Despite attracting shady condo sales and sleazy politicians, the Miami metropolitan area is also fertile ground for startups. It's so fertile, in fact, South Florida ranks among the top four places in the nation for new minority-owned businesses.
That's according to a recent report by the software company Volusion, which used data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs to break down the 50 best large metro areas based on their share of local startups belonging to minorities. After crunching the numbers, the authors found that more than 46 percent of all startups in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach were minority owned. Only the metro area of Los Angeles, San Jose, and Riverside had a larger percentage.
In terms of the total number of startups rather than the percentage, however, the Miami area jumps to third in the nation, with 8,375 startups employing more than 22,000 people. Only the New York and Los Angeles metro areas had more.
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Though most minority-owned startups in the United States tend to be clustered in industries such as food, retail, transportation, or warehouse work, the report shows that minority-owned startups in the Miami area were likeliest to be in professional, scientific, and technical services industries. They include accounting firms, payroll services, business consulting groups, and legal services, to name a few.
The report offers mostly good news for aspiring entrepreneurs in or near the Magic City, although there are still some issues to address. Nationally, minorities make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population but own only roughly 27 percent of startup businesses — a 13 percent gap. In South Florida, where nearly 70 percent of the population is considered a minority, that gap is even larger. Of the metro areas named in the report, only St. Louis had a startup ownership rate equal to or larger than the population's percentage of minorities. Other metro areas, including Baltimore and Washington, D.C., came close to punching at their own weight.
For the sake of the report, businesses in operation for less than two years were considered startups. To be considered minority-owned, a business required more than 51 percent ownership by individuals reporting their race or ethnicity as different from non-Hispanic white.
When it comes to startups, South Florida is not the next Silicon Valley by any stretch. Still, the region has a burgeoning startup scene, and minorities play a significant role in expanding it.