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A Sunny Outcome: Why Florida's Startups Are Soaring High

Florida has the U.S.’s second-highest rate of new business production, it ranks high on Fundable’s VC rankings, and Startup America says it’s the No. 3 state for annual revenue per startup, with $1.2 million. Here’s what else helped it hit No. 1:

1. Ambition has a local focus.
Long-standing local economies can spark an innovation gold rush. Miami's tourism industry, for example, has birthed new hospitality IT startups. In Orlando, startups are focused on medical innovation. And the state's immigrant community connects back home. "Top companies in the tech scenes in Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo are in Miami now," says Miami-based serial entrepreneur Susan Amat, chair of Startup Florida.

2. The collaborative calendar is full.
If business-minded locals find others to learn from or work with, they're more likely to take the plunge themselves. That's why leaders encourage so many community events. "We have code camp, health camp, startup bus, startup weekend, hackathons," says Tonya Elmore, president of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. "These things didn't take place even three or four years ago."

3. Money is being spent locally.
Florida has no shortage of wealthy people and beachfront mansions, but there's been a problem: "If you're a rich guy retired in Palm Beach, your family office is investing in funds based elsewhere," says John Duffy, CEO of Boca Raton-based 3CInteractive. "So there's been a lot of emphasis on attracting good investors to this area." Now that's starting.

[Image: Flickr user Paul Reynolds]

A version of this article appeared in the May 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.