Orlando

Where businesses love to succeed. And people love to live.

Fertile Ground For Business Growth

As the country’s 26th-largest metropolitan area, Orlando is home to a wide range of industries, from science, technology and bio-medical research to digital media and advanced manufacturing. And for those who live, work and play here, our dynamic lifestyle offers something to enjoy every day. It’s the perfect breeding ground for businesses looking to grow and thrive for years to come.

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Diverse Metro Area

Whether you’re looking for the vitality of an urban business center, a rural area with lots of room to grow, or a suburban setting that offers your business and your employees the best of both worlds, Orlando can accommodate your needs.

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Orlando

Attracting nearly 60 million visitors a year, the Orlando area continues to build upon its long-held reputation as one of the world’s favorite vacation spots. But that’s only half the story. When it comes to commerce, the region is emerging as a global contender across a variety of industries – from healthcare and national defense to higher education and high-tech. The country’s 26th-largest metro area is home to the nation’s second-largest university, seventh-largest research park, third-highest job creation index score and an award-winning international airport. A young, highly skilled workforce combined with a business-friendly climate makes Orlando a new kind of premier destination: one that wants your business.

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St. Cloud

Located in the rural corridor of OUC’s service area – minutes from Orlando International Airport, Lake Nona’s Medical City and Central Florida’s world-class theme parks.

St. Cloud was originally founded as a retirement community for Civil War union veterans, gaining the nickname “Soldier City,” which is demonstrated through landmark areas such as Veteran’s Park located in the heart of the City. Down the street, a state-of-the-art City Hall building complements the downtown area, which is filled with shops dotting streets named after states such as New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Steeped in tradition and heritage, St. Cloud continues to develop as one of the region’s emerging places to live, work and play. The second largest city in Osceola County, its slogan is “Celebrating Small Town Life.”

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Quality of Life

Beautiful neighborhoods. An abundance of beaches, lakes, parks and trails. World-class entertainment. State-of-the-art medical facilities. And of course, year-round blue skies. Our region’s amenities – both natural and “man-made” – make Orlando a great place to live. And that makes it easier for your business to recruit and retain great talent.

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Arts, Culture & Entertainment

From gritty to grand, emerging to esteemed, cutting-edge to family-friendly, Orlando offers arts, culture and entertainment for all appetites. Broadway shows and Orlando Ballet performances at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Exciting indie bands at The Social. Classic and contemporary exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art. Plein air art appreciation at the Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival. And everything in between. No wonder we’ve made Forbes list as one of America’s 10 Coolest Cities.

  • A Thriving Theater Scene
    With diverse venues serving audiences of all ages, plus the annual Orlando International Fringe Festival, live theater is always in the spotlight.
  • Theme Parks Still A Main Attraction
    More than 60 million visitors from around the globe flock to our world-famous Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld theme parks every year.
  • Music Fans Find Their Groove
    From the 2,000-seat House of Blues to the 20,000-seat Amway Arena to multiday festivals like EDC Orlando, live music lives all over Orlando.
  • Foodies Get Their Fill
    With 50+ markets, a nationally acclaimed Restaurant Row, the vibrant West End Market, and the monthly Food Truck Bazaars, Orlando can whet anyone’s appetite.

Sports, Recreation & Outdoors

When the sun shines year-round, you can’t help but enjoy an active lifestyle. From youth sports and world-renowned golf courses to bike trails, picturesque gardens, and our sprawling network of lakes, rivers, and beaches, outdoor leisure opportunities abound in Central Florida. And with MLS and NBA teams here, plus MLB and NFL teams a short drive away, professional sports fans will find plenty of reasons to cheer.

  • Pro Sports Excitement
    Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Lions debuted in 2015. The NBA’s Orlando Magic have been lighting up the courts since 1989.
  • 170 World-Class Golf Courses
    Including Bay Hill Club and Lodge, host of the PGA’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
  • $60 million home for USTA
    United States Tennis Association’s new 63-acre headquarters in Lake Nona will include more than 100 courts.
  • Watersports Mecca
    Skiing the Butler Chain. Fishing the St. Johns River. Snorkeling with the manatees. So many ways to make a splash in Central Florida.
  • 250-Mile Nature Trail
    Outdoor lovers will soon be able to walk, jog or bike from the Space Coast to St. Petersburg via Florida’s Coast to Coast Connector, which runs through Seminole, Orange and Lake counties
  • Abundant Parks and Gardens
    A wide range of outdoor escapes, from Lake Eola Park at the city center to the botanical oases of Leu Gardens and Mead Botanical Gardens.

