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Central Florida commercial real estate monitors have suspected it for the last two years. Now a new study by an Austin, TX consultant group notes metro Orlando’s high-tech industry brings in more dollars to the community than any other category of business, including king tourism and queen entertainment.

But this area received failing grades for neglecting to trumpet its high-tech companies to the rest of the nation and the world. And in doing so, the community fell far behind other metro areas in attracting venture capital for even more high-tech startup companies, according to Angelos Angelou, president of Angelou Economic Advisors Inc., who coordinated the 200-page study.

For example, Orlando has more high-tech firms than Austin, TX, a high-tech hot spot, but Austin easily attracted more venture dollars than Orlando. Orlando picked up $18.32 million in venture-capital deals last year. Austin landed $232.6 million worth of transactions. Raleigh-Durham, NC was right behind Austin with $193.5 million; San Diego, $192.7 million; Atlanta, $178 million; and Dallas, $156.7 million.

Even more embarrassing, area entrepreneurs search for seed money in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York and Atlanta but not in Orlando where the banking community isn’t yet attuned to the needs and value of the high-tech industry here, the report concludes.

In a line-by-line economic value comparison with tourism, another researcher, Technology Strategy Reports of Metro Orlando, shows:

Jobs–technology, direct, 69,961; indirect, 174,900; total, 244,861. Tourism, direct, 163, 414; indirect, 81,700; total, 245,114.

.Wages–technology, direct, $2.8 billion; indirect, $7 billion; total, $9.8 billion. Tourism, direct, $2.9 billion; indirect, $1.5 billion; total, $4.4 billion.

Average annual pay–technology, $40,300; tourism, $18,000.

In metro Orlando’s immediate four-county hub, 4,800 high-tech firms employ 70,000 in Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties. Factoring in neighboring Volusia and Brevard Counties, there are 6,841 companies with a work force of 119,311.

Among the big-name companies based in Orlando are Cirent Semiconductor, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Milcom Inc. The $40,000 study was commissioned by the city of Orlando, Orange County and the Economic Development Commission of Mid-Florida Inc.

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