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Orlando Is the Theme Park Capital of the World and the Next Silicon Valley

Businesses are leaving Silicon Valley and looking for other cities to build their empires. Why you may ask? Silicon Valley is located in Southern California where the living expenses are incredibly high. The average median rent for a two-bedroom apartment according to Forbes is $3,080. This can mean expensive overhead for those with business offices. According to Forbes, California has an 8.84% corporate tax, which is one of the highest in the United States. Many companies have already started to go elsewhere, including big name companies. In the last year, Tesla has opened a new factory in Reno, Nevada and Google has opened a new campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It seems that Silicon Valley has started to lose its’ allure and many tech companies are looking for the next big tech hub.


Image courtesy of Orlando.com.

I mentioned Ann Arbor and Reno earlier, however, many have come to believe that Orlando may be the next big tech hub. Currently, Orlando is nicknamed the Digital Valley and recognized as the modeling, simulation, and training (MS&T) capital of the world. On top of being well known for beautiful beaches, theme parks, and really good real estate, Orlando is establishing itself as a business center. About $6 billion flows through MS&T contracts annually according to the Orlando Economic Partnership. Orlando has even seen entertainment and amusement park companies, such as Disney, work with simulation and technology businesses. Many aspiring college students come to Orlando to do their undergrad for that sole reason. To learn about engineering and make simulation rides or roller coasters for the next generation to enjoy. As someone who has lived in Orlando for a long time, Orlando really has it all. If you go downtown, there are a variety of really good places to eat, attractions such as comedy clubs, and of course buzzing businesses such as law firms or real estate companies. Orlando has been known to be the center of business in Florida.

Orlando was ranked 24th best places for businesses and careers and 10th in job growth in 2018 by Forbes. Orlando is already a business hub for the world and has grown 16.31% in the last couple of years according to INC. With companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, TEAM Orlando, National Center for Simulation, and UCF Business Incubator, it’s no wonder Orlando is ranked 10th in job growth. Lockheed Martin’s Central Florida branches alone were awarded a combined value of $992 million from the U.S. Department of Defense contracts according to the Orlando Business Journal. There even exists coworking spaces, such as Canvas and Catalyst Spaces, that allow start ups to enter the scene, thrive, and create a start up culture in Orlando. The world’s largest MS&T conference, I/ITSEC, has even chosen Orlando to host its’ conference since 2015 and agreed to hold it in Orlando until 2030. To read more about Orlando as the MS&T capital of the world, check out Engenium’s article on it here. Orlando has truly become a hub in the last couple of years and it shows through the economy. As Orlando pools in more money through a variety of industries, more people want to live here. Not only is it good monetarily, but real estate is good as well as the culture. With such a mix of people, Orlando’s diversity is attractive to many people and very different from the rest of Florida.

Orlando has a steady talent pool ensuring business sustainability. The University of Central Florida is located in east Orlando and is the largest university in the nation. In fact, our current intern is attending the University of Central Florida and absolutely loves it and attests to the education being provided there. They house one of the best engineering schools in the nation ranking in the top 100 according to UCF. UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training provides a direct pipeline of talent for the MS&T industry. UCF even has its’ own business center, named the UCF Business Incubator, where companies such as Engenium Staffing and TReX Consortium work out of it. Being located in Florida and near beaches and theme parks, many students are attracted to UCF, especially out of state students. For the rest of Orlando, this means that people are coming to Orlando to get an undergrad education then settle here in Florida. After all many say “go to college where you want to live”. This means that Downtown Orlando is a growing young community, as previously mentioned. UCF has even expanded its’ campus to Downtown Orlando. Students will get to learn in downtown and understand business culture, then eventually enter the workforce there. It’s no wonder that many businesses have chosen Orlando to build and expand with the amount of talent and money that resides here.

Compared to California, Florida has no state income, no inflated wages, and cost of living is significantly cheaper according to INC. This means low overhead and no worries of using 75% of your income keeping your business afloat. Many houses are very affordable and real estate is currently booming in Florida. That being said with all of the businesses and nearby universities, it’s no wonder that Orlando has such a large network and collaboration is common between academic institutes, military defense branches, and businesses. Below is a youtube video by Orlando Economic Partnership that talks about Orlando’s emerging tech scene.

Having lived here a long time, I find Orlando to be fascinating. The culture is so diverse and you can go from having authentic Vietnamese food to having authentic Venezuelan food. You can spend your whole day a theme park or enjoy the lovely farmers market at Lake Eola. You can start a family here with good school systems and excellent real estate. Lastly, you can start a business or come work here with the expansive and already existing network that resides here in Orlando. Orlando is known as the city beautiful and home to more than just theme parks and retirees. Orlando’s simulation economy has made it a tech hub worthy to call Orlando the next Silicon Valley. If you are thinking of working and thriving in Orlando, check out Engenium Staffings’ job posts to see where you can fit! Be a part of the growth and the come up.

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