Jacksonville, the most business-friendly city in the world

Back in 2013, the Kauffman Foundation named Jacksonville as “the most business friendly city in Florida.”

Meh. While the recognition is appreciated, it’s really underwhelming.

So, we beat out Tampa, Miami and Orlando. That’s great, but how about Hong Kong, New York, Toronto or San Francisco?

Can we really compete with the big guns for economic opportunity? Heck, yeah!

take pledge wrYou may know that Jacksonville gets the edge on most cities when it comes to cost of living, lower taxes and climate. Don’t forget that we also have a skilled and educated work force—the people who live, work and play here, who are committed to building a vibrant city. When you throw in three major interstates, a river and the port, Jacksonville looks pretty amazing and matches up well with every city in the world. Yes, world.

My hat tips to our city’s leaders recruiting companies to our region. It’s a tough business and wins are not as frequent as anyone would like, but they have been steady. Most of these efforts are kept confidential as negotiations are sensitive for all parties involved. We only hear about them after the ink has dried.

This level of economic development is a zero sum game. A win for Jacksonville, is a loss for another city. It is ultra competitive and millions of dollars are on the line.

So, for the thousands of people that work for smaller and medium-sized businesses, what can we do to help? We can support and do business with one another. After all, when larger companies place their headquarters in Jacksonville, we all win.

With that commitment comes high-paying jobs and a procurement department that consumes goods and services from the rest of us. The same is true for small- and medium-sized companies. We work with each other, support each other and buy from one another. The bottom line is—Customers!

Add to the resume

If Jacksonville were a person, she would have a resume that includes a variety of complimentary awards from publications and other media outlets. She boasts at least three of the largest companies in America, the nation’s largest urban park system, and the list goes on.

We can’t rest on our laurels. Let’s add one more accolade. On April 1st, at the Morocco Shrine, the business community is rallying to set the World Record for the largest business speed networking event.

The Australian Institute of Management Queensland (Australia) set the record in 2013 with 475 people in attendance. But given that records are broken every day, local organizers are planning for more than 2,000 people, so that Jacksonville can safely earn and retain the label of “the most business friendly-city” for a while.

For attendees, there is no charge (free is good!) and you can be part of history in the making. During this event, participants will meet other pro-business people who are also promoting their local businesses, products or services.

In this tradeshow style event, participants are encouraged to “warm up” by getting to know one another by visiting table booths. When the crowd hits the magic number, an announcement will be made so that the history-making speed networking session can begin. This is a true community effort with the result that attendees will walk away with real business leads and opportunities while promoting Jacksonville on a grand scale.

Guinness World Records adjudicators will supervise the distribution of  numbered wristbands and will certify the effort as business owners, executives and stakeholders who are intently focused on entrepreneurial growth in their businesses come together to actively participate in this record-breaking event. As a valuable member of the Northeast Florida business community interested in promoting economic development, you will help make history.

Business is not boring. By coming together at the World’s Largest Business Speed Networking event, we will change the way economic development is thought about with respect to economic growth, business networking and entrepreneurial support. You can find out more information at

Jacksonville, the most business-friendly city in the world. It has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?


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