The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development public-private partnership, aims to increase private sector funding by 15% to continue to work toward better opportunities that impact the economy. With added funding, it’s also looking at opening offices abroad.
“Economic development doesn’t just happen on public sector support,” said Juan Carlos Liscano, vice president of the Miami hub for American Airlines and incoming 2023-2024 chair of the Beacon Council, told the organization’s annual meeting last week. “We’re going to go to the private sector, make sure that that funding happens, so that we can actually elevate what Beacon Council is doing and demonstrate to the rest of the world the incredible world-class city that we have.”
The council will also work toward impacting housing affordability as it drives conversations with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI).
“Right now we’re having a conversation with some CDFI’s, about their investments, not only in businesses and small businesses locally, but also about their investments in housing,” said Rodrick Miller, council president and CEO. “I think what we really see ourselves is an advocate for affordable housing, bringing forward research to support best practices in that space, and being a connective tissue between private businesses and the government around where we go from here.”
The council is also focusing on the sustainability landscape in Miami to lessen companies’ carbon footprint.
“The sustainability work is helping companies transition to a net-zero carbon neutral economy,” said Mr. Miller. “We’re trying to collate some of the best practices around how do companies actually have less of a carbon footprint and work with our local companies to actually help them implement those practices so that there’s less of a carbon footprint.”
The council is looking into creating a national lab or climate campus in order to see how the sustainability landscape can be changed in Miami.
“We’re of course part of the climate tech hub, which is really exciting with Miami-Dade County and a bunch of other partners, but we’re looking at things like what would it look like to actually bring a national lab or a climate campus, some sort of collaboration between our universities that’s focused specifically on the question of sustainability and resilience, and what it means to our market commercializing technologies in that space,” Mr. Miller said.
“We know that if we have some of that strategic work around increasing our ability to perform and resilient space [it] will bring more companies. As a result of that, we’ll get more solutions, … it’ll make our market more durable and more competitive.”
The council currently meets with about 200 companies a year in Miami-Dade County, said Mr. Miller. It will ideally increase the number to 350 over the course of this year, he said, and over the course of the next three to five years the council aims to meet with 500 or more companies per year in Miami-Dade County.
When meeting with these companies, Mr. Miller said, the council is determining factors that impact them and their growth projections. The council then analyzes how it can help resolve the companies’ problems and ultimately help them grow.
“If we [the council] meet with a bunch of companies and all of them in Sector X have a certain problem,” Mr. Miller said, “we can either create a program to address that hurdle, or we might be able to actually address it through public policy.”
“For example,” said Mr. Miller, “one of the things that we’ve heard a lot of companies talk about is impediments to permitting, and right now we’re getting ready to launch a real estate focus working group that’s going to be focused specifically on the permitting processes across Miami-Dade County.”
This committee will be launched early in the new year, Mr. Miller said.
“Right now we’re launching a committee that will be launched early in the new year that’s focused on real estate … that’s going to specifically be looking at the permitting question of how we can actually be more effective and efficient in how we how we do permitting in Miami-Dade County and across the municipalities and providing support to them so that they can actually get better at it,” Mr. Miller said.
The Beacon Council is also planning on having representation of the council outside of the US as it focus on foreign direct investments.
“Leaning in on foreign direct investment means that we’re going to actually, in the next year to two years, have representation of the Beacon Council of Miami, outside of the United States,” said Mr. Miller. “We’re going to be looking at opening up some international offices. I’ve got to fundraise to make that a reality. But I’m 100% convinced that that’s the right thing to do, based on the profile of companies that find us attractive.”
Currently the council does not have the budget to set up international offices this upcoming year, said Mr. Miller. However, the council will be working toward cultivating relationships.
“Our goal would be, this year we do more of the relationship cultivation through meetings and spending time, leveraging our Consular Corps and all those kinds of things,” said Mr. Miller. “And then in a year, we’d hoped to raise enough money to be able to actually open up these markets abroad.”