Please take a moment to mark your calendars for important dates. Next week we will be holding two very important teleconferences. The first is Wednesday, December 19th at 9:30AM (EST) for the 2015 Annual Conference. The conference committee needs your input and help to shape the conference agenda. Mark your calendars for May 17-19, 2015 in Orlando. The venue will be announced in January. The following day, December 20th, we will be holding our legislative affairs committee call at 10AM (EST). The Enterprise Florida Stakeholders call has been moved to 11AM and we will hold our call prior to that at 10AM (EST). The call in number for both calls is 712-432-0075 code 452692#.
Space is limited for the 2015 Winter Symposium, January 15th and 16th. Take advantage of having FIVE Consultants available to you to discuss what you need to do to be a winning community. Two 1/2 day sessions will focus on how Florida is viewed by site consultants around the country. The Friday morning roundtable session will give you an opportunity to ask your questions and gain additional insights. The cost is $240 per person. Please go to
for registration and hotel details. I look forward to seeing you in January!
3802 Spectrum Blvd.
First Northwest Florida Site Certified and Ready for Business
VentureCrossings is the First Northwest Florida site certified and ready for business, located in Bay County and owned by The St. Joe Company, is the first industrial site to complete Gulf Power’s Florida First Sites program in Northwest Florida. Fourteen sites were initially submitted from public and private landowners in 2013 as part of Gulf Power’s program aimed at helping communities prepare locations to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. Of those 14 sites, nine are still working toward their certification and most of them are expected to be certified by the end of February.
Gulf Power hired McCallum Sweeney, a nationally recognized site consultant firm, to offer an objective third-party analysis of the submitted sites. The consulting firm evaluates the properties, identifies improvements that must be made and then certifies the sites once they have met all the program requirements. Landowners had one year to complete the identified improvements — everything from obtaining permits, improving topography and producing engineering reports to making sure adequate utilities are available to the site. Gulf Power is paying half the consultant charges for publicly owned sites with private landowners paying the full amount.
The nine remaining sites working toward certification include one each in Bay, Walton and Okaloosa counties and three each in Jackson and Santa Rosa counties. For more information on all of the sites, visit FloridaFirstSites.com
Read More »
South Florida Cultivates Hispanic Entrepreneurship, Recognizes Top 25 Hispanic-Owned Businesses
This year, ANF Group, Blue Star Foods, Eastern National Bank, T&G Constructors and Bankers Healthcare Group made their debut in South Florida Business Journal’s Top 25 South Florida Hispanic-Owned Businesses of 2014. Brightstar Corporation of Miami sits at the top of the list with $7.2 billion in revenue.Rankings were based on 2013 revenue. In addition to SFBJ’s list of 25 businesses, SFBJ referenced a report from WalletHub that demonstrates South Florida’s exceptional atmosphere for Hispanic entrepreneurship compared to other U.S. cities.
Using 19 metrics (corporate tax structure, business share, entrepreneur rates, etc.), WalletHub examined minority business in the 150 largest U.S. cities. Pembroke Pines of South Florida topped their list as the best city in the U.S. for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Other ranked South Florida cities include Fort Lauderdale (17), Miami (42) and Hialeah (72). Outside of South Florida, five other Florida cities were also ranked: Jacksonville (6), St. Petersburg (8), Port St. Lucie (65), Cape Coral (73) and Tallahasee (99).
Read More »
Campaign Re-brands Orlando as More than Tourist Destination
Orange County, the Metro Economic Development Commission and other local municipalities, along with private sector partners, are rolling out a new ad campaign called, “Orlando: You Don’t Know the Half of It.” They are trying to build the image of this community as more than just a tourist destination. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs says people know all about the theme parks, but that’s just half our story. “To me, the other half is things like our university — second largest in the country UCF. It’s our modeling simulation and training industry, epicenter for MS&T in the entire world. It’s digital media. It’s our Medical City.”
The EDC is planning a campaign of 15, 30, and 60-second ads. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacob said, “I want CEOs to know that when they are thinking about expanding their companies. I want us to be at the top of the list because I want us to continue to bring jobs to the area, high paying jobs.” The plan is also to target the small number of companies world wide that do relocation searches for corporations, plus use digital media, and targeted magazine ad buys.
