Miami’s people are Miami’s greatest resource

Francis X. Suarez, City of Miami Mayor

Many have commented about my tweeting over the past two weeks. And I understand why: a well-known tech figure suggested that Silicon Valley companies just pick-up and move to Miami. I saw the post and replied with four words: how can I help? At first glance, it’s common sense: every mayor and every elected official should champion the creation of high-paying jobs and investment for their constituents. Mayors especially hold a pivotal position in attracting talent, investment, and prosperity to their cities. Miami offers a great location, infrastructure, a welcoming tax environment, and a competitive cost structure for businesses. But lost in the hype of the moment or the heat of the deal is a far more important and overlooked truth: People are Miami’s greatest resource.

Miami is a young, diverse, multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual, and multitalented city. Our workforce, our students, our families are our greatest strength and competitive edge. People—by talent, background, and ambition—are the most critical factor in determining success or failure for any modern economy. People create businesses. People invest in and support others to persevere. People drive the “creative economy” that adapts and overcomes political, economic, and social crises. In the case of Miami, we are a city of immigrants—external and internal to the United States—that have built institutions, industries, and a culture of entrepreneurship. We did it in the 1920’s, the 1940’s, the 1960’s, and the 1980’s. We’ve done it in every decade that I have been alive. And we can do it now.

Broadening the Miami economy and building a vibrant technology economy in Miami is not the work of one day or of one person. It takes everyone working together over time. It will take our educational leaders to step up and to build a tech pipeline from elementary to college that trains engineers, programmers, coders, and creators. It will take our investment community to make more than a bet, but a sustained investment in the next generation of diverse and dynamic entrepreneurs. It will take our elected officials to ensure that our economy is open, accessible, free, and fair for anyone with the ideas and drive to succeed. Finally, it will take all of us—friends, families, and communities—to encourage the ambitions and dreams of Miami’s next generation just as we nurtured many of the dreams of decades past.

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