Silicon Valley SRQ Aims To Boost Regional Tech

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BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY NOV 11, 2019

Who needs a valley when you could have a beach? The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County in October celebrated the first meeting of the Silicon Beach SRQ networking organization. The hope for the tech initiative, according to EDC President Mark Huey, is that better connections between high-tech companies headquartered in the Sarasota region will lay a strong foundation for the industry.

“It’s the kind of things an economic developer looks for to see how a sector might be maturing,” Huey said.

The event drew nearly 100 people from some 25 local companies to convene at Clickbooth. Huey said the technology continues to be a growing industry, and increasingly companies are launching from outside Silicon Valley and other major metropolitan areas.

But while it’s always nice to see job growth, Silicon Beach SRQ represents the evolution of a true business community, Huey said. “You can have tech companies around, and all that is good and well,” he said. “When you do something together to solve a problem they see, in this case how to retain and attract new talent to the community, that’s a great thing.”

Huey said Sarasota County already has about 5,500 individuals employed in the tech sector, making an average of $72,200 annually. But over the next five years, another 3,000 jobs are projected, and companies need the right workers to fill those openings. Simply convening to discuss cultivating talent will show reasons why other tech firms and prospective employees should continue doing their work in the region, he said.

And while Huey said the EDC is happy to help to provide connections, what’s exciting is to see leaders within the industry proactively working in cooperation. Huey said the October meeting was the first of hopefully many get-togethers of leaders in the field. “The tech sector is getting a little bit of muscle,” he said.

Photo courtesy Silicon Beach SRQ Facebook Page

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