Orlando is well-known but poorly understood. The region is fortunate to have worldwide recognition as a top spot for tourism and conventions. We welcome more than 56 million visitors per year and are seen as the second largest region for conventions and trade shows in the country.
However, a lesser known fact is that Orlando is also a top spot for business and increasingly, a top spot for international businesses.
Recently, the Orlando region was named one of fDi Magazine’s top 10 “American Cities of the Future” in the large cities category, including ranking sixth in human resources, eighth in infrastructure and ninth overall for foreign direct investment in the United States. These rankings help to demonstrate that the Orlando region is a premier location for foreign-owned companies to invest in the United States.
One of the top factors that influence where site location decisions are made is the availability of talent in the region – both now and in the future. And Orlando has a young, diverse and educated workforce making the region attractive to companies. With more than 35 post-secondary institutions in the region training students in a variety of career paths, this means that the region will be even more attractive in the future as the needs of companies expand and grow.
Another major factor that influences corporate decisions concerning location is the infrastructure in an area. Are there adequate roads, rail systems and airports to move goods to, through and within a community? Companies are able to find those things here in Metro Orlando.
With more than 35 million passengers per year through Orlando International Airport (MCO) and more than 34 direct international flights at both MCO and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), the region is quickly accessible to the entire globe, which is as good for tourism as it is for business.
When you factor in the completion of the beltway system in the region, the fact that SunRail will begin serving the community in 2014, eventually spanning from Volusia County to Osceola County and talk of further rail connectivity in the region, the region’s attractiveness to companies both domestic and foreign increases.
At the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), our role is to aggressively attract, retain and grow jobs for the Metro Orlando region. Our region already has a significant presence of several international companies, including:
• Siemens Energy (Germany)
• Mitsubishi Power Systems (Japan)
• ABB, Inc. (Switzerland)
• Bridgestone American Tire (Japan)
• Adacel (Australia)
• Indra Systems (Spain)
• Sanofi Pasteur (France)
Through the work of the EDC, several more companies have chosen to open an office in the region recently, including:
• Mazor Robotics, an Israeli developer of innovative surgical robots and complementary products, relocated its New York-based U.S. headquarters to Orlando recently with plans to create up to 34 new positions over the next three years.
• Canadian-based search engine optimization (SEO) company Wisdek chose to expand their U.S. operations in Lake Mary, creating up to 60 new positions over the next three years.
• Italico Aviation, an Italian airplane manufacturer, opened a facility at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport with plans to create up to 55 new positions over the next four years with a $3.2 million capital investment.
• Software company Fusion eSolutions established their first location outside of India in Longwood with plans to create up to 30 jobs over the next three years.
• Stirling Dynamics, a defense modeling, simulation and training company from the United Kingdom, expanded into the U.S. with a branch office at the University of Central Florida Technology Incubator with plans to create up to 15 new positions over the next three years.
• The world’s largest privately-owned bottle cap manufacturer, Pelliconi, opened U.S. operations in Orlando with plans to create up to 24 new positions over the next three years.
These companies are making a major impact on the local economy and serve as a case study for other international firms to follow. To learn more about foreign direct investment in Orlando, visit www.OrlandoEDC.com/fdi.