Technology’s role in Florida’s Small Business Success
As we celebrate Small Business Appreciation week, it’s important to recognize the small business owner and entrepreneurs who have been powering local economies and employing millions of people nationwide. Florida is the third most populous state in the United States, boosting the fourth largest state economy in the country, at $1.1 trillion. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration small businesses are an essential part of Florida’s economic landscape, making up 99.8% of all Florida businesses and employing 3.6 million employees. In fact, Hispanic-owned businesses account for 30.9 percent of the state’s small businesses.
Technology and innovation play a vital role in the success of Florida’s small businesses and economic growth, especially during the global pandemic, giving co-workers the ability to stay connected and businesses the opportunity to operate online and reach new customers.
Hispanic small business owners were among the hardest hit by the pandemic. In March of 2020, while many small business owners’ physical doors were closing, technology was a lifeline that kept them connected. Business owners were forced to find new ways to connect with vendors, clients and colleagues. Thus began the growth of the remote workforce. Floridians learned how to connect with team members on message boards, use project management solutions and brainstorm using smart boards.
Technology and innovation go far beyond Silicon Valley, and as a regional hub for innovation, Florida has a vibrant start-up economy which has established 2.5 million small businesses for the state. For many small businesses, technology has opened up a new market online, allowing small businesses to connect with their customers via e-mail, through blogs, social networks and forums. Without the ability to leverage these digital marketing tools, the economic toll on our businesses could have been devastating.
Earlier this year, an online retail tech website reported cybercriminals have targeted the retail sector with a 264 percent surge in ransomware attacks on e-commerce and online retail businesses in the past 12 months. While these digital trends emphasize the fact that America’s tech and e-commerce sectors are a significant asset to keeping small businesses open and growing, they also heighten the threat to cyber security for both sellers and consumers. It’s imperative that our elected leaders work to pass legislation focused on supporting the recovery of Florida’s economy and reject any proposal that would hamstring innovation and put small businesses at risk for cyberattacks.
Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce