Gainesville has a long-standing reputation across the nation and world as a destination for those looking to receive a high quality education. The University of Florida was recently ranked the 14th best public university in the United States and Santa Fe College reached the U.S. Top 10 for community colleges. Both have proven successful in creating top-notch talent and innovative, aspiring entrepreneurs – one of the critical keys to building a sustainable economy. The other part of that equation is a community problem and one that will take a community to address and solve. That is, plugging the brain drain after these graduates enter in the local workforce looking for opportunities to grow and develop.
Gainesville’s loss of top-tier talent due to lack of competitive jobs was one of the main focuses of the Innovation Gainesville initiative, and the creation of jobs from the GED to the Ph.D is what many of our regional leaders are working hard to establish. Recently, we have started to position the community to move the needle on both.
On October 23, 2013, we celebrated with Florida Governor Rick Scott two major economic progress accomplishments in Nanotherapeutics and 160over90. Nanotherapeutics was a startup company grown at the UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator and is now expanding, bringing 150 new, high-wage jobs to our community, and an amazing $135 million capital investment. Not only is this a major success story for a company grown here and utilizing the resources provided in our region to be successful, but the fact that they chose to remain here with this significant expansion is a testament to how far our region has come to foster the growth of business.
The other big jobs announcement came from Philadelphia-based 160over90 when it picked Gainesville to establish a Southeastern U.S. headquarters. The 35 new jobs the company will create is substantial; but even more so, consider this as an international achievement given the firm’s global branding power with an impressive portfolio of clients from around the world.
Having a diverse business community is integral in any community’s economy, but for one that is accelerating its growth like ours, fostering the growth of various industry sectors is crucial, and goes a long way in continuing to plug the brain drain. With various industries growing in our region and diverse companies growing and expanding here, opportunity is increasing. With continued and accelerated growth, Gainesville will be a destination for all ages and talents, providing opportunity for young families to stay and thrive, while producing world-class, innovative products and services.
The Forty Under 40 celebration is a reminder that Gainesville is uniquely positioned to be that destination place for young professionals and entrepreneurs. The prospect list for Forty Under 40 list will continue to be more impressive in the coming years as new leaders establish themselves in the business community, while others help to strengthen our regional economic climate.
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to support the Forty Under 40, as well as the growth of our regional businesses, and the talent they recruit. Congratulations Gainesville. Keep going! Onward.