• Osceola County works to lure in companies from Silicon Valley

    By: Jamie Holmes


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A facility is expected to open Wednesday in Osceola County that will help build next generation sensors for everything from cellphones to smart cars.

    The real work will be to lure in some major companies from Silicon Valley to start bringing in the jobs.

    The $75 million building may still be under construction, but Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes learned this week it will start to be filled by the people whose job it is to bring in the jobs.

    "Now the challenge is letting the world know the capabilities that exist here,” said Chester Kennedy, CEO with Bridg.

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    The facility will be instrumental in designing and building the next generation of smart sensors, similar to the technology used in cellphones.

    The goal is to turn the 500-acre former pasture land into a campus of research and development companies that can come up with new ideas with which to use those sensors.

    "Everything from autonomous-driving vehicles to amazing medical technology to smart agriculture to controlling everything about our food,” Kennedy said.

    Silicon Valley companies are a prime target. Right now, there are some 70 active negotiations with companies. None of the names are being disclosed, but the Department of Defense is on the list.

    One of the businesses would bring with it 1,000 jobs, Eyewitness News learned.

    There is some competition from New York, which wants to take California's companies and is building hundred-million-dollar incentive packages.

    Florida, particularly Tallahassee, has become anti-incentive when it comes to paying for jobs.

    For Osceola County, that's good and bad news. They've already built a new sensor production facility, and they think combined with a cheaper cost of living and an already strong tech hub in Central Florida, that will be enough to lure in those companies without a cushy or risky financial package.

    "The entire region here in Florida is really an emerging high-tech zone,” Kennedy said. "We really have a lot to offer.”

    The facility will begin producing its first sensors by July.

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