FLORIDA WEEKLY: Small Business Vital

small business vital

With just eight employees and products dependent on technology, Atilus represents the present and future of the Southwest Florida business landscape. Launched 10 years ago by Florida Gulf Coast University students Zach Katkin and Harry Casimir, the Bonita Springs web design and marketing firm is among the majority of companies in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. It’s a small business.

More than 90 percent of all local businesses employ fewer than 20 people providing everything from marketing, advertising and consulting services to air conditioning, automobile repair and even health care. Of the region’s 31,369 businesses, more than 28,000 are small operations, according to Brent Kettler, research and data consultant, who analyzed the business climate for the FutureMakers Coalition.

“The number of small businesses is staggering,” he said. “It really surprised me the 90 percent was consistent from county to county. Our region is comprised primarily of services-based industries but also contains a starkly diverse landscape. Despite the differing industry profiles in each county, the smaller business presence remains consistent. Another commonality is an increasing reliance on both technology and specialized or hard skills in most communities.”

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