Miami Dade Mayor Welcomes Brazilian Tech Companies
By: Claudia Repsold
Miami is a very democratic place that always rewards talent. The city is a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity, with small businesses representing 80 percent of all business in the district. Miami has reinvented itself into a place where the culture vibrates and the doors are wide open to innovation and creativity.
Downtown Miami is the home of Network Access Point (NAP): 20-plus carrier-neutral data centers and fiber-optic connections to Europe and Latin America. The city is the only place in the U.S. where optical, Ethernet, voice, and Internet traffic come together in one location. With the founding of NAP, Miami become one of the world’s top-five best interconnected cities, beating out even San Francisco.
Brazil & U.S. Biz spoke exclusively with Miami/Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez about what the future holds for the city, and how important Brazilian participation is in building this future.
Brazil & U.S. Biz: How important is Brazilian business to Miami?
Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez: It’s very important. Brazil is Florida’s number-one trade partner. It’s important not just to bring the Brazilians, but also [to] maintain our relationship. It is very easy for Brazilians to get [to] Florida — as [easy as it is] to get back home to Brazil. We have a large Brazilian population; it is a vital part of our community. Brazil is very important to Miami/Dade County.
Brazil & U.S. Biz: Are there any special incentives to bring technology companies to Florida?
Gimenez: We do not have incentives, per se. We do have the Beacon Council in Miami, which helps people who want to relocate their business to the city. However, the [state of] Florida has many stimuli for all kinds of companies — not just for technology companies. Florida has a very good tax structure. We have neither state income tax nor city income tax.
In terms of taxes, it’s a very friendly environment, and our government in Miami/Dade County is also very friendly in our permitting process, although we watch out for things we have to do. We try to make the permit process as quick as possible, because we know time is money. If you start your business fast, the faster you can start to make money; the faster you can hire people; the faster you can participate in improving the Miami/Dade economy, and vice-versa. Hopefully, locating your company in Miami will improve the viability of the company and give it a better bottom line.
Brazil & U.S. Biz: Do you think Miami is about to become the Silicon Valley of the East Coast? What advantages does Miami have over New York?
Gimenez: I think Miami focuses more on Latin America, while New York focuses more on Europe, and Los Angeles focuses more on the Pacific Rim and Asia. Miami concentrates on South and Central America. We speak the language; our tax structure is far superior to New York, and we do not have the city and state income tax that New York has.
So, just in terms of tax structure, Florida is much more friendly than New York. Our weather is much better; we do not have any snow or cold. We also have a lot of the good things like New York. We have the culture and the entertainment. Obviously, everybody knows about South Beach, but we are much more than South Beach.
We have advantages that other cities do not have. We invested heavily in infrastructure that connects Miami to other cities around the world — not just to South America. Our airport is the second-busiest airport in the nation. The Miami seaport will be one of only three seaports on the eastern seaboard that will be able to accept post-Panamax ships. We will become a distribution center.
Brazil & U.S. Biz: How do you see Miami 10 years from now?
Gimenez: The best answer to this question is just to look back and see how Miami was 10 years ago. Look how much we have accomplished in the last 10 years. Miami is today a world-class city with a vibrant business and art environment. The city was transformed and is [becoming] better every day.
Brazil & U.S. Biz: What is your message for the business community in Brazil?
Gimenez: I have many Brazilian friends, I can tell you — we are natural partners; we have a lot in common. Miami welcomes your business.
Claudia Repsold is the Editor-in-Chief of Brazil & USA Biz. She is a Brazilian international award- winning journalist with twenty years of experience in editing, research, coordination, production and reporting news on Brazil and U.S.