Brevard • Lake • Orange • Osceola • Seminole • Sumter • Volusia
Innovation & Technology
It’s easy to think of Orlando as just a great place to vacation, but guess what? According to WalletHub, this city of 2 million-plus is also the No. 1 best place in the U.S. to start a business. Among many new firms finding homes here are:
• Checkr, a private company that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help companies perform background checks and vet potential employees, will establish a headquarters in Orlando that is expected to create 600 jobs.
• Hoverfly Technologies, a startup that makes tethered power drone systems, is adding 50 positions to its staff of 60. The firm — a graduate of University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Program — recently moved its headquarters to a 20,000-sq.-ft. building in Sanford.
• Texas lithium-ion battery manufacturer Microvast has purchased a 75,000-sq.-ft. building in Lake Mary to use as a research and development facility. The company is expected to create 100 jobs over five years.
• Astronics Test Systems — which performs testing for a wide range of products, including military aircraft, heart monitors and commuter trains — is moving its headquarters from Irvine, Calif., to Orlando to be closer to many of its customers. The company plans to add 60 employees to its existing staff of 125 over the next two years.
KEY PLAYERS: Engineering & Computer Simulations, Orlando; Electronic Arts, Orlando; SemTech IT Solutions, Longwood
Logistics & Transportation
Companies seeking smooth connections find exactly what they need in Florida’s East Central region:
• By land: With fewer cars on the road in 2020 due to the pandemic, the road project labeled “I-4 Ultimate” was able to be completed in record time.
• By air: East Central boasts four international airports — Daytona Beach; Melbourne Orlando International; Orlando Sanford; and Orlando International Airport, which served 40.3 million passengers in 2021 and added 15 gates at its new Terminal C.
• By sea: More than two years after the pandemic brought cruising to a standstill, the industry is making a comeback, welcoming 2.4 million multiday passengers from October 1, 2021, through May 31, 2022. Likewise, cargo revenue in 2021 increased by 15.7% over the previous year and is projected to climb to a record $17.7 million in 2022.
• By rail: Construction continues on the Miami-to-Orlando leg of the fast passenger rail system Brightline, which currently serves Florida’s east coast from Miami to West Palm Beach. If all goes according to plan, Brightline will begin running trains to Orlando by Christmas 2022.