Leading-Edge Healthcare and Medical Research

Access to top-notch healthcare is high on the list of must-haves for successful businesses and their employees. And Orlando fits the bill. Our city is a growing hub for world-class healthcare, research and medical education. The rapid expansion of Lake Nona Medical City, a 650-acre health and life sciences park in southeast Orlando, exemplifies our ongoing advancement in this arena.

  • Nemours Children’s Hospital
    The full-service health center pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs.
  • University of Central Florida College of Medicine
    More than 2,400 medical students are training to become the next generation of physicians at this state-of-the-art institution.
  • Innovative Research Drives New Disease Treatments
    Researchers from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the University of Florida Research & Academic Center, and Medical City are collaborating to develop new treatments for heart disease, diabetes and brain disorders.
  • Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    The new $665 million, 1.2-million-square-foot facility includes a hospital, nursing home and rehabilitation center to serve Central Florida’s 400,000 veterans.
  • Orlando Health
    One of Florida’s most comprehensive private, not-for-profit healthcare networks, Orlando Health’s downtown campus features a Level 1 trauma center and four hospitals.
  • Florida Hospital Orlando
    Just north of downtown, Florida Hospital Orlando’s Health Village is a 172-acre mixed-use planned community modeled as a destination for visitors and residents seeking world-class care.

Dynamic Downtown Expansion

Downtown Orlando, OUC’s largest commercial hub and central business zone, is undergoing a dramatic expansion that will transform the area into a world-class sports, education and entertainment destination. Anchored by an array of exciting developments, including the renovated Florida Citrus Bowl, the newly built Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, and the upcoming MLS soccer stadium, Amway entertainment complex, and “Creative Village,” Downtown Orlando will serve as an exciting epicenter of Orlando living.

Beautiful Neighborhoods

Trendy downtown apartments. Quaint, historic cottages. Master-planned communities built around a village concept. Orlando’s culturally diverse neighborhoods offer lifestyle options for everyone.

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Robust Workforce Resources


With more than 30 post-secondary institutions – including the University of Central Florida, the second largest university in the nation – and 87,000 college students poised to enter our talent pipeline, your business will have access to a strong and stable labor pool that excels across a number of industries.

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Strong Labor Force

With a population of more than 2 million and a labor force exceeding 1.1 million, Orlando is among the nation's fastest-growing employment markets. Fueled by a progressive, young workforce skilled in technology and innovation, Central Florida is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for creative minds.

  • Tech-Ready Talent
    With technology as our region’s second-largest industry, our skilled labor market is ready for high-tech responsibilities. Techie.com ranked Orlando among its list of the "Most Promising Tech Hubs to Watch in 2014” and Modis named Orlando the No. 3 “City to find an IT Job.”
  • Top-Ranked City
    Orlando is among the top 25 cities for Millennials as ranked by Niche.com and has earned top 10 national rankings for "Best Cities for College Grads" (CareerBliss.com).
  • 500,000 students within a 100-mile radius

Orlando’s diverse and growing labor force works in these key industries:

  • Leisure and hospitality: 20.9%
  • Professional and business services: 16.8%
  • Retail trade: 12.4%
  • Education and health services: 12.0%
  • Government: 10.8%
  • Financial: 6.3%
  • Construction: 5.1%

Education

The Orlando area is home to more than 30 post-secondary institutions, including the University of Central Florida (UCF), the nation’s second-largest university and one of the nation's top research institutions. The strong connection between our educational institutions and our region’s business community fuels excellence in university research and innovation in public secondary education. As a result, our students are prepared at all levels today to serve as Orlando's workforce of tomorrow.

  • Globally Recognized Research University
    UCF’s groundbreaking research in nanoscience, optics and lasers, simulation and training, and other cutting-edge fields has elevated the university to worldwide prominence.
  • Top 10 Research Parks in the Nation
    Central Florida Research Park brings the business and university communities together to conduct cooperative research launch new technologies in the market.
  • Highly Ranked Liberal Arts Colleges
    Rollins College in Winter Park consistently ranks as the No. 1 regional university in the South by U.S. News & World Report, and Stetson University in DeLand ranks among the top colleges in the South, with a law school rated the nation’s best for trial advocacy.
  • Vibrant State Colleges
    More than 70,000 students are enrolled at Valencia College and more than 32,000 students attend Seminole State College, both of which offer two- and four-year degrees in a variety of different fields.
  • Specialty Schools
    Orlando offers a number of highly specialized educational programs, such as Full Sail University, for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industry, to Adventist University of Health Sciences, which specializes in allied health and nursing education, to the law schools at Florida A&M University and Barry University.
  • Spanish-Speaking Universities
    Bilingual leaders of the future can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in diverse fields at the Ana G. Mendez Orlando University and Orlando campus of Polytech University of Puerto Rico.

