Antonio Fins: Why Are There So Many Start-ups These Days?

Don’t miss tomorrow’s Monday Meeting feature with Ken Hutchinson, of MyTaskIt, a start-up in West Palm Beach.

Hutchinson isn’t new to the start-up industry. Business reporter Jeff Ostrowski writes that his last firm was “a hit and now Hutchinson’s backers are betting on another success.”

A lot of other business people in Palm Beach County, however, are new to life in a start-up.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported last year that Florida has seen the largest jump of any state in the number of nonemployer businesses, people working for themselves, with 1.8 million.

Some start-up aspirants made the jump because they needed a career change. Others saw an entrepreneurial opportunity and chose to go for it. For those who were casualties of the “Great Downsizing,” the decision was made for them.

For Laura Ure, it was the first reason — she was unsatisfied with where she was in her profession. In September of 2014 she started her own marketing and advertising firm, Keenability, in Boca Raton with two freelancers.

She’s happy to say, 18 months later, the firm has been more successful than she could have imagined. She now has nine employees, and is looking to add five more by the end of this year to keep pace with demand. She’s looking to move to a bigger office, too.

Even so, Ure said she’s leery of becoming complacent.

“I don’t think I ever want to say we’ve made it,” she said. “We have to keep growing always. I always want to have a start-up mentality.”

The start-up trend has helped spur businesses suited to start-ups.

Just last month, Monday Meeting featured Palm Beach Gardens resident Dana Middleton. She and her husband, David, are the franchise owners of Intelligent Office, a company specializing in “virtual office” services such as phone, mail and other support.

Intelligent Office has more than 180 clients in the area, including lawyers, financial advisers, contractors — and entrepreneurs.

One reason Florida is a start-up incubator is that it is small-business friendly. Pacific Research Institute Senior Fellow Wayne Winegarden said Florida ranks ninth in its small business regulation index. That’s good, but Winegarden said the state could do better in easing requirements for occupational licenses and tort reform to make it easier for future start-ups.

“The goal should be fewer barriers, not more barriers for small business,” he said.

Politicians take note. Start-up entrepreneurs are a potential voter base.

Palm Beach Post
Antonio Fins