Miami: A business guide

By Adriana Lopez for Business Life magazine

Photography by Getty

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July 2016

Glamorous Miami has long been a major holiday destination - and now it's gaining a reputation as a hotbed for entrepreneurs.

The lowdown

Miami has had its fair share of reputations. Once known as a sleepy southern town for retirees, it has developed into a major tourist destination for those flocking to the closest thing the United States has to a Riviera. And now Miami is carving itself a niche as a startup hub.

The raft of new companies setting up in the 'Magic City' is as diverse as the residents itself. Sectors range through life sciences, fashion, consumer products and communications, but it's safe to say that nearly all these companies have some sort of tech component. Even the call-centre industry has faced disruption in Miami with locally based success story LiveAnswer.

Miami might exude flash but, unless you're in finance, the business culture is very casual

Wynwood art district has become both the cultural breeding ground of Miami and an up and coming neighbourhood for the tech scene. Brickell is traditionally the city's major financial centre, but co-working spaces such as Pipeline have also drawn in entrepreneurs who want to be close to the big city players.

Meanwhile, life science technology is largely concentrated in Coral Gables at the University of Miami's Life Science and Technology Park, an innovation centre with state-of-the-art facilities.

Discover our cheapest Club fares to Miami

Meanwhile, life science technology is largely concentrated in Coral Gables at the University of Miami's Life Science and Technology Park, an innovation centre with state-of-the-art facilities.
  • Stop by Panther Coffee for your morning caffeine fix.

    A cup of proper coffee

    Panther Coffee sources, roasts and prepares all its coffee to ensure each cup is just right for every customer.

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  • Try world-famous Japanese cuisine at Zuma Miami © James Shearer.

    Down by the river

    Dine right next to the Miami River on Zuma’s spectacular outdoor terrace.

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  • Food with a view at Juvia Miami © Juvia Miami.

    Food Fusion

    Juvia Miami creatively combines French, Peruvian and Japanese cuisine to satisfy all taste buds.

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Business etiquette

Miami might exude flash but, unless you're in finance, the business culture is very casual. Dining doesn't begin until about 9pm, so don't be surprised if your business dinner goes on into the night. Power lunches and business dinners might be held at one of the many lavish hotspots in Miami, but breakfast meetings are often scheduled around the tech scene's Waffle Wednesday or in cafés. While handshakes are customary, the Latin custom of greeting someone with a hug or kiss on the cheek can be contagious.

Food and shopping

Miami dining is all about fusion and pushing the envelope. Chefs combine Asian, Latin, French and US flavours to create unique dishes representative of this diverse town. But not all meals have to be dazzling. Scrum meetings often happen over pastillitos and coladas - Cuban pies and espresso drinks.

Best business breakfast: Panther Coffee

A techy favourite for morning meetings in the Wynwood art district. (2390 NW 2nd Avenue;

Best power lunch: Zuma

Inspired by Japanese izakaya, the lunch menu is perfect for the time conscious. (270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Epic Hotel;

Best slap-up dinner: Juvia

The heavy price tag is worth it for the view of Miami Beach alone, though the food happens to be delicious, too. (1111 Lincoln Road;


For luxury brands, Bal Harbour and the Design District are both homes to the most popular names in fashion. Mary Brickell Village is conveniently in the heart of Downtown, while Lincoln Road in South Beach is a pedestrian street dedicated to retail stores as well as some of the best restaurants and lounges. In Coral Gables, The Village of Merrick Park is an outdoor shopping mall with high-end retailers sandwiched in between a Niemen Marcus and Nordstrom.

  • The private beach of the Mandarin Oriental Miami.

    Did you know… ?

    The triangular island of Brickell Key is actually manmade and one of the most prestigious addresses in Miami. It’s also home to the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Miami.

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Hotels in Downtown/Brickell cluster near the financial district and are handy for some of the best restaurants and shopping. However, beachfront hotels on South Beach are only a three-mile drive across the causeway for those who might want to experience a little leisure with their business.

Mandarin Oriental

Located in the prestigious location of Brickell Key, the hotel has its own beach and is also near the financial district.

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Ritz-Carlton South Beach

This landmark Art Deco hotel is only a short drive from Downtown and Brickell.

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Turnberry Isle Miami

The expansive grounds of this hotel in prestigious Aventura make it perfect for concentrating or escaping.

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Loews Miami Beach

This stylish hotel has a laidback beachside location plus a host of luxury amenities.

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  • Tee up at Turnberry Isle Miami.

    Fairway to heaven

    Turnberry Isle Miami boasts two championship golf courses and an award-winning spa, perfect for a little down time.

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  • A little luxury: Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

    Beachfront elegance

    Take advantage of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel’s complimentary Wi-Fi to catch up on business in your well-appointed room or your favourite TV shows by the palm tree-lined pool.

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  • Sea views at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach © Dan Forer / The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

    Chic and sophisticated

    One of Miami’s iconic hotels, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach in located right in the heart of the city’s famous art deco district.

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Did you know... ?

1. Miami is the only major US city to have been founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle, known as the 'Mother of Miami', was the original owner of the land on which the city was built.

2. Pirates once frequented the area in order to bury their treasure. Gasparilla, Lafitte and Blackbeard were regular visitors.

3. Miami has a history of innovation. In 1944, Miami Beach pharmacist, Benjamin Green, appropriately invented the first sunscreen.

4. Miami is the only city in the United States that is bordered by two national parks - Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.

5. The Kauffman Foundation, which supports education and entrepreneurship, ranks Miami number two for startup activity in the US.

Your tips

We asked our LinkedIn followers for their best Miami tips.

"Bal Harbour shops are a must for all fashionistas. A hotspot for eating is Prime 112 on Ocean drive." - Sarb Dhillon

"Hungry? Try the Duck McMuffin or the Chanukah latkes at Blue Collar. Go for authentic Cuban at El Palacio de Los Jugos. No trip is complete without a visit to the legendary Joe's Stone Crab, only open at certain times of the year." - Daniel Freeman

"Bayside is a really nice part of Miami with plenty of places to eat and drink, and there is free live music on the marina stage every night." - Daniel Harris

Getting around

Miami international airport (MIA) is 12 miles west of South Beach and eight miles west of Downtown, making cab fares about $22 or $32 to each. The Metrorail Orange Line runs from MIA to Downtown Miami and South Miami. The Metromover transit system in Downtown Miami is free to ride.