Face Off: How local chambers of commerce are responding to the region’s population growth

Face Off: How local chambers of commerce are responding to the region’s population growth

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Both the number of visitors to Orlando and its population are on the rise. The Invest: team spoke with Betsy Gardner Eckbert, president and CEO of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, and Andrew Cole, president and CEO of the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce, about their latest efforts to respond to the local growth and the challenges their chambers face.

Andrew Cole

How is the community responding to the region’s visitor growth?

Betsy Gardner Eckbert: The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce started several efforts to target and reach international guests. The second-biggest group of visitors that we receive in Winter Park is international. Half of the international visitors we received two years ago were coming from the United Kingdom. To respond to that demand we put together our Tourism Task Force, which created a business plan through destination marketing efforts, and as a result we had a 560 percent increase in traffic to our website from people from the U.K. We increased by 86 percent the traffic of people from the U.K. through the door of our Welcome Center. We will continue to expand our reach to international guests from different countries as well, including Canada and Brazil. 

Andrew Cole: We’re anticipating having almost 2 million people in Orange County by 2030. I think that speaks volumes, and we’re preparing for that population growth. Our transportation infrastructure is being enhanced, Virgin Trains is making its way into Orlando, the Orlando International Airport is building a new terminal, and our local governments are looking at additional transportation solutions and housing affordability issues. Businesses are expanding, creating new jobs, such as Universal Studio’s new Epic Universe theme park, Disney’s continued growth of their parks, and the Creative Village in Downtown Orlando is an innovation district for high-tech, digital media and creative companies providing new opportunities. Tourists and visitor numbers continue to increase providing plenty of opportunities for businesses to thrive. It’s exciting to know that businesses that are here and those relocating here have opportunities to grow and expand their footprint in Orlando.

Betsy Gardner Eckbert

What are some challenges for your chamber?

Eckbert: One of the challenges for our members is attracting and retaining the appropriate talent. To support them, we launched a pilot program to identify talented professionals — mostly women with impressive degrees who have stayed home to raise a family. Our program helps them get back into the workplace. Through this pilot return-to-work program we placed 83 percent of the participating women within six months in local and global companies. We are very excited to have the ability to furnish our members with a talent base of people who are reliable and have the skills and talents they are looking for. 

Cole: One of our biggest challenges is making sure that we have smart growth in that we’re looking at all aspects of the impact any new development will have on the area. We also have the battle between people who want to stay rural and those who want to see development. As long as we can plan smart growth, continue to address our challenges and remain forward thinking, I know Orlando will continue to be the place to be.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Winter Park Chamber of Commerce: https://winterpark.org/ 

East Orlando Chamber of Commerce: https://www.eocc.org/

Miami’s Top 5 Fantastic Food Festivities

Miami’s Top 5 Fantastic Food Festivities

By: Max Crampton Thomas

4 min read February 2020 This weekend on Miami Beach there are guaranteed to be three things – food, wine and good times. While this is the recipe for most memorable times had in one of Miami’s top tourist destinations, this weekend in particular is heightened by the annual The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival. In most markets, a festival like this would be an outlier as the premier food and beverage event for that year, but Miami is not most markets. The fact is, Miami-Dade is home to an onslaught of premier food and beverage festivities that would make any culinary connoisseur’s mouth water. Invest: explores five of the top foodie festivities in the Miami-Dade region. 

South Beach Seafood Festival  

To be considered a Top 5 Speciality Festival by USAToday, listed by Forbes as a Top 5 thing to do in fall and recognized by Travel Channel as the best seafood festival in the United States is no small accomplishment. This four-day festival features three nights of culinary events that lead up to the ultimate seafood festival experience. These preliminary events include an exclusive VIP experience, An Evening at Joe’s, brought to life by food from the historic Joe’s Stone Crab, a cocktail hour-type event called Crabs, Slabs and Cabs featuring Surf N Turf favorites paired with various cabernets, and finally the VIP Chef Showdown, which showcases 14 of the best local chefs cooking up their greatest culinary creations. All of these lead into the big event on the fourth day that spans over four blocks of Miami Beach, features 30 bars, music, culinary demonstrations and enough delicious seafood to please the over 15,000 attendees. This event takes place from Oct. 21-24, 2020. 

