The Mid-Florida Economic Development Commission (EDC) hired AngelouEconomics in 1999, to create a new strategic plan to position the four-county Metro Orlando Region in attracting technology companies.
The Mid-Florida Economic Development Commission (EDC) hired AngelouEconomics in 1999, to create a new strategic plan to position the four-county Metro Orlando Region in attracting technology companies. As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Orlando was better known as the “home of the Mouse” than the “home of technology.”
Upon estimating the size of Orlando’s technology base and conducting a cluster analysis; we discovered much to the surprise of Regional leaders, that Mid-Florida contained nearly 5,000 technology businesses and 70,000 workers – a significant industry presence.
In addition, we conducted an industry cluster analysis to identify specific sectors of the technology industry on which to target economic development efforts and created a marketing strategy aimed at expanding those businesses in the area.
Our final marketing recommendation built directly upon the strength of the local tourism industry – even making local resorts and amusement parks partners in economic development for the first time. The Region’s new economic development brand – “imagination” – inspired high growth businesses, entrepreneurs, and tourists alike.
Since the completion of our plan in 2000, Orlando has experienced numerous success stories. From 2003-2004 alone, Orlando recruited 37 projects bringing 4,700 new jobs to the region. Sixteen of these projects were within the high tech industry.
The EDC targeted educational programs around the target industries recommended in the study. They established a Dynamic Media Institute at the University of Central Florida and opened a metro Orlando campus of FSU Medical University. They also established the Florida Institute of Electronic Arts and a Disney / SBA National Entrepreneur Center.
In July 2005, the EDC was honored with the “Large Market – Deal of the Year” by the Florida Economic Development Council for securing the Central Florida studio expansion of Electronic Arts, the world’s largest interactive entertainment company. In addition to raising the visibility of Metro Orlando’s digital media sector, the studio expansion project has spurred the creation of a new graduate level course of study at the University of Central Florida called the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA).
Since implementation, Orlando has become known for its innovative high-tech industries, such as simulation, photonics, financial software, entertainment technology and bioscience research. Metro Orlando has been called a “Global Hot Spot” and has been as one of the top cities for entrepreneurs.