New Endeavor Miami report unpacks entrepreneurial migration data and sheds light on South Florida impact, challenges

By Nancy Dahlberg

Endeavor Miami and Endeavor’s analytics team partnered up to reveal what the data can tell us about the unprecedented entrepreneurial migration our region has experienced in the last couple of years. Attractors go well beyond low taxes and quality of life factors – though that helps.

“Local and global media have highlighted the phenomenon of this entrepreneurial migration, yet its underlying reasons and its impact on the region have not been adequately investigated. For this reason, we thought it would be important to conduct this research and share the data and findings with the community at large,” said Claudia Duran, Endeaor Miami’s Managing Director, in the report. Endeavor Miami is a non-profit organization that selects, mentors and supports high-impact entrepreneurs.

To gain a better understanding of The Great Migration to our region, Endeavor identified over 300 firms, surveyed 50 migrant entrepreneurs, and conducted over 30 interviews with entrepreneurs and stakeholders in South Florida. The result is a 65-page report, Entrepreneurial Migration to South Florida, released this week. It is Endeavor’s deep dive into the who, the what and the why entrepreneurs are migrating in huge numbers from other parts of the country and the world, particularly during the pandemic and since then. The report also includes comparisons with other tech hubs and recommendations for the region to help sustain and continue to benefit from the trend.

Endeavor identified and researched four main pathways for entrepreneurial migration and grouped them four ways:

  • Domestic entrepreneurs with a US based company who moved to South Florida;
  • CEOs that migrated, while operating his/ her company remotely;
  • Foreign founders who moved to South Florida from outside of the U.S. to start a new business;
  • Individuals based abroad who moved to expand their company’s operations in the U.S.

Who’s arriving: According to the report, the most common type of migrant to Miami is domestic, representing 34% of the mapped companies. This is followed by international expanders at 24%, foreign founders at 22%, and CEO migrants at 20%.

Profile: Among all these new arrivals, 88% of migrant entrepreneurs are male. They have over 15 years of experience and a tendency toward a non-STEM educational background. Their average age is 34, which is higher than the average age in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem, indicating more experience, the report found.

Where they came from: 61% of the migrants were from other areas of the United States. As for the rest, it’s pretty dispersed. Countries with the largest percentages were Brazil, Chile and Argentina, each with 5% of the pie. Mexico and Spain each attracted 4%.

Motivations to make the move: Through the surveys, the report found that beyond low taxes and quality of life, there are several advantages that motivate migrant entrepreneurs to start businesses in South Florida. Commonly cited advantages:

  • The location provides access to new markets and customers, and a tech community has formed that allows for connections between entrepreneurs.
  • The regulatory environment in Miami is favorable for businesses, with a government that supports low taxes.
  • South Florida is becoming a financial center, attracting capital.

Challenges: For CEO migrants and international expanders, the biggest challenge was the cost of living, with 38% and 55% respectively stating it as a major obstacle. Among domestic migrants, 36% of domestic migrants viewed access to tech talent as a major challenge, while foreign founders identified access to angel investors and early-stage venture capital as their primary challenges, with 50% and 60% respectively stating it as a major obstacle.

Endeavor Miami made some recommendations, based on the findings. In brief, those are:

  • Increase connectivity among players in the South Florida ecosystem by organizing more events, meetups, and mentorship programs so that individuals will have more opportunities to interact with one another and develop meaningful relationships. Already, over a third of the migrant entrepreneurs in the report said they had invested in a local startup or mentored a local founder.
  • Improve STEM education in schools and universities. Combined with a more streamlined process for bringing in international talent, South Florida will be able to attract more highly skilled individuals who can contribute to the growth of the ecosystem.
  • Ensure representation among South Florida migrants by supporting founders and talent from underrepresented backgrounds with resources, mentorship, and funding,

This is just a small taste of the findings. The new report includes analysis and commentary from interviews with #MiamiTech entrepreneurs and is also packed with data like this:

Get the report: Download the full report and some interactive tools you can play with to slice and dice the data here.

Endeavor Miami was established in 2013 as the first U.S. affiliate of the global Endeavor organization. In 2022, Miami’s Endeavor Entrepreneurs generated over $800 millionin revenues and employed over 5,000 individuals. Endeavor Miami supports 25 companies and 41 entrepreneurs, such as Momentus Surgical, NovoPayment and Tissini, and some 140 more who have participated in Endeavor Miami’s accelerator programs, such as EndeavorLAB.  “We could not be more excited to continue supporting founders in building their companies, and create a thriving community that continues to grow and attract successful entrepreneurs from around the world,” Duran said.

Expect more research on the South Florida ecosystem, as this is one of the priorities of Endeavor Miami, Duran said. For instance, they also plan deep dives into active sectors in Miami’s ecosystem. Stay tuned.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]


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Nancy Dahlberg