Gainesville, Florida, is the county seat and largest city in Alachua County, Florida. Since 1982, it has been recognized every year as “Tree City, USA” for its luscious canopy by the Arbor Day Foundation. The nature surrounding the city only adds to its allure as the 11th best college town in the U.S. according to Best College Review.
Gainesville is commonly known for the University of Florida, ranked number 1 for entomology and number 4 for zoology by the 2017 Center for World University Rankings. University of Florida also ranks number 14 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report. To add to the educated workforce, the nearby Santa Fe College won the 2015 Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence. Santa Fe not only ranked the best community college in the country for 2015, but also continues to rank among the top 10.
In terms of the economy, the programs at University of Florida and Santa Fe College combine with major health-care providers like UF Shands and North Florida Regional Medical Center to create clusters in life sciences, biotech, health care, and information technology. The Gainesville Veterans Administration Center offers yet another opportunity for entry into the health care market. At the end of 2016, the unemployment rate was 4.5%, but has since dropped to 3.7% by April of 2017. This growth, combined with the research opportunities and skilled workforce, makes Gainesville a prime location for investment.
A number of roads, including Interstate 75, US 441, and US 301, among others, connect Gainesville to Jacksonville, Orlando, Tallahassee, and Ocala. The Gainesville Regional Airport served approximately 400,000 passengers in 2013 by quickly connecting them to Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Tampa, and Orlando. Amtrak rail and 277 intermodal providers offer an easy connection between Gainesville and the rest of the country, making it easy to transport goods, as well as people.
Located midway between Jacksonville and Orlando, with over 155 square kilometers of natural beauty and sprawling campuses of creativity and innovation, Gainesville will be the third stop on the ACE 8 Tour of North Central Florida. Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, which received a record $724 million USD in research grants in the last fiscal year, and is ranked 14th in the nation overall and third in the nation for technology transfer. Gainesville is also home to Santa Fe College--winner of the 2015 Aspen Award for Community College Excellence—which plays a major role in the success of its students and the industries with which it partners to strengthen talent reserves. Gainesville has leveraged a history of innovation to create a future of opportunity for its business and people. Gainesville’s education institutions and innovation ecosystem will provide much to see during your excursions. We hope you enjoy this chance to tour the frontlines of Gainesville industry where our extremely well-educated workforce comes together to participate in bleeding-edge work.
BUSINESS INCUBATION AND GROWTH MECCA
Gainesville’s legacy of innovation is manifest at learning centers, such as the Cade Museum for Creativity and Innovation, and is nurtured by the region’s multiple startup incubators. With assets such as UF Health—which has become a world-renowned teaching hospital, most recently ranking in six pediatric specialties in the U.S. News and World Best Children’s Hospitals 2017—and the Sid Martin Biotech Institute (in 2013 ranked as "World's Best University Biotech Incubator" and recipient of NBIA's "Incubator of the Year", and in 2017 awarded the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year award) it makes sense that Gainesville would be a hotspot for Life Science research and commercialization. The UF Innovation Hub, which provides on-hand access to financial advisors, legal counsel, office space, lab equipment and more for their resident startups, is in the process of doubling its space with funding from an $8 million U.S. Economic Development Agency grant. The Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development oversees incubators such as Gainesville’s Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC), which hosts many incredible resources for local startups. The list of these centers goes on and on, providing great soil for startup growth in a wide range of industries here in Gainesville.
ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE
UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) has locations all over America working at the frontline of research, and an office in every single county, with Gainesville acting as the state hub. IFAS research has been instrumental in several highly significant innovations, including the Sentricon termite control system, which protects more than 3 million structures, including the White House. IFAS research has led to advancements in preventing citrus greening. The program’s influence has also created a dense population of modern farms utilizing the latest technology and techniques. As a result, we have many restaurants that source their ingredients locally, producing incredible, sustainable dining options that showcase the global influence of Gainesville’s agricultural industry sector. This has helped flourish an environmentally friendly mindset among the community. Through a growing biking culture that’s supported by city infrastructure, and wide use of our numerous nature parks and natural springs our environment is cherished by the young, educated workforce community we have.
ACE 8 attendees will have an amazing opportunity to enjoy this farm-to-table dining during their visit. IFAS and local farms work together to vitalize Gainesville’s assortment of incredible sustainable dining options that showcase the global influence of our agricultural industry sector.
UNPARALLELED EDUCATION ASSETS
Gainesville’s industries are nestled neatly in the community with much prosperity presently and even more in the future due to multiple education assets that regularly encourage industry growth. For example Santa Fe College has “more than 500 employer representatives on 100 different advisory committees providing input into curriculum, equipment, and internship opportunities for students.” The Gainesville Dev Academy, a local startup focused on turning trained coders into world-class developers, works with minimal red tape and has successfully established itself as a source of high-quality, work-ready tech talent. The University of Florida is widely recognized as a top-tier school that graduates a large and extremely competitive workforce. Both Santa Fe College and the University of Florida partner strategically with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, CareerSource North Central Florida, and companies across multiple industries to supporting career opportunities for students, and economic growth for the region. These strategic partnerships establish a tight bond between academia and industry that bolsters the Gainesville workforce. The capitalization of Gainesville’s highly educated workforce and connection to local research and talent growth is best exhibited at our advanced manufacturing facilities such as RTI Surgical, Nanotheraputics, Exactech, Invivo, Fabco-Air, and more. These facilities continue to expand in our city as Gainesville provides plenty of talent and opportunity through continual growth and strategic partnerships with education organizations.
AMERICAS COMPETITIVENESS EXCHANGE