Career Resources

In partnership with the Department of Economic Opportunity and Employ Florida Marketplace, this vast resource provides services to 8,800 job seekers and 1,300 employers a month.

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CareerSource Central Florida
    In partnership with the Department of Economic Opportunity and Employ Florida Marketplace, this vast resource provides services to 8,800 job seekers and 1,300 employers a month. Visit their website to learn more about their Quick Response Training grants fund that customize training for new or expanding businesses and many other programs that will help you grow with the right talent.

Infrastructure & Access

Offering one of the nation’s best highway systems, an internationally acclaimed airport, commuter rail, deep-water ports and the world’s only trade zone that exchanges goods by air, land, sea and space, Orlando is an ideal location for businesses who need easy access to just about anywhere.

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Airports

Orlando’s business climate is strengthened by the presence of a world-class international airport that generates an annual economic impact of $26 billion. Nearby, other international and regional airports provide additional options for travel and commerce.

  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
    This perennial favorite among business leaders and the traveling public accommodates 35 million passengers each year with nonstop service to 84 U.S. cities and 34 international destinations.
  • MCO Intermodal Hub
    Set to open in 2018, MCO’s intermodal hub will provide seamless connectivity to SunRail, All Aboard Florida and a proposed light rail system to nearby attractions.
  • Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB)
    Located about 25 miles from downtown Orlando, Orlando Sanford International Airport serves 2 million passengers a year. Its major airline, Allegiant, flies to dozens of destinations throughout North America.
  • Orlando Executive Airport (ORL)
    For travelers utilizing both private and corporate-owned aircraft, Orlando Executive Airport offers convenient access to all of Orlando's major highways and is just minutes from major industrial and business centers.
  • Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM)
    In northern Osceola County, Kissimmee Gateway Airport accommodates general aviation air service 24 hours a day with four fixed-based operators and two paved runways.
  • Daytona Beach (DAB) and Melbourne (MLB)
    On Central Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Daytona Beach International Airport and Melbourne International Airport present additional options for travelers and commerce. Both are served by Delta and U.S. Airways as well as a number of freight and charter airlines.

Seaports

While you can’t see any ocean vessels from Orlando proper, you’re close enough to virtually hear the sounds of industry at some of the world’s finest seaports. With major ports on the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, Central Florida is a prime destination for international shipping. In fact, Port Canaveral boasts the world’s only “quadramodal” foreign trade zone, accommodating cargo by sea, land, air and even space!

  • Atlantic Ocean: Port Canaveral
    The world’s only “quadramodal” foreign trade zone, this major deep-water port of entry located 50 miles east of Orlando features eleven deep-water cargo piers, six cruise terminals, and the shortest direct entry on the East Coast.
  • Intracoastal Waterway: Port of Sanford
    This Seminole County port offers 250,000 square feet of industrial and distribution space, a 350-foot main pier and 100-foot bulk unloading pier, and river barge access via St. Johns River to Lake Monroe.
  • Gulf of Mexico: Port of Tampa
    Located 70 miles west of Orlando, Florida's largest cargo tonnage port operates primarily as a bulk commodities port serving Foreign Trade Zone 79.
  • Gulf of Mexico: Port Manatee
    Located 35 miles south of Tampa, this is the closest U.S. deep-water seaport to Panama Canal and serves Foreign Trade Zone 169. It offers port-owned railroad interchanging with the CSX and easy highway connectivity to Central Florida.

Rail Transportation

Orlando is making a major investment in rail networks that will shape the region’s future. Commuters, tourists, business travelers and air passengers stand to benefit from All Aboard Florida, SunRail and an intermodal hub at Orlando International Airport.

  • All Aboard Florida Set to Offer High-Speed Rail
    All Aboard Florida is working to connect Central and South Florida through a privately owned and operated passenger train with stops in Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
  • SunRail Shuttles Commuters Along the I-4 Corridor
    A much-needed alternative to rush-hour traffic, SunRail commuter train runs mostly adjacent to I-4 with 12 stops along a 32-mile route. Expansion plans call for the rail to stretch from DeLand to the Poinciana area of Osceola County.
  • Intermodal Transportation Facility Will Link Rail and Air Travelers
    To facilitate the smooth transfer of passengers between planes and rail, Orlando International Airport is building a $683 million intermodal transportation facility set to open in 2018.
  • Freight Rail Provided by CSXT and Florida Central Railroad
    The largest rail network in the eastern United States, CSX Transportation owns and maintains approximately 1,750 route miles in Florida. The Florida Central Railroad links to CSXT, offering easy access to Orlando-area markets.

