FEDC alert! As you know one of FEDC’s legislative priorities is Enterprise Zones. There is a coalition of groups working towards reauthorization with reform. While there are still some who want to see this sunset, the tide is slowing moving towards a reformed program that includes stronger reporting, marketing and accountability. The
will be discussing the Enterprise Zone program on Monday. We are hoping to see a Proposed Committee Bill but it is
Chairs Finance and Tax. The Committee members are listed on the
. I urge you to send Chair Hukill, Committee members and staff a note urging them to
the Enterprise Zone Program. Let them know how important it is to the economic development toolkit and your community.
The second of our priorities is to ensure that our partners and the economic development toolkit are funded and that the business climate remains friendly and easy to access. We need your help reaching out to your local legislative delegation regarding
. These pieces of legislation significantly impact Florida’s competitiveness in economic development. The bill takes away some of the Governor’s ability to use waivers on certain projects, removes the ability to use the state average wage as a comparable wage squeezing out certain industries, and areas of the state to be eligible for incentive programs. It also makes it more difficult for projects to achieve the required 5 to 1 return on investment by requiring additional criteria be considered in the economic model. Additionally the bill puts caps on the overall use of incentives each year and specifically targets the Quick Action Closing Fund, only appropriating $23M for next year’s toolkit, considerably lower than the Governor’s recommendation of $85M. It is very important that your local delegation hear from you, the practitioners that they represent so they understand the consequences of passing these bills.
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January 2015 Employment Figures Released
January 2015 employment figures were released this morning. Compared to the ten most populous states, Florida had the fastest job growth rate, ranked third in over-the-year job gains and the fourth lowest unemployment rate. Read the Commissioner's Statement and download stats: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm
Employment Figures Annual Benchmarking
Every March, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity release January employment and unemployment estimates as well as revised historical data. This report is the result of that annual process, which is known as “benchmarking.”
Also with this release, new and changed Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are being introduced. Three new MSAs were added: Homosassa Springs, Sebring, and The Villages. Three existing MSAs had geography changes: Crestview-Ft. Walton Beach-Destin now includes both Okaloosa and Walton counties; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach now includes both Flagler and Volusia counties; and Panama City now includes both Bay and Gulf counties.
The current and historical employment by industry statistics (jobs) can be found at: http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/current-employment-statistics
The current and historical unemployment statistics can be found at: http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/local-area-unemployment-statistics
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Lawmakers Look For More Control Over Economic Incentive Deals
During a hearing Thursday, a Senate panel unanimously approved a bill that calls for the director of Enterprise Florida, the public-private entity that strikes business development deals, to be confirmed by the Senate. The bill also caps the amount of money doled out by the state through economic incentives at $50 million per year, ends up-front payments to businesses and limits contracts of less than $20 million to 10 years.
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, sponsor of SB 1214, pointed to other parts of the bill that give Scott more leeway, including increasing the amount of an incentive project that needs further legislative approval from $5 million to $7.5 million. “The bill in no way should be interpreted by anyone to be any criticism of the way that that agency has conducted itself, they’ve done a great job. But just like anything else we’ve got to look at the edges and little things that need to be fine tuned,” Latvala said.
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Manatee County Economic Development Manager Earns Prestigious Designation
Karen Stewart has been working to become a certified economic developer ever since she started working for Manatee County seven years ago. Mission accomplished!
Stewart, county economic development manager, recently earned the designation given by the International Economic Development Council, making her the only certified economic developer in Manatee County and one of 65 in Florida. More than 1,100 people hold the designation in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Earning the designation shows mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth, according to the news release. “It really adds a level of expertise and professional recognition to the county,” Stewart said.
Congratulations to Karen on this momentous achievement!
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Startup Quest® programs being offered by Career Source Florida
Forbes recently reported that independent workers, many of them entrepreneurs and small business owners, will make up half of the nation’s workforce by 2025. The trend is moving away from just “I want to find a job” to “I want to create my job.” Here in Florida the Startup Quest® program is gaining national attention – as evidenced by a $12 million U.S. Department of Labor grant – for its innovative approach to entrepreneurship and community collaboration. Startup Quest® prepares highly educated individuals to create jobs for themselves by building businesses and partnerships with NASA and various Florida universities. Other graduates of the 10-session program, now operating in eight regions of the state, have made themselves more expert additions to existing high-level jobs. To date, Startup Quest® has 1,190 graduates, 558 of which are employed and 154 of which are self-employed.
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FPL Announces Three Pre-Qualified Data Center Sites
Florida Power & Light Company today announced the certification of three new pre-qualified data center sites within its 35-county service territory. Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, a leading economics and site selection firm, which was commissioned by FPL to conduct the study, reviewed a combination of factors to identify the most attractive sites for data centers in Florida. The criteria included reliable and redundant power, fiber infrastructure, competitive cost structures and locations insulated from man-made and natural risks.
