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Written by Miami Today on November 9, 2000
By Sherri C. Ranta
An economic development survey to determine the size and shape of the e-commerce industry in Miami-Dade County is under way online through mid-December.
The local survey, say organizers, is a community-based effort by several groups to determine the depth of Miami’s e-commerce industry.
"There is," said John Cordrey, senior vice president for research at The Beacon Council, the county’s economic development arm, "a lot that is known about e-commerce in the county. Yet if someone comes along and asks, how big are they, where are they or who do they serve — these are questions we do not have information about."
That information, he said, can be used to help groups such as the Beacon Council, Miami Internet Alliance and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce market the county to the world as a hub for e-commerce activity.
Dr. Cordrey said as of Sept. 1, America’s Networks trade magazine ranked the Miami area No. 5 among the world’s telecommunications hubs.
Although there are groups with some information about the industry here, this survey will give the county a clearer picture of what’s going on, Dr. Cordrey said.
A grassroots movement emerged last year in the e-commerce industry to brand the three-county area as the "Internet Coast." The data from the survey will go a long way toward making that a reality, Dr. Cordrey said.
He said the survey — which can be accessed on the Beacon Council’s website — takes about two minutes to complete. It asks for information such as company name, address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address and web address, as well as the name of the principal or top executive.
The survey also asks for information regarding the type of e-commerce business, services provided, year founded and origin of the business — online or off-line — geographic market and the number of employees.
Results, Dr. Cordrey said, will be compiled and posted on the website. He said a sample of how that information will be presented is posted at the site now using fabricated data.
All information will be kept confidential by Beacon Council officials, Dr. Cordrey said. However, he said, the council would like to produce an electronic directory of businesses, addresses and telephone numbers.
Several other networking and professional groups and businesses helped get the survey online.
The advertising firm CW/Rampage Inc. of Miami Beach wrote the code for the survey. Founded in 1995 by President and CEO Celeste DeArmas, CW/Rampage specializes in advertising both on and off the Internet.
Ms. DeArmas said about 100 companies have responded to the survey since it was launch last week. Organizers say they expect 1,000 or more companies to complete the survey, based on the membership of groups sponsoring the project.
Edgar Jones, a vice president with Grubb & Ellis of Florida, a Brickell Avenue commercial real estate firm, was a project principal along with Manuel Gonzalez with the Miami Internet Alliance. Just as the group was ready to release the survey, Mr. Jones said, the committee found the industry is moving faster than even they could image.
"We’re noticing that the language is changing on us. The questions were designed several months ago. But after going over the questions the Friday before we launched, one of the guys made the comment that we might have to re-examine the terminology.
"We got as connected people in the industry as we could get. Within a few months the language is beginning to be outdated. My jaw dropped," Mr. Jones said.
Another group active in the project is the Tuesday Network, a one-year-old networking group for information technology professionals that meets in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. About 600 people attend the monthly sessions in Coral Gables.
Other sponsoring groups include the Association of Internet Professionals, First Tuesday, One Community One Goal and Women in Information Technology. Details: Dr. Cordrey, (305) 579-1373, or beaconcouncil.com/survey.