GES2016 (Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016-5)-Orlando/Central Florida May Be The Next Diverse Silicon Valley
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
(Please click on red links & note magenta)
Below, is the Tech Inclusion Pledge, delivered during GES2016:
- implement and publish company-specific goals to recruit, retain, and advance diverse technology talent, and operationalize concrete measures to create and sustain an inclusive culture;
- annually publish data and progress metrics on the diversity of our technology workforce across functional areas and seniority levels;
- invest in partnerships to build a diverse pipeline of technology talent to increase our ability to recognize, develop and support talent from all backgrounds.
Orlando/Central Florida May Be The Next Diverse Silicon Valley
Every where one turns, there are signs for changes or transformations. I come from multiple generations of engineers and techies (myself included, with degrees, training, and professional work experience in engineering, applied math, and medicine)…when my extended families and friends gather, one of our topics of discussion: Will Orlando/Central Florida Be The Next Diverse Silicon Valley? I have been the proponent (and always the minority among families and friends) of the affirmative argument, so it is great to hear Mayor Dyer’s statement, above.
Here are some of the main points for my side of the argument:
- Job Creations: Gallup ranked Orlando metro area as the No. 1 for 2015 job creation, edged out Austin, Salt Lake City, Louisville, and San Francisco (Orlando scored a +45 while Austin scored +43.). Many of these jobs are under categories of leisure and/or tourism when they may also be easily classified under tech jobs. Orlando is a center for modeling and simulation technology, with flight simulators and theme park rides relying on a lot of the same technology. Although tourism historically has not been considered as a tech field, but recent Disney’s development of MyMagic Plus system (waterproof wristbands with RFID chips giving visitors access to rides and unlocking their hotel room doors) indicates otherwise. Same observations may be made in health care and many other fields. As our world continues to transition/evolve quickly technologically, the simple fact that Orlando ranked No.1 for 2015 job creation speaks volume in its proportional creation in tech jobs.
- Fiscal Responsibility: The state of Florida’s top ranking (in the top 5) evaluation among the 50 states, by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, in terms of Fiscal Condition, by 2015. Florida’s fiscal responsibility can be attributed to the Florida Constitution that prohibits the imposition of a state income tax, leaving the state’s sales tax as Florida’s most significant source of generating revenue (at just under 60% of all revenue collected). Since every Floridian is required to pay the 6% state sales tax, every one feels the burden of irresponsible spending and, therefore, have an incentive to vote to restrict spending accordingly. Mercatus Center study determined the fiscal condition index of each state based on the sum of the cash, budget, long-run, service-level, and trust fund solvency indexes weighted as follows: (0.35 × cash solvency score) + (0.35 × budget solvency score) + (0.1 × long-run solvency score) + (0.1 × service-level solvency score) + (0.1 × trust fund solvency score).
- Zero State Income Tax: As mentioned under “Fiscal Responsibility” above, Florida is one of the seven states ( Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming) without state income tax. This becomes a significant consideration for many working in tech fields.
- Livability: Comparatively lower property values (than that of the Silicon Valley in CA), wide assortments of entertainment and tourism opportunities ( all techies I know love to play!), warm climate and beautiful sites, and friendly local people are all contributing factors for attracting techies to Orlando/Central Florida. In addition to the UCF (University of Central Florida) and Valencia announcement, SunRail commuter rail service, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, completely overhauled the Citrus Bowl, and our Major League Soccer stadium, we also celebrated the formation of the Orlando Tech Association and their designation as an official City of Orlando “Digital Main Street” and the Church Street “Tech” Exchange, housing several emerging technology companies, including CANVS, Echo Interaction Group, Splyt, Plan Source, The Iron Yard and Power DMS. Orlando/Central Florida is a great place to live, learn, work, and play.
- Creative Village: “a village for those who see the success of Orlando focused on the jobs of tomorrow”, “a village for those who trade in the economy of ideas”, “a village for those who see downtown Orlando as a launch pad for innovation”, “a village for those who know the world is a classroom and that learning never ends”, “a village for those who dream in color”, “a village for those who understand brainpower is sustainable energy capable of powering everything”, “a village for those who dance in brainstorms and delight in the rainbows that follow” These are the essence captured at the site of Creative Village Orlando, began in May of 2015, transforming the former Amway Area site into a 68 acre mixed-use, transit oriented, urban infill neighborhood in the heart of downtown Orlando. This site’s development will support a synergistic and dynamic mix of uses including office/creative studio, higher education, PS-8F education, mixed-income residential, retail/commercial and hotel. The leading high tech, digital media, creative companies, and higher education providers, and a diverse mix of students, employees, employers, and residents will one day call Creative Village home….and enable us to call Orlando/Central Florida The New Diverse Silicon Valley!
- Tech-Friendly City: Orlando was recently rated as one of America’s 9 Most Tech-Friendly Cities in Houston Chronicle for its economic position, proximity to aerospace (NASA’s Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center), digital media, engineering (Lockheed-Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and Raytheon System), and software firms.
So, how would you vote? Affirmative or Negative to the topic: Will Orlando/Central Florida Be The Next Diverse Silicon Valley?
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