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This is Where Businesses With Global Ambitions Come to Thrive
When Daniel Robinson decided it was time to expand his business abroad, he knew Florida was the best place to call home.
When starting up or relocating a business, there's plenty of factors that entrepreneurs must keep in mind. From identifying potential customers to accessing skilled talent to understanding the local economy and infrastructure, the success of your business sits at the center of all these things, and it can become an overwhelming task to find a location that supports you in every area.
In the Sunshine State, business leaders will find access to all the support and resources they need to grow their businesses—in Florida and beyond. Florida has been referred to as a "gateway to the world" as it continues to establish itself as a global trade hub, and companies have a unique opportunity to shape their local and global success stories in the state.
Take it from Daniel Robinson, founder and CEO of Red 6, an Orlando, Fla.-based company combining augmented reality (AR) and aerospace to develop immersive training programs for military applications. Originally founded in California, Red 6 relocated to Orlando for several important reasons.
"I had to consider which states were the most business friendly and bring that critical mass of complementary technologies, airports, academics, and diverse economy. When I looked at Florida, I saw such a burgeoning, positive business climate that just made so much sense," Robinson explains. "These factors, in addition to … the presence of the Department of Defense, as well as the support from Enterprise Florida, made Orlando an incredibly attractive location for Red 6's new headquarters."
A high-flying mission.
As a seasoned Royal Air Force fighter pilot, Robinson has been through immense amounts of training to operate highly technical airplanes used across the military. Robinson says he was the first non-American pilot to fly the F-22 Raptor, which is the U.S. Air Force's all-weather stealth tactical fighter plane. "This opportunity gave me some incredible insight into the unique capabilities of that airplane, but it also led me to understand some of the problems associated with the broader combat air force, which was largely its training," Robinson says.
Every time the Air Force wanted to combat train F-22 pilots, they needed someone else to fly and train against them, which ended up being an exorbitantly expensive venture, Robinson explains. "We were failing at this for a number of reasons," he says. "First being that we were short of fighter pilots, but we were also short of physical assets—the planes themselves. And on the other hand, simulations just don't replicate the cognitive loads or mental duress that drive the decision making while flying."
These issues got the wheels turning for Robinson, and he began to explore the use of AR as a means of training military pilots. Robinson partnered with co-founders Nick Bicanic and Glenn Snyder in 2017 and, shortly after, launched Red 6.
Florida today. Tomorrow, the world.
As Red 6's training systems began to build traction, Robinson realized the potential to bring its training resources and programs to Allied Air Forces across the globe. At the same time, when he considered the company's long-term success and its plans for expansion overseas, Florida was "absolutely the place for us."
One of Red 6's biggest advocates on its pursuit of international expansion has been Enterprise Florida, which maintains a network of 20 international offices in 13 countries to help Florida companies like Red 6 gain access to global markets. "Enterprise Florida has been incredibly helpful in facilitating those conversations," Robinson says. "They've helped us with international trade shows, connected us with the right people for expansion meetings, and they've been instrumental from day one."
"Our international division has three different functions: We help Florida-based companies export their goods, help international companies invest in Florida through foreign direct investments, and support Governor DeSantis' priorities and the betterment of Florida's economy throughout the world," says TJ Villamil, Senior Vice President of International Trade & Development at Enterprise Florida.
When it comes to attracting international business, Florida is ranked 5th in the U.S. in terms of foreign direct investment employment with companies from around the globe planting operations in the Sunshine State. "We've been able to invest in the traction of foreign direct investments, and we're focused on attracting the interest of international companies to Florida because we know that they can greatly benefit from the continuous growth that's happening here," Villamil says.
Entrepreneurs looking to start up or move operations to Florida can take advantage of the same resources that Red 6 has, and more, through Enterprise Florida, including:
- Providing access to funding. Enterprise Florida offers various financial programs to help businesses grow and succeed, such as the Florida Opportunity Fund.
- Assisting with trade. Enterprise Florida provides guidance with exporting goods and services, including market research, trade shows, and other promotional activities. Organizations can also take advantage of specialized trade grants administered by Enterprise Florida through the Florida Export Diversification & Expansion program that aids eligible businesses in commencing their export operations or expanding into fresh international markets.
- Offering resources and guidance. Enterprise Florida provides businesses with access to resources such as market intelligence, site selection assistance, and workforce training programs. It also offers guidance on issues such as business regulations and permitting.
"From Enterprise Florida's compelling and interesting subsidies to their networks and connections on the ground and across the globe, they have something tangible that has been incredibly important to our overall success," Robinson says.
Click here to learn more about how Enterprise Florida can help you find success in the state of Florida and around the world.