Manolo Reyes, City of Miami Commissioner and Chairman of the Miami Downtown Development Authority. “The Miami DDA launched the Follow the Sun campaign to attract new jobs and stimulate economic impact, and the first five months of the program have outperformed our expectations. Downtown Miami’s newest businesses will create opportunities for local residents and existing companies, helping to strengthen our downtown economy even further.”