The question: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “impossible” and 10 being “terrific,” how would you rate local government when it comes to business friendliness? (Ratings will be reported only in aggregate, not by individual.)
9. Local government has never made our lives difficult. As long as state taxes are low (which they are), infrastructure is good (which we have), and government stays out of our way, we continue thinking that Florida is a terrific place to do business.
Daniel Ades, managing partner, Kawa Capital Management
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Local government gets a 5 from me. I think government is doing a better job of listening, but could still improve its two-way communication. Only through strong, interactive communication can local government be truly business-friendly.
Christine Barney, CEO, RBB Communications
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate local government for business friendliness a 10. Our local government works closely with many businesses to keep them here in South Florida. South Florida is a wonderful place to do business for its strategic location and weather.
Richard Behar, founder and CEO, Capitol Clothing Corp
7. I think the city is very welcoming and open to new endeavors, ideas and people. We should consider investing more in efforts to attract companies and clean industries that can create good-paying jobs.
Alice Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner, Cervera Real Estate
3. Service training should be a key part of orientation for government officials and service employees in Miami because Southern hospitality is often missing in most initial business transactions.
Pandwe Gibson, executive director, EcoTech Visions
I would rate local government with a 5 when it comes to business friendliness. Too often, business is considered the “bad guy.” Why not start thinking of businesses as clients and treat them with the level of respect, understanding and helpfulness that you would bestow upon a client?
Julie Grimes, managing partner, Hilton Bentley Hotel
5. There is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to launching a business here; there should be more ease in the accessibility to get the questions you need answered.
Felecia Hatcher, co-founder of Feverish Gourmet Pops
3. Government lacks the sense of urgency we have in business and often has an anti-business tenor. This results in project delays and a lack of sympathy for businesses trying to open facilities and create jobs.
Victor Mendelson, co-president, HEICO
6. Venture Hive is an example of how local government can work with the private sector to enact change. Miami-Dade County and the Miami Downtown Development Authority have partnered with Miami Worldcenter and Microsoft to create a technology and entrepreneurship accelerator in downtown. The program was born out of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s desire to cultivate a technology sector in downtown, and Mayor Gimenez and the County shared that vision. We enlisted Susan Amat as CEO, partnered with Microsoft to open the world’s first innovation center, and the results have exceeded our expectations as promising companies from around the world grow their businesses in downtown.
Nitin Motwani, managing principal, Miami Worldcenter Associates
8. The onus is on businesses to engage and build relationships with government officials, and not just call on them when they need them. I think local government has become increasingly aware that businesses — small and large — are the best agents to create and sustain jobs.
Abe Ng, founder and CEO of Sushi Maki
9. Miami is a dynamic place to start a business. My experience dealing with the local governments has been very positive. As a business owner, however, I believe the county and municipalities can centralize business licensing and permitting, making the process faster and more efficient.
Todd Oretsky, co-founder, Pipeline Brickell
5. We need to continue to simplify the licensing and permitting process at all levels and especially for small businesses, which are the foundation of our South Florida economy. Too much unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape still get in the way.
Eduardo Padrón, president, Miami Dade College
6. I’ve never experienced any unnecessary friction, but I do think our local government leaders can learn important lessons from the leaders of our fast-growing local businesses — mainly to embrace the pace of change and operate with a stronger sense of pragmatism and accountability. I’ve been impressed with the changes that Mayor Levine has implemented on Miami Beach in this regard.
Joanna Schwartz, CEO and co-founder, EarlyShares
6. It really varies from city to city. Some I would rate an 8 or 9. Some I would rate a 1 or 2.
Dave Seleski, president and CEO, Stonegate Bank
I would say ‘7.’ South Florida is a small business haven, and for good reason. We have no personal income tax, a multicultural workforce, and a government that supports innovation. That said, there is room for improvement, especially in reducing or eliminating roadblocks to obtaining certain permits as well as eliminating certain sales taxes that can often serve as barriers to job creation.
Darryl K. Sharpton, president and CEO, The Sharpton Group
8. Miami has a dynamic business sector and a pro-entrepreneur environment. County and local governments must continue to implement effective strategies to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity for businesses of all sizes in our community.
Andrew Smulian, chairman and CEO, Akerman LLP
6. There are good people committed to making sound decisions throughout local government striving to make South Florida a better place. However, all too often, officials are derailed by bad ideas that are being supported financially.
Gillian Thomas, president and CEO, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science
7. I believe our local government has been infused with some quality individuals, in Palm Beach County as well as in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. The more we can infuse our local government with savvy business people, the more effectively we can manage our local budgets to provide all the services a local government provides, but also efficiently provide basic services: health, housing and food for our struggling families.
Paco Velez, CEO, Feeding South Florida
7. As someone who has been a business owner in South Florida for more than 20 years, I’ve seen improvements in the delicate balance of what drives our economy and the taxpayers who fund it. But I’ve also traveled nationally and internationally to areas where I’ve seen incentives and opportunities South Florida could learn from and try to replicate.
Alina Villasante, founder, Peace Love World clothing
Regulatory requirements and related biz-gov matters vary based on the type of organization, but specifically for tech businesses South Florida gets an 8 — it's fairly straightforward to start and operate a technology business in our region.
Marlon Williams, founder and CEO, Fenero
9. Given the sheer number of new businesses from all sectors coming to Miami and all of the neighborhoods that are experiencing unprecedented growth, local government must be doing something right, when it comes to business-friendliness.
John Wood, president, Amicon Construction