. FAQs - EDC
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FAQ’s

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County works directly with companies, free-of-charge that are looking to expand, stay or locate in Sarasota County. We work with companies to assist with site selection, international expansion efforts and more. We also assist local companies by providing them with the access to partners to accelerate their growth, the data and research to make well-informed decisions and help them raise their profile to open up new opportunities.

How can the EDC of Sarasota County help my business?

Think of us as your concierge to Sarasota County. As a mission-driven nonprofit, our dedicated team is ready to help you find your way in Sarasota County. We help you reduce the time, cost and uncertainty of doing business in Sarasota County. No ask is too big or too small, whether you are looking for economic data, introductions to local business organizations, workforce resources or something else… just contact us!

What does the EDC of Sarasota County do?

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County is a team of engaged public and private leaders committed to being the catalyst for a sustainable, globally competitive, and vibrant economy. We work to diversify the economy of Sarasota County, making it more resilient and stronger. We are committed to helping our target industries thrive and expand in Sarasota County. We also assist and attract business organizations who are looking to relocate or expand their operations to Sarasota County

What are EDC’s target industries?

Sarasota County’s targeted Industries include:

  • Technology
  • Financial & Professional Services
  • Corporate Headquarters
  • Life Sciences
  • Creative Industries
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics & Distribution
  • Cleantech

See the full list of Enterprise Florida’s target industries here

Is my business eligible for Sarasota County’s incentive programs?

Incentive programs require an application to the governing bodies. The EDC can help you determine what programs you may be eligible for and apply.

1) Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Eligibility:

  • Create 10 new full-time jobs during the first two years of the Exemption.
  • An annual average wage for the new full-time jobs of at least 115% of the Metropolitan Statistical Area (“MSA”) for every year of the exemption period.
  • A capital investment in the Sarasota County facility of at least One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) during the first two years of the Exemption.
  • The business must meet the definition of a New Business or of an Expansion of an Existing Business as defined in Article XI of Chapter 38 of the Sarasota County Code (the “Code”):
  • New Business
    • A business establishing ten (10) or more fulltime jobs in the County/City which manufactures, processes, compounds, fabricates, or produces for sale items of tangible personal property at a fixed location and which comprises an industrial or manufacturing plant; or
    • A business establishing twenty-five (25) or more fulltime jobs in the County/City, the sales factor for which the facility with respect to which it requests an economic development ad valorem tax exemption, is less than fifty (50%) percent inside the Metropolitan Statistical Area (City of Sarasota, City of Venice and Sarasota County applicants) [inside the State – City of North Port applicants] for each year the exemption is claimed; or
    • An office space in the County/City leased or owned and used by a corporation newly domiciled in the County/City; provided such office space houses fifty (50) or more fulltime employees of such corporation; provided that such business or office first begins operation on a site clearly separate from any other commercial or industrial operation owned by the same business
  • “Expansion of an existing business”
    • A business establishing ten (10) or more fulltime jobs in the County/City which manufactures, processes, compounds, fabricates, or produces for sale items of tangible personal property at a fixed location and which comprises an industrial or manufacturing plant; or
    • A business establishing twenty-five (25) or more fulltime jobs in the County (City), the Sales Factor for which the facility with respect to which it requests an economic development ad valorem tax exemption, is less than fifty (50%) percent inside the Metropolitan Statistical Area (City of Sarasota, City of Venice and Sarasota County applicants) [inside the State – City of North Port applicants] for each year the exemption is claimed; provided that such business increases operations on a site co-located with a commercial or industrial operation owned by the same business, resulting in a net increase in employment of not less than ten (10%) percent or an increase in productive output of not less than ten (10%) percent.
  • Other eligibilities may be required
  • Approval is at sole discretion of the governing bodies.

2) Mobility Fee Mitigation Eligibility:

  • A project that qualifies as Public Service Construction or is located within a Designated Mitigation Area.
  • The project must fall within the industries identified by Enterprise Florida or Sarasota County Resolution as Qualified Targeted Industries.
  • Project must create a minimum of 10 new jobs having an average wage equal to or exceeding the average annual wage of the MSA.
  • Application must be submitted no sooner than 60 days prior to Certification of Occupancy (CO) and no later than 60 days after issuance of the CO.
  • Other eligibilities may be required
  • Approval is at sole discretion of the governing bodies

3) Rapid (SMART) Permitting Eligibility

  • The company must be exported-oriented as identified by the Sarasota County Economic Development Plan.
  • The business must have an average company wage that equals or exceeds the Annual Average Wage for all private industries in Sarasota County.
  • If the company is relocating to Sarasota County, then at least ten (10) new jobs must be created.
  • The company must have a demonstrated critical timing need that would jeopardize the project if expedited processing is not utilized.
  • Project must be in unincorporated Sarasota County.
  • Other eligibilities may be required

 

Where can I get more information about small business financing and grants?

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at University of South Florida assists existing and emerging businesses in Sarasota County, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training. The consultant’s expertise focuses on areas that are vital to owning and operating a successful business, including: strategic market research, market expansion and revenue growth, business and strategic plan development, access to capital and loan packaging assistance, financial analysis and assessment, accounting systems and financial literacy, feasibility analysis and start-up assistance, disaster preparedness and cybersecurity. Here is the link to request a consultation: https://sbdctampabay.com/schedule-consultant/

I am looking to open a business in Sarasota County what is the first step?

We’ve created a guide called the Small Business Ecosystem. In this guide you will find more information about the free and low-cost resources for small business.

  • The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at University of South Florida assists existing and emerging businesses in Sarasota County, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training. The consultant’s expertise focuses on areas that are vital to owning and operating a successful business, including: strategic market research, market expansion and revenue growth, business and strategic plan development, access to capital and loan packaging assistance, financial analysis and assessment, accounting systems and financial literacy, feasibility analysis and start-up assistance, disaster preparedness and cybersecurity. Here is the link to request a consultation: https://sbdctampabay.com/schedule-consultant/

 

  • SCORE (https://manasota.score.org/) has been mentoring new and existing businesses for over 40 years and has a network of over 13,000 volunteers who donate their time to help entrepreneurs. As highly successful and experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs, SCORE mentors deliver valuable, timely, and practical advice. Whether you are a start-up or an existing business, SCORE mentors will help your business open new markets, reach new customers, and achieve new goals. The service is free, confidential, and available online or in-person. Mentor request form: https://core.score.org/mentoring/request

 

  • CareerSource Suncoast hosts a series of 10 classes and online coursework for potential, new, or existing entrepreneurs, called Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO).  It teaches business principles, practical knowledge and a framework to create both a business model and plan. Participants will network with each other and receive 1-to-1 consulting from instructors. Here’s more information: https://careersourcesuncoast.com/ceo/. The contact for the program is Patrick Smith at psmith@careersourcesc.com, (941) 346-1591.

 

 

How can I market my business in Sarasota County?

Sarasota County has strong and vibrant Chambers of Commerce and industry organizations. They have frequent events for members who wish to network and promote their business within the local communities. See the full list here.

If you have a press release, we would love to add it to our website please submit it to info@edcsarasotacounty.com

Small Business Ecosystem

This resource is intended to guide companies through the landscape of business assistance that exists in Sarasota County. There are a myriad of organizations whose core missions are to help businesses grow through the provision of workforce assistance, consulting services, regulatory assistance, industry expertise, networking, financing and incentives.

Chair’s Advisors

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