We Can Learn From The Emerging Miami Tech Wave

Guest Correspondence

BY CHRISTINE ROBINSON SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JAN 16, 2021

The City of Miami, and especially its Mayor Francis Suarez, has decided to seize upon the heavily taxed state business exodus and unroll the red carpet for tech companies. Mayor Suarez has been aggressive and he has been very clear that Miami is open for business. He is seizing the moment and doing so with purpose.

Mayor Suarez has personally chased companies expressing a willingness to move out of California’s Silicon Valley and New York’s silicon alley on Twitter.  Last month, Varda Space co-founder Delian Asparouhov tweeted, “ok guys hear me out, what if we move silicon to Miami.”  Mayor Suarez wrote four simple words in a Twitter response that started a nationwide buzz about Miami becoming a new tech hub, “How can I help?”

Those four simple words from that elected leader has the nation taking notice of Miami.  It wasn’t a hand off to staff, it was an aggressive action that shows that Mayor Suarez isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.  The response went viral and the buzz has lasted for weeks.  

Mayor Suarez has been so successful in his personal recruitment and messaging, that according to various news reports, he plans to appoint a Chief Technology Officer in 2021 to help him with all of the inquiries. It does not appear he is letting up on the gas pedal.

Mayor Suarez is nurturing this tech company hub push from all sides. He understands the tech ecosystem and the important relationships of venture capitalism, start-ups, and the tech industry. He also is working to ensure that this creates local opportunities for home-grown young residents, especially minorities.

Suarez has also enlisted the help of the business community in this effort. Just days after the “How can I help” viral tweet, he took to Twitter again to ask for help in his efforts from the community. He heard from some important people who took notice of the open for business attitude, out of town business accelerators, investors and those in the science field.

The confidence and business climate he has built in the community created a wave of interest. Just this week, Suarez held a public talk on cryptocurrency with Gemini Trust Company co-founders, a company that is considering going public that started in New York. Suarez’s tweet caused the company to reach out to Suarez to consider a headquarter move to Miami. In the conversation, Suarez’s first question was about problematic regulation, which dominated much of the conversation.  

This bold vision and aggressive personal public pursuit of tech companies is a fascinating study of government being truly open for business in words and actions, genuinely understanding the ecosystem of the targeted industry, and creating the right environment.  Suarez did all of these things and had Miami positioned well for this opportunity.

Miami is a great case study for Sarasota’s local governments to look at for our own future.  We don’t want to be Miami, but we want to be successful in economic development. Aggressive local elected officials who are willing to get actively involved, understand the ecosystem, and most importantly, create the business climate with an open for business government attitude and reputation will be key to our own future.

Christine Robinson is the Executive Director of The Argus Foundation.

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