Incentives for Entrepreneurs: An Added Draw for SW Florida Home Buyers


Rising entrepreneurial opportunities in Florida appear as yet another incentive for those eying to relocate in the Sunshine State, particularly for the increasing number of baby boomers headed for retirement but still want to remain productive contributors to the economy.

Economic growth in the Sunshine State in recent months points to a climate growing more hospitable to would-be entrepreneurs, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. During the 2014 first quarter, for instance, Florida consumer spending gained by 3%. April job figures are as encouraging with unemployment trimmed to 6.2%, matching the near six-year low posted in January and February. Some 34,000 new jobs were created in April, more than any month in the past three years.

Multi-pronged efforts

Incentives for Entrepreneurs: An Added Draw for SW Florida Home Buyers

Entrepreneurial opportunities in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties brought about by the rising local economy and jobs improvement looks even more enticing. Gross business sales in March 2014 for the three counties amounted to a total of $2.93 billion, up nearly 30% from February and 12.3% above the $6.1 billion posted in the same month in 2013.

The current $77-billion state budget looms as another come-on for entrepreneurs. Aside from providing reductions in taxes and fees, the budget included business stimuli under the following: Visit Florida tourism marketing and promotion efforts ($74 million), Enterprise Florida Inc. ($20 million), Space Florida ($19 million), and Florida Sports Foundation ($5 million).

Florida’s small businesses likewise stand to benefit from the recent partnership forged among the state’s four largest networks for entrepreneurs—the Florida High Tech Corridor Council’s Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center, GrowFL, the Small Business Resource Network, and the National Entrepreneur Center. Their tie-up will provide entrepreneurs a wider referral network for such support services business planning and strategies, sales and marketing, HR, accounting, and legal.

Recognition of outstanding entrepreneurial efforts is an additional impetus for the development of small and mid-sized business. One of such endeavors is the Southwest Florida Distinguished Entrepreneur Award which is now in its third year under the auspices of the Florida Small Business Development Center at the Florida Gulf Coast University.

Live–work neighborhoods

The presence of live-work communities such as the Village of the Arts in Bradenton and Laurel Park in Sarasota further sharpen the allure of Southwest Florida to prospective home buyers with an entrepreneurial bent. And more of these neighborhoods can be expected in the future.

In May 2014, the Sarasota City Commission moved forward with a planned “catalyst project” for a city-owned land in the Rosemary District. The plan, called Rosemary Square, features a multi-use development along Boulevard of the Arts, Central Avenue and Fifth Street. Besides 40 residential units, it calls for commercial, office and fine-arts space (34,000 square feet), boutique movie or performing-arts theater (10,000 square feet) and a public town center (7,000 square feet).

This project will proceed upon finalization and signing of a purchase and sale agreement between the city and a development team. The developers are looking at the Rosemary Square as a “seminal project . . . to stimulate the entire district.”