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Why Jacksonville is Booming

Viewpoint: Why Business is Booming in Jacksonville - by David Zimmerman - Jax Bus. Journal - Read full article here

Hit by Hurricane Irma and the nation-wide disappointing jobs report, Florida has seen a rough couple of months. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the state.

Florida ranks as the second-best business climate in the country. In 2016, the Jacksonville area added 22,800 private sector jobs, and Florida’s added 237,300 private-sector jobs last year. Florida’s $85 million Job Growth Grant Fund will also be sure to help foster a positive business environment – offering funding to enhance community infrastructure and develop workforce training programs. These factors present a favorable environment for business growth and investment in Jacksonville.

Here are three reasons some private and family companies are choosing to locate and invest in Jacksonville. 

Talent is Here

People are concerned about pace of change and job loss, and companies that offer job training and continuous improvement opportunities are more appealing. In recent years, companies have expanded their interest in setting up shop in Jacksonville. Many company headquarters are now located in Jacksonville, and the city has seen expansion of manufacturing plants and distribution facilities. Due to the rise in corporate presence, Jacksonville now has a vibrant business community and a reputation for being a great place to raise a family. It offers the luxury of a bustling metropolis with less stress and pressure of other markets, like New York, Miami or Chicago. Private companies in the area can capitalize on these perks. 

Pro-Business Local and Federal Legislation

In June, Governor Rick Scott announced an $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, which offers funding to economic development projects that enhance community infrastructure or develop workforce training programs.  Florida’s highly favorable tax climate provides many advantages. Despite these advantages, companies should still consider potential shifts at the federal level.  PwC’s research shows that private company business leaders are already concerned about federal legislation – in fact, they say it is one of their biggest concerns (PwC’s Q3 Trendsetter Barometer). While the level of impact tends to vary based on size, industry and even a company’s management team’s level of desired compliance, regulatory pressures are often challenges to growth. Further, uncertainty in U.S. over corporate tax reform and other legislation creates additional watch-outs for businesses to be aware of.

A Focus on Innovation

Establishing itself as a hub for young entrepreneurs, Jacksonville is drawing interest from all sorts of businesses. Sixty-six percent of private companies plan to increase their innovation spending, with 18 percent identifying this increase as significant (PwC research). It’s no secret that private and family companies must stay ahead of technology to stay competitive. In fact, private companies are increasingly looking to technology and innovation to help them meet a variety of critical objectives – including growth, cost-cutting, higher productivity, increased market share and other goals. This is not a “nice to have” for private companies – it’s a business imperative to propel into the future. Jacksonville is a growing market, making it all the more important for companies to stay innovative.

David Zimmerman is a Tax Partner and Leader of PwC’s Florida Private Company Services practice. He is also the U.S. Private Company Services Tax Strategy Leader at PwC. 

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The Clay Florida Economic Development Corporation provides concierge service for companies who want to re-invest in expansion in the county or relocate their companies to the region.

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