The three pre-qualified sites provide operators a wide variety of usage, from stand-alone enterprises to co-location facilities, access to utilities, proximity to major highways and metropolitan areas, favorable demographics, site logistics and security.
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The Majority Of Small And Medium South Florida Businesses Are Ready To Grow
The vast majority of small and medium-size business in South Florida and nationwide are prepared to seek growth opportunities, according to SunTrust’s Annual 2015 Business Pulse Survey. Eighty-four percent of mid-market businesses in the nation, or for-profit businesses with annual revenue between $10 million and $150 million, and 78 percent of small businesses in the nation, or for-profit businesses with annual revenue between $2 million and $10 million, are prepared or somewhat prepared to seek out growth opportunities, according to the survey. The industries in the area primed for growth are likely wholesale trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing said Margaret Callihan, chairman, president and CEO of SunTrust, South Florida.
One business concern that may be unique to South Florida is the Brazilian economy. Whereas 47 percent of mid-market business and 44 percent of small business across the U.S. reported that an uncertain economy is a top business concern, in South Florida, the Brazilian economy is a factor, as well. “Brazil is experiencing below-trend growth, so when you look at the size of the Brazilian economy, that does impact some of the export trade in our market,” Callihan said.
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Collier County Startup Looks To Prevent Diabetes
InsulinNG is the first life-sciences startup to join one of Collier’s soft landing business accelerators, which signed leases for temporary and permanent space last week in the Kraft Center in North Naples. Right now, there’s only two executives, but their vision is expansive: help doctors help patients at risk of developing diabetes. It all starts with a thin paper strip and some leased office space. Plans call for InsulinNG to go to market this fall, pending FDA approval. The product was developed and tested in Germany, but the U.S., particularly Florida and Collier provide a lucrative market.
For the past two years, Collier has worked to revamp its economic development strategy with a focus on luring technology and medical science to the area. The emphasis should help diversify the county’s economy and reduce its reliance on tourism, real estate and construction. For InsulinNG, Collier’s accelerator provides fertile soil (office space, professional support and equipment) in which to grow their company, said Frank Rudwinsky, director of marketing and business development. “We believe this will be the beginning of a life science cluster in Collier County,” said Bruce Register, director of the office, while introducing the company at a recent county commission meeting.
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Xcelience Invests $9 Million To Expand Production-Operations In Tampa, Florida
Xcelience, an international contract development and manufacturing organization that services the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, will invest $9 million to expand product development services and manufacturing operations, creating 100 new jobs in Tampa, Florida. In addition to expanding manufacturing operations, Xcelience will expand its pharmaceutical development labs in a new Tampa location to support future company growth. The positions will include staff for pharmaceutical development, manufacturing, quality assurance and packaging. Derek Hennecke, President/CEO, Xcelience said, “Tampa is a great place to build a base of scientific capabilities. The warm climate attracts a stable workforce, and the government at all levels is eager to help us grow and prosper. Our location puts us just a mile from the airport, making it easy for out of state clients to find us. Exciting things are coming down the pipeline, for Tampa, for Xcelience, and the exciting new medical treatments we are developing with our clients.”
This project was made possible by the close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Xcelience’s expansion is another positive chapter in Tampa’s economic turnaround the last few years. The Scott administration will continue to support pro-growth policies that help the manufacturing and biotech sectors thrive in Florida. Successes such as these move us closer to our goal of making Florida the best state in which to live, learn, pursue a career, and start or grow a business.” “Xcelience is another prime example of a locally headquartered company with a global reputation whose growth is helping to shape Hillsborough County’s economic future,” said Rick Homans, President/CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “The strength and diversity of our manufacturing, life sciences, and technology sectors are attracting more world class companies and talent to Tampa each year.”
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Growing Spirit Airlines to Hire 1,500 Workers in 2015
Spirit Airlines will hire 1,500 workers this year as it adds new aircraft and flights across its network, the airline says. The low-cost airline, based in Miramar, is the No. 2 carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with 18.6 percent of passenger traffic, behind JetBlue Airways at 20.6 percent, according to the latest airport data. Spirit flies 50 daily departures to 45 domestic and international destinations from Fort Lauderdale. The airline added 24 nonstop routes across its network last year, including service from Fort Lauderdale to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport in September and to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in August.
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Gulf Power Announces New Economic Development Manager
Rick Byars has been named Gulf Power’s new general manager of community and economic development. Byars will be responsible for job creation, community building and community development in Northwest Florida, as well as for ensuring the company maintains strategic and credible relationships with key community stakeholders. “Northwest Florida is at a pivotal point right now — with several large businesses already choosing to expand in the area, a strong amount of activity surrounding aerospace in the region and the money that will be coming to the area from BP,” Byars said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of economic development in Northwest Florida, and I look forward to continuing Gulf Power’s commitment to helping the area grow.”
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