Forget what you might think about Palm Beach: that it’s a winter-only destination for Northern snowbirds. While you’re at it, forget what you think about the technology and finance industries—that their only epicenters are in New York City or San Francisco. According to the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, both of those notions are going to become increasingly less accurate in the years to come. Right now, Palm Beach County is seeing an influx of businesses (from independent companies to large corporations like United Technologies) in the medicine, technology, and financial fields choosing to relocate from the increasingly expensive Northeast.
“The future of Palm Beach County is only going to get younger,” confirms BDB President and CEO Kelly Smallridge. “Twenty years ago, the perception was that this was the place to visit your grandparents. Now, more technology-based companies like aviation aerospace or communication technology fields are making the trek to Florida. There is a strong entrepreneurial wave coming into this county.” That wave has brought a younger population (the average resident went from age 65 to age 42) and a tremendous amount of wealth. Smallridge notes that there are currently 71,000 millionaire households and 28 billionaires in the county.Certainly, Palm Beach County is a boom town. “We’ve had a significant increase in our population, which leads to more home building, office building, new professional services, more schools…” Smallridge explains, adding, “When you have areas with 14,000 new rooftops, it ripples.” To put it plainly, it’s a good time to relocate. Not to mention Florida’s lack of personal income tax and year-round quality of life.
BDB steps in to help businesses relocating to the area find what they need to set up shop, from securing office space to getting settled at home. “Look at us as a free concierge service for their business and for the management team of the company coming in,” she says. “We’re the one-stop resource for connecting them with reputable brokers for their business and home, getting their children into the right school, expediting permitting for the buildout of their office space.” Smallridge adds that BDB has a Rolodex of accountants, attorneys, real estate brokers, superintendents, school masters, contractors and beyond at the ready to meet with incoming leaders.
How is BDB able to offer such a depth of services free of charge? “Because there are so many of these CEOs, it’s well worth our time to court them,” she answers. “We have a whole community of business leaders who have wrapped their arms around the initiative.”