This week’s question: What do you think will be the most important business story or trend in South Florida in 2016?
The continued globalization of our economy, which is solidifying Miami’s place as a business and economic hub for the western hemisphere. Miami’s geographic location coupled with its intellectual capital and infusion of cash will remain its biggest assets.
Ramon Abadin, president, The Florida Bar, and partner, Sedgwick Law Firm
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The emergence of a huge tech ecosystem in South Florida. Travel and tourism are the golden goose for this area, yet like anything, Miami must diversify its revenue streams. Healthcare and technology are two sectors that are growing rapidly, pay well, and can have a transformational effect on this region.
Brian Brackeen, CEO, Kairos
Affordability. With the rising cost of living in Miami, local businesses are already starting to feel the impact when recruiting talent. I expect this topic will gain more attention from the business and political community in the months ahead.
Carol Brooks, president and co-founder, CREC (Continental Real Estate Companies)
During an election year, the most pressing issue, only secondary to national security, will be healthcare accessibility and cost. The United States has the highest per capita expenditure on healthcare in the world, with only better-than-average outcomes. Healthcare providers across the industry, from individual physicians to hospitals to pharmaceutical companies, need to develop concrete strategic initiatives to maximize the value of every dollar spent by a patient receiving both preventive and acute care.
Nabil El Sanadi, CEO/president, Broward Health
The election this fall will include important races at all level of government — from the White House on down. These campaigns will have a direct impact on the economy and stock market. Miami should fare better than most U.S. cities so long as international tourism and investment activity holds. Most importantly, the Dolphins are finally Super Bowl-bound!
Robert Hill, general manager, InterContinental Miami
I think the economy will be the big story in 2016 in South Florida (not to mention, the rest of the world). We’re only a few weeks into the year, and there’s been major turmoil in the markets already. I think there will be a lot of “up and down” throughout the year, but in my opinion, the turmoil in other parts of the world usually benefits South Florida, specifically when it comes to real estate. In the past, when we’ve seen other areas affected by downtrends, individuals seek South Florida as a solid and safe place to invest. Recent changes by the Federal Reserve with interest rates also will be something to watch. If interest rates increase slowly as anticipated, it will be beneficial for the financial sector as well as for older consumers with savings.
Miriam Lopez, president/chief lending officer, Marquis Bank
With the Trans Pacific Partnership scheduled to be signed in February (and pending implementation legislation by Congress), business globalization will be an important story this year. Not only will Miami remain a center for international business, but local businesses will also experience growth by expanding operations overseas.
Mike Parra, CEO for DHL Express Americas
The nation will look to Florida for the 2016 presidential race. With [former] Governor Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio running for the Republican nomination, all eyes will be on their track record during their time serving Florida, and that will shine a light on our state.
M. John Richard, president, CEO, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
I believe South Florida real estate construction will continue to be the most important story in 2016. It has a great impact on every facet of our community. In the aftermath of our volatile real estate crisis in 2010, the preconstruction activity is particularly worrisome with approximately 125 towers currently under construction, and 15 towers that have been canceled or scaled back. As foreign currencies continue to weaken against the dollar, some of the financial safety methods that were put in place to help reduce risk have eroded. It will be interesting to see how the relaxing of the pre-sale buyer deposits will impact not only the sale of condos, but the community at large. I am hoping for a year of “normalcy” in this sector.
Rachel Sapoznik, CEO & president, Sapoznik Insurance
I think 2016 will be all about the growth of the local tech scene. Miami is already home to several large, digitally focused companies including Sapient Nitro and Open English. Thanks to support from the Knight Foundation and incubators/accelerators like Endeavor Miami and Venture Hive, Miami's start-up culture has grown rapidly. We have so much to offer entrepreneurs, from a lower cost of living (compared to Silicon Valley, for instance) to incredible weather and a rich talent pool. Tech companies make up the majority of start-ups here, and I think we’ll see a major increase in their success in 2016, as well as more innovation and expansion.
Ginny Simon, founder, CEO, ginnybakes