For more, visit: https://sobeseafoodfest.com/



Seed Food & Wine Week 

Plant-based diets may not be for everyone, but this four-day event features culinary dishes and experiences that could make even the most devout carnivores consider incorporating more meat-alternatives into their meal plan. Spanning the course of four days, this event touts itself as more of an experience than just a festival as it features a plant-based burger battle, a plant-based pitch off, taco tailgate party, rise and shine yoga experience and meditation, and finally the big event: Seed Festival Day Tasting Village. This vegan-inspired week is also unique in that its events are not centralized and take place in various spots around Miami-Dade, including Wynwood and Downtown Miami. The event runs from Nov. 7-10. 

To learn more, visit: https://www.seedfoodandwine.com/

Doral Food & Wine Festival 

This food and wine festival is going on its fourth year, and while the event has grown significantly since its inception in 2016, this year promises to be bigger, better and even tastier. Over the course of two days, families are encouraged to come out to Doral Central Park and experience live entertainment and live cooking demonstrations. While wine may be in the title, the event is geared toward the entire family, with free entry for kids and an entire area, referred to as the Kids Zone, dedicated to fun activities and games for the little ones. Taking place over March 21 and 22, this year’s event looks to attract over 10,000 people. 

For more, visit: https://doralfoodandwinefestival.com/

South Florida’s Taste of the Nation

This culinary adventure is a one-night experience that is not only delicious and fun, it also supports a great cause. Described as an elegant evening with some of South Florida’s greatest chefs and mixologists, Taste of the Nation offers guests a chance to try food and drinks from over 50 different South-Florida based restaurants and bars. While normally the best parts of these events are the food and drink, it is actually the impact of dollars collected from the night that is most significant as 100% of local proceeds support the No Kid Hungry campaign’s work to bring an end to childhood hunger in Florida. The event takes place the night of May 16, 2020. 

For more information, visit: https://events.nokidhungry.org/events/south-floridas-taste-nation/

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) 

SOBEWFF is a five-day gathering of “who’s who” in the culinary world, over 100 different festival events and over 65,000 people in total attendance. This world-renowned festival has an event for everyone, from the casual food and wine fan to the highest class of food critic. While many of these events could be considered the “big event,” perhaps most well-known is the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village showcasing offerings from more than 50 restaurants and a variety of wines and spirits as well as a closing cooking demonstration by well-known celebrity chef Guy Fieri. The festival is in full swing Feb.19-23. 

To learn more, visit: https://sobewff.org/

Palm Beach Returning to its Gaming Roots

Palm Beach Returning to its Gaming Roots

By: Sara Warden

2 min read February 2020 — IBM developed the first PC in Boca Raton and now the city is making a new effort to bring back the gamers. In 2021, Misfits Gaming Group will consolidate its North American presence with a new, $1.35-million, 18,000-square-foot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.


The Misfits organization owns teams that compete in League of Legends, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Super Smash Bros. Founded in 2016, Forbes estimates the company’s value at $120 million and global esports revenues are estimated at $1.1 billion in 2019.

The Misfits Gaming Group will set up two Florida-based franchised esports teams, the Florida Mayhem and Florida Mutineers, through which it will run several large-scale esports events throughout the year, in addition to college tournaments and community events. These events can rake in millions, with eye-watering prize money. The winners of the Dota 2 esports tournament walked away with over $3 million each, as did the 2019 winners of the Fortnite World Cup. In comparison, the 2019 winners of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, took home $2.9 million each.

One of the reasons Misfits chose Boca Raton for its new HQ is the business-friendly environment Florida provides – not to mention the generous tax breaks provided by the authorities. Local and state authorities will provide over $200,000 in grants and tax refunds in exchange for creating 30 new jobs with average salaries of $95,000.

“[Misfits] falls within a targeted industry sector for not only our county efforts, but state efforts as well,” said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board in an interview with Esport Observer. “Also, the fact that the jobs are high paid, much higher than the average of the county, which is $53,000.”

Florida is a surprisingly logical state in which to expand an esports empire. According to Enterprise Florida, the state has the nation’s third-largest tech industry and is a leader in high-tech employment, ranking No. 1 in the Southeast. Florida’s universities are one of the region’s largest producers of STEM graduates – in fact it is one of the largest generators of graduates entirely. And West Palm Beach has one of the highest concentrations of IT employees in the state.

The state is also a pioneer in connectivity, essential for any industry built around fast internet connections. The state has 61,000 total fiber miles, the third-most extensive statewide network in the United States. It also has 275 data center locations, the fourth-highest density among all U.S. states. 

