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Economic Tides are Strong in Sarasota County


Sarasota County has been transforming over the past several decades. Any longtime local, including the last three generations of my family that have lived in the county, undoubtedly have stories of how much this incredible place has changed. It doesn’t take a trained eye to notice the surging popularity of Sarasota, North Port, Venice, Lakewood Ranch, our entire region, continues to experience.

During the last two decades, the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC) has played a key role in promoting the economic diversification and sustainability we’ve seen. The EDC was founded in 2004 and a year later became a joint county-municipal economic development program. Since then, it has been at the forefront of practical, on-the-ground initiatives to attract out-of-town targeted industries and provide resources for existing, growing companies – all with the aim of fostering a diverse and sustainable economy.

The power of public/private partnerships, between government, businesses, and partners such as higher education is something that the EDC strongly believes in. This collaboration is a fundamental influence of our economic prosperity now, and in the future.

Today, economic tides are strong in Sarasota County – probably the strongest they have ever been. The community is undergoing a transformation, from new developments, like Downtown Wellen Park and the Mote Science Education Aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park, to the EDC’s support for the expansion of high-tech manufacturing, warehouse, and logistics centers along I-75 in North Port. Explore the content hub at EDCSarasotaCounty.com and view the “North Port Gardens” video to truly get a feel for how this partnership impacts our region.

Another EDC goal, to strengthen our tech ecosystem, we’ve been working closely with many new and existing entrepreneurs. Home-grown Sarasota County companies are expanding and transforming their tech offerings; keep an eye on StrataPT. Every day, the EDC is meeting new brands who have launched here, like MamaZen and eHubCo.

So, what’s next?

As the EDC’s new President and CEO, it seems to be what everyone wants to know. Over the last month, I have asked our community – people from all walks of life – what economic success means to them. A resounding answer came from residents and business sectors in our area, simply put, is to keep our young people working here.

I couldn’t agree more.

I believe workforce retention will be one of the biggest indicators of economic success, especially in desirable locations like Sarasota County. Not surprisingly, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area number 8 on its nationwide list of “Best Places for Young Professionals.” When young professionals stay and build careers, it’s good for communities and businesses. Workforce retention will continue to support growth for diverse industries and provide a wide variety of job opportunities in Sarasota County.

Erin Silk, CEcD
President & CEO
Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County