Read More »
500 Jobs Coming to TampaBay
As Laser Spine Institute prepared to celebrate the groundbreaking for its Westshore headquarters in an expansion that means 100 new jobs here, the governor’s office revealed another 400 new Tampa positions will be created by a growing information technology company. Cognizant, a Fortune 500 global IT firm, is expanding its Tampa operation and expects to create the new jobs over the next four years, according to the governor’s office.
Gray Swoope, State Secretary of Commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, said the expansion "is a great fit for Tampa’s growing IT cluster and I look forward to Cognizant’s continued success." Florida ranks second in the nation for tech job growth and third for high tech establishments. "We are very excited that Cognizant will be expanding its Tampa locations," said Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. "We continue to see growth in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field in Florida’s High Tech Corridor as Florida further solidifies its high ranking as a hub for tech job growth."
Read More »
UWF to Offer $1.5M Grant Matching Program
The University of West Florida’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement has launched a $1.5 million matching grant program to provide businesses with research assistance in developing new products and technologies. The new program, called the Northwest Florida Industry Research Matching Grants Program, comes from funding passed by the Florida legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott in August.
The program is modeled after a similar effort by the Florida High Tech Corridor that has been in operation for nearly two decades. Companies will apply for grants expected to be worth between $10,000 and $100,000. Selected companies won’t actually receive any cash, however, but will instead be provided with research assistance by university faculty. Harris said the OEDE has already received interest from several firms from within and expects to meet with them in early 2015.
Read More »
iQor Relocates Global Headquarters to St. Petersburg
iQor, a global provider of customer contact solutions and product support services, today announced that it is relocating its global headquarters from New York City to One Progress Plaza in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. More than 100 employees are expected to move into the new, three-floor office space in January 2015. “Florida’s resources, including a strong workforce, global access and strategic partnerships, have created one of the top business climates in the country. We’re excited to see iQor take advantage of Florida’s assets and I thank them for not only keeping jobs here but relocating their headquarters to St. Petersburg,” said Gray Swoope, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida.
Read More »
Florida’s Consumer Confidence Reaches Post-Recession High
Consumer sentiment among Floridians hit a post-recession high of 86 in November, an increase of two points over October, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. "The last time sentiment was this high in Florida was March 2007, more than 7½ years ago," says Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. November’s confidence rise was unexpected. Conducted Nov. 1-20, the UF study reflects the responses of 414 individuals representing a demographic crosssection of Florida. Details of the November survey can be found at bebr.ufl.edu/cci
Read More »
Florida Among Most Entrepreneur-Friendly States
Good news for small businesses in the state of Florida: The Sunshine State ranks as the fifth most entrepreneur-friendly state nationwide, according to the 19th annual Small Business Policy Index 2014.The index ranks all 50 states according to 42 different policy measures, including a wide array of tax, regulatory and government spending measures.
Download Report »
Howey wins $22K grant to explore increasing commercial activity
Howey-in-the-Hills has been awarded a $22,000 grant from the state Department of Economic Opportunity to explore economic opportunities. The focus will be on “development of a viable commercial and civic core area along Central Avenue from the lake to Florida Avenue,” according to a town notice. TMH Consulting of Ormond Beach will lead the effort.
Read More »
Crestview Enterprise Zone Has 51 New Businesses
As Northwest Florida recovers from economic downturn, a new industry has taken interest in the Crestview area. Manufacturing is now the industry sector showing most interest in the area,according to Kay Rasmussen, of the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County. Manufacturing's 44 percent of industries represents current businesses expanding and businesses interested in coming to the area, Rasmussen said in her year-end report at Monday’s City Council meeting. In the city's enterprise zone, 51 small businesses started up this year; most were within city limits, Rasmussen said.
Read More »
Cape Coral’s Job Market Ranked Number One by Manpower
If you hope to land a job in the next three months, where in the US will you find the most vibrant employment market? According to the just-released Employment Outlook Survey from Milwaukee-based staffing giant ManpowerGroup, the No. 1 spot is the Cape Coral MSA. The Cape Coral MSA, on Florida’s west coast 160 miles from Miami, includes Fort Myers. Cape Coral’s robust picture compares favorably with a nationwide seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 16%.
Read More »