Florida Rail Network Map here.

Road & Highway Infrastructure

Central Florida is constantly building innovative road networks to accommodate the region’s steady growth. I-4 Ultimate and a regional beltway system are among the highway construction projects helping motorists navigate Central Florida in faster, safer and more convenient ways.

  • Interstate 4 Undergoing an “Ultimate” Makeover Project
    This $2.3 billion improvement will enhance our major artery with four new tolled express lanes, 15 major reconstructed interchanges and 140 bridges that will be widened, replaced or built new.
    See the I-4 Ultimate Construction Map.
  • Orlando Beltway Offers Fast Transit Via Toll Roads
    This series of toll roads constructed over the past three decades will form a massive, four-county loop around the City by the early 2020s. Orlando’s other major toll roads include the East-West Expressway (SR 408), Florida Turnpike and Beachline Expressway (SR 528).
  • Osceola County Considering Beltway
    Osceola County has big plans for its own beltway. The Osceola Parkway – an east-west artery that already links to I-4, the Central Florida GreeneWay, the Florida Turnpike and Disney World – would be part of a network that prepares the region for massive residential and commercial growth deep into the 21st century.
  • Public Transportation: LYNX Leads the Way
    Operating primarily in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, LYNX services 77 daily bus routes and provides about 105,000 rides each weekday. LYNX is the nation’s first transit agency to produce its own B-20 biodiesel blend for bus fleet conversion.

Sustainable Community


Besides being good for the environment, sustainability is great for business. Orlando is home to many forward-thinking initiatives, and OUC serves as one of our city's most vital partners, driving key innovations such as Central Florida's first Community Solar Farm.

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Green Works Orlando

Green Works Orlando – a vision to transform Orlando into one of the most environmentally friendly, economically and socially vibrant communities in the nation – was launched by City Mayor Buddy Dyer in 2007. It utilizes the City’s regional leadership position to build partnerships and share resources that foster positive environmental changes in the everyday workings of government and private business.

Green Works Focus Areas

  • Energy/green buildings
  • Food systems
  • Green economy
  • Livability
  • Solid waste
  • Transportation
  • Water

Orange County: “Our Home for Life”

In 2013, Orange County government began creating an extensive sustainability plan under the direction of County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. Known as “Our Home for Life,” it addresses population growth in a way that enhances the quality of life for current and future generations. The plan outlines specific incremental and transformative changes for the County through 2040.

Our Home For Life Focus Areas

  • Natural resources
  • Arts & culture
  • Civic engagement
  • Community
  • Education
  • Built environment
  • Mobility

On-Campus Sustainability and Energy Management

The University of Central Florida is a leader in sustainability and energy management. A dedicated team of students, faculty and staff advance a more sustainable campus through conservation, efficiencies and renewable energy.

UCF Sustainability Projects

  • Energy-efficient buildings
  • Solar photovoltaic systems
  • Alternative fuels for fleet vehicles
  • Biodiverse landscapes that minimize water use
  • Community outreach

In addition, UCF’s “MegaWatt Ventures” program builds and strengthens “innovation ecosystems” that accelerate the movement of cutting-edge energy technologies from university laboratories into the market.

Florida Solar Energy Center

In partnership with UCF, the Florida Solar Energy Center operates a 20-acre, state-of-the-art research campus in Cocoa. The center, which also partners with the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, employs the nation’s top minds in the field of alternative energy and has received multiple awards from several groups and public agencies, including the:

  • National Partners in Homeownership
  • Department of Energy
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Defense
  • Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects

Business-Friendly Climate

Anchored by major industries and fueled by an impressive talent pool, low tax structure and excellent quality of life, Orlando is cultivating a richly diverse professional landscape in a business-friendly climate. No wonder Foreign Direct Investment magazine named us one of 10 “American Cities of the Future.”

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Most Economical Place to Launch a Business

Orlando ranks as the least expensive city in the nation for entrepreneurs to launch a business, according to The Boyd Company, a site selection firm based in New Jersey. In addition, Forbes placed Orlando among the “best cities for minority entrepreneurs”, “best cities for job growth”, “best places for businesses and careers” and one of “the next big boom towns in the U.S.”

Award-Winning Orlando EDC

Orlando’s internationally accredited Economic Development Commission ranks in the top 1 percent nationwide and is working to become the country’s preeminent economic development organization. Since 1977, it has successfully assisted thousands of companies locate or expand in Orlando.