Misfits certainly sees this potential in Florida, and in November launched a $10 million esports and gaming incubator and seed fund. “As the first esports and gaming-focused startup incubator and seed fund offering the resources of our caliber in North America, our goal is to create infrastructure for supporting and developing emerging business talent,” said Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming Group in a press release. “We want to help invest in the kind of ideas that will move our industry forward.”

To learn more, visit:





Broward County’s Economic Growth, Sustainability and Key Sectors to Highlight Launch of Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale 2020

    January 21, 2020

Dale V.C. Holness, Mayor of Broward County, will give the keynote address at the launch of Capital Analytics’ third publication focusing on Greater Fort Lauderdale. 

Broward County, FL – Broward County’s booming real estate market, powerhouse tourism sector and burgeoning startup ecosystem are just some of the focal points of the third edition of Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale from Capital Analytics. The 2020 edition highlights the region of Greater Fort Lauderdale, including Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Dania Beach and Hollywood, with a special focus chapter on the City of Tamarac. 

Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale is an in-depth economic analysis that highlights business opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators in the Broward County area. These include Broward County’s commercial real estate market that remains one of the hottest in Florida, as well as the region’s residential real estate market that is attracting a variety of demographics, from millennials to retirees. Marine & Logistics are also covered in detail as the county remains the dominant force in this sector with the trade powerhouse that is Port Everglades and the city of Fort Lauderdale retaining its title as the yachting capital of the world. The publication also dives into the construction and infrastructure sectors as the economic growth for both remains strong while mitigating the effects of rising sea levels is now a top priority. 

The official launch of the publication will take place on Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Riverside Hotel. Following a short networking breakfast, Dale V.C. Holness, Mayor of Broward County, will give a keynote address that underscores some of the major achievements of Broward County’s economy over the past 12 months. This will be followed by two robust panel discussions.

The panels will address major themes currently dominating Broward County’s economy: construction and real estate development, and corporate and personal financial sustainability. Alan Hooper of Urban Street Development, James Fox of Maddox Group, Brad Meltzer of Plaza Construction and Gerald Stryker of John Knox Village will participate in the panel, “Sustainable Growth in Broward’s Construction & Real Estate Development.” Philip Rosen of Becker will moderate. The second panel, “Corporate and Personal Financial Sustainability for 2020,” will feature Tony Coley of Truist, Jeffery Klink of Valley National Bank and Michael Balter of Marcum LLP. The moderator will be Jack Miller of Capital Analytics. 

The event will be attended by hundreds of high-level guests and officials from Broward County’s key industries and economic institutions. 

“The Broward County market has not only shown unprecedented growth over the last decade but it also presents an opportunity for national and international investors alike,” said Abby Melone, president of Capital Analytics. “Broward County has been one of the strongest and most interesting market choices for our company due to this economic growth. We will be releasing our next South Florida title, Invest: Miami and Invest: Palm Beach  in Q3 of 2020.”  


About Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale

Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Greater Fort Lauderdale’s economy, featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on Broward County to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Broward County as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education, and arts, culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market, and uncovers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.


For more information, contact: 

Max Crampton-Thomas

Content Manager 

305-523-9708 Ext: 233



South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

By: Sara Warden

2 min read December 2019 — South Floridians may not expect a white Christmas, but there are still a plethora of entertainment options to get the kids into the holiday spirit. From Enchanted Forests to visits from Santa, there is plenty for all ages going on across the Miami, Palm Beach and Greater Fort Lauderdale areas. Capital Analytics counts down the top events in the run up to the big day!



 1. Christmas with the Chimps at Lion Country Safari

If you’re an animal lover, this is the place to be on Thursday, Dec. 19. For one day only, starting at 10.30am, guests at the Lion Country Safari park in Palm Beach will be able to leave their cars and watch as the chimps open Santa’s gifts. Entry is $39 for adults and $30 for children, and under twos go free!

Find out more here

2. Winterland at Pinto’s Farm

Located at 14890 SW 216 St, this farm park promises a huge range of activities, including holiday treats, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, hay rides and paddle boats. Why not venture into the enchanting illuminated forest and meet Santa Claus, Nix the Snowman and Sprinkle the Gingerbread cookie.

Find out more here.

3. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Brought to you from the songwriting team behind Tony-award-winning Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land, this show promises to be a festive treat for the ears. The show is based on the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, following protagonist Ralphie’s pursuit of his dream Christmas gift. Showings continue throughout the festive season and tickets are priced at $49-65, with discounts available for teachers and students.

Find out more here.

4. Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park

With over 100 rides, shows and attractions, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is sure to spread the Christmas cheer. Running from the end of October until Jan. 5, the fun takes place at 7900 SW 40th Street and promises 3 million lights and a 92-inch Christmas tree, all within an amusement park. Tickets start at $28.60 for children and seniors.

Find out more here.

5. Brightline for The Polar Express train rides

Across selected dates from mid-November until Dec. 29, families can take the one-hour Polar Express train on the brand new Brightline route. Singing, dancing, cookies and hot chocolate are guaranteed to keep both the kids and adults happy before Santa climbs on board to hand out some Christmas gifts to the girls and boys on the nice list. Prices start from $55 for an adult and $50 for a child.

Find out more here


Art Basel: Miami Art Week Brings the City to a Standstill

Art Basel: Miami Art Week Brings the City to a Standstill

By: Sara Warden

2 min read December 2019 — Art Basel is in to town. When Swiss art dealers Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner and Balz Hilt began the show in Basel, Switzerland, in 1970, it was a cult hit. As the art fair gained momentum over the years it added two additional venues – Hong Kong and Miami Beach. Now, Art Basel Miami Beach brings the city to a standstill.



Started in 2002, the Miami Beach show itself draws in 70,000 visitors per year, 4,000 artists and over 250 of the world’s leading galleries participate. For those galleries accepted to exhibit in the main Art Basel space at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the cost starts at $100,000. Miami Beach also attracts over 20 satellite fairs, and there is so much art buzz around town during the dates that the week is now known as Miami Art Week. Tickets are available at $65 a pop, but for many, that’s a steal to access so many world-class artists all in one place.

Art Basel has played a significant role in democratizing access to these works of art and providing exposure for up-and-coming artists. In the 1980s, for example, the global art world was but a tiny network. “We knew every collector in the world then. Ninety percent of them were in New York or Germany,” collector Don Rubell told The New York Times. But now, times have changed. “Miami is not just bikinis and muscles anymore.”

UBS and Art Basel research shows that the global art market hit $63.7 billion in sales in 2017, with the United States the largest market, accounting for 42 percent. Art Basel Miami is responsible for about 10 percent of domestic sales, Alexander Forbes, executive editor of the art news website Artsy, told Marketplace. “$2 billion to $3 billion worth of art is usually on view,” he said.

Rubell and his wife Mera were instrumental in convincing Art Basel to set up shop in Miami in the early 2000s and the family collection now occupies a whopping 100,000-square-foot campus in Allapattah, which they purchased for $4 million. At the same time the Rubells purchased the plot, they bought a neighboring piece of land for $8.6 million.

According to Esther Park, a regular on the Miami art scene, Miami has just the right features to make it a haven for an event like Art Basel. “Miami was always going to blow up eventually,” she told Miami New Times. “It’s just that Basel propelled it.”

Samuel Keller, Art Basel’s director, acknowledged in an interview with The New York Times that Miami was a risky choice, but that it had all the ingredients for success. “Here there is a huge potential, economically but also culturally,” he said, calling the city “the gateway to Latin America, a melting pot of minorities from European to Jewish to gay.”

The four-day extravaganza attracts the most prestigious art buyers from all over the world, who enjoy splashing out. The trade fair has partnered with several major hotels in the area to offer preferential rates for attendees, but to stay in The W South Beach, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach or Nautilus by Arlo, prices still start at $422 per night and go right up to $1,650.

To learn more, visit:







ConectaLATAM – Digital Transformation & Innovation

ConectaLATAM – Digital Transformation & Innovation

Capital Analytics is proud to sponsor with ConectaLATAM

Date: December 4-5
Location: Mayfair Hotel & Spa Miami, FL
CONECTA Latam | December 4 - 5 - Miami
Caribbean, Central and South America Summit
Speakers confirmed
How to reinvent a growth model for the Telco Industry?
  Digital Transformation
• Network Transformation
• B2B opportunities
• AI
• Data and IoT drive
• Preparing for 5G
• The role of NFV and SDN

  • Big Data and Analytics
• Future of Carriers and anticipating Scenarios
• How is Society Seeking Digital Services
• Blockchain
• BSS / OSS Implementation

Networking coffee break, lunch and cocktail dinner!
Para más informaciones acerca de agenda: renata.covos@conecta-latam.com Para más informaciones acerca de opciones de patrocinio y branding: raquel.freitas@conecta-latam.com
Sponsors and Partners