Orlando is a technology-rich region. From its early roots in the aviation, aerospace and defense industry along the Interstate 4 corridor, Orlando has grown new tech clusters like modeling and simulation, digital media, interactive entertainment, microelectronics, life sciences, and health-care and medical technologies. While these tech industries generate high-wage jobs, with salaries averaging $87,000, these jobs account for only 5 percent of our employment.
With our region dominated by low-wage jobs, we have an opportunity, if not an obligation, to leverage our substantial tech assets to create more high-wage jobs and rebalance our regional economy. To do this we must change our economic development and entrepreneurial support efforts and become proactive in the creation of scaleups — companies growing at more than 20 percent per year.
The Orlando region was once the leading tech startup hub in Florida through the efforts of entrepreneurs who started companies that leveraged our technology and talent. Finding fertile ground here, venture capital came from outside the state and fueled high-growth entrepreneurs like Scott Moody and Steve Miller. Moody co-founded AuthenTec, whose fingerprint sensor is now in the iPhone through its $356 million acquisition by Apple. Miller co-founded Sawtek, whose RF filters are in most mobile phones, particularly after its $1.3 billion merger with TriQuint Semiconductor. Read more here.