Orlando EDC Impact

  • 176,750 jobs created
  • $9.5 billion in capital investment
  • 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space

Strong Commitment From The City of Orlando

The City of Orlando’s Business Development Division offers a variety of programs committed to recruiting, retaining and growing business. In addition, the City works with several other economic development organizations to maximize its impact in the community.

Orange County Drives Economic Development

The Orange County Office of Economic Development partners with dozens of nonprofit think tanks and industry leaders continues to drive smart economic growth in our region. In 2013, the County funded nearly $1.1 million in economic development programs, including Innovation Way, a high-tech corridor that extends from UCF to Lake Nona Medical City and Orlando International Airport.

Osceola County Fast-Tracks Business Success

The Greater Osceola Partnership for Economic Prosperity (GOPEP) partners with the state of Florida and other agencies to create and participate in many aggressive, targeted, industry incentive programs. The land-abundant county also offers a Five-Day Fast-Track permitting process to fully assist relocating corporations. For companies operating in the global marketplace, Osceola’s St. Cloud area is rich in multinational residents, particularly those with Spanish-speaking backgrounds.

State Tax Competitiveness

With one of the nation’s most business-friendly tax codes, Florida ranked No. 4 on the Tax Foundation’s 2017 State Business Climate Index — the only state in the Southeast to appear in the Top 10. The state also offers sales-and-use tax exemptions on a variety of power-related expenditures, as well as tax breaks in targeted industries.

These tax breaks are great for business

  • No corporate income tax on limited partnerships or subchapter S-corporations
  • No corporate franchise tax on capital stock
  • No property tax on business inventories
  • No state-level property tax
  • No property tax on goods-in-transit for up to 180 days
  • No sales-and-use tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for export outside the state
  • No property tax on business inventories
  • No state income tax–a great perk for your employees

Orlando vs. Other Cities

Every city wants your business, but Orlando brings the best deal to the table. With an award-winning EDC, expedited permitting, development-ready sites and a government that goes to “BAT” for economic prosperity, our city offers unparalleled advantages for ambitious businesses.

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Business-Friendly City

The Mayor’s Business Assistance Team (BAT) ensures that companies have every opportunity to succeed. BAT consists of City staff with expertise from departments such as transportation, code enforcement, solid waste and public works. With accountability and accessibility in mind, the team fills a vital role by helping the Office of Business Assistance resolve issues for corporate clients.

An EDC that Gets the Job Done

Orlando’s internationally accredited EDC – in the top 1 percent nationwide – has successfully assisted thousands of companies locate to or expand in Orlando. This has resulted in more than 176,750 jobs announced, $9.5 billion in capital investment and over 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.

Expedited Permitting

The City of Orlando’s Permitting Services Division – part of the Economic Development Department – provides prompt, business-friendly customer service for building permits, business licenses and on-site construction inspections. Companies locating in Orange County also benefit from a one-stop permitting process that provides predictability, consistency, and time and money savings. And corporations that relocate to Osceola County enjoy access to a Five-Day Fast-Track permitting process.

Development-Ready Sites

Having a site ready for your new business can save thousands of dollars in time and planning by speeding along the approval process. The Orlando area features a diversity of sites for companies of all scopes and sizes – from downtown high-rises to more rural St. Cloud agricultural.

Florida vs. Other States

Abundant, diverse land. Skilled, specialized labor force. Robust capital resources. Florida offers all the advantages of a competitive high-tech state, minus the high price tag. From breaking ground to breaking new sales records, business success is more affordable and achievable in the Sunshine State.

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Low-Tax Business Climate

Given Florida’s tax advantages, tax exemptions and lack of a personal income tax, your business dollars go a lot further in Florida. Responsible spending decisions and high financial reserves have earned us a AAA bond rating – the highest available – that makes our low-tax climate possible and sustainable.

Business-Friendly Government

Our government and economic development leaders work together to ensure that the state’s business climate remains favorable to companies of all sizes, including some of the nation’s leading corporations. Elected officials are working on legislative, fiscal and marketplace initiatives such as insurance tort reform, targeted industry incentives and many more.

Smart Laws

Tort reform has been a priority for Florida’s business-friendly government leaders. Recent victories include eliminating joint and several liability, reducing rates for workers' compensation insurance, and instituting class-action lawsuit reform. Florida is also one of only a few right-to-work states in the U.S.

Economic Incentives

Florida offers several incentive programs that reward everything from job creation and workforce training to site location and road improvements. Providing bottom-line advantages for all types of businesses helps bring about long-term profitability.