One entrepreneur is marketing dress shirts from his parents’ garage. Another sells organic drinks at Wal-Mart. A third startup operator is pursuing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and pancreatic cancer.
With big dreams and an enviable work ethic, Palm Beach County’s budding entrepreneurs are a diverse group — even if they’re aware that they’re launching in a region that’s not in the fast lane for startups.
The county’s economy could use a jolt of job growth from startups. By some measures, the region is thriving. Palm Beach County is home to the highest-paid workers in Florida and two Fortune 500 headquarters. But average wage is below the national average, and job growth here lags the pace being set elsewhere in Florida.
Proponents of startups acknowledge that Palm Beach County’s business climate is missing some of the building blocks for entrepreneurship. With a dearth of software engineers, few investors backing startups and no elite university, the region lacks the buzz of innovation hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, said Nick Mohnacky, co-founder of Startup Palm Beach.
“The good news is that more and more of these companies are coming out of the woodwork,” said Mohnacky, who owns Mohnacky Marketing in West Palm Beach. “Once you get some critical mass, all of a sudden this becomes a place of interest for investors.”