EDC Update – 2019 Annual Report

The following is our year-end quarterly report for fiscal year 2019. Highlights for the year include:

Helping Local Companies Grow (Business Retention & Expansion Report)

  • 130 jobs, $10.5M in capital investment and an average estimated wage over $50,000 facilitated through two local projects- Sun Hydraulics, Ultrafast Systems.
  • 49 new jobs created by 8 of 11 companies supported through GROW FL services program this year, with each company experiencing significant revenue growth. One of those companies, EarthBalance from North Port was selected as an honoree for the 2019 Florida’s “Companies to Watch” awards.
  • 23 retention and expansion leads pursued, including 7 new projects, 7 of which have the potential to close in the next year. These active projects represent 181 direct jobs and capital investment of $2.9 million.
  • 80 local business engagements generated 126 direct assistance actions.
  • Creation and distribution of the Sarasota County Small Business Ecosystem Guide, which catalogues 17 business assistance partners with their value proposition, programmatic offerings, and points-of-contact for each.

Making Sarasota County Better for All Businesses (Business Competitiveness Report)


  • Growing tech workforce talent through extensively supported State College of Florida’s $3.6 million Florida Job Growth Fund award, which includes a regional IT/coding academy with a downtown Sarasota location.
  • 400,000 people from outside our market have learned about our area as a place to live and work, and over 1,660 of these individuals have explored career opportunities here through first ever workforce attraction digital marketing campaign using LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.
  • Continued support for the University of Florida Innovation Station through business introductions marketing, and other collaborative efforts.
  • Engaging in unfolding campus consolidation plans of the University of South Florida as this direction will impact the future of our region.

Real Estate

  • Engaged with real estate leaders to support critically needed new product including light industrial in North Port and Class A office space at University Town Center.
  • Partnered with the Real Estate Overview (REO) group to produce quarterly office market space availability updates.


The EDC Board of Directors took positions of advocacy regarding School Millage Referendum with favorable outcome, Legacy Trail Extension which passed, and in opposition of Single-Member-Districts, which passed.

  • 10 one-on-one meetings with state legislators and extensive collaboration with local, regional and state business groups advocating for EDC Board approved Legislative Agenda supporting key economic development priorities.

Attracting New Businesses (Business Attraction and Film Commission Reports)

  • 95 projected jobs comprising three projects – AdHawk, Defender Screens and Triton Advertising with estimated average salaries of $47,000.
  • 5 Atlanta based site selection consultants and two Enterprise Florida project managers hosted for first ever in-bound mission in conjunction with Braves inaugural spring training game at CoolToday Park in North Port.
  • 45 attraction leads pursued, including 13 new projects, 8 of which have the potential to close in the next year. These active projects represent 451 direct jobs and capital investment of $7 million.
  • 41 one-on-one meetings generate two leads over four out-bound missions to Washington D.C, Dallas, Atlanta and New York done in coordination with Enterprise Florida.
  • 326 film, television, web, digital and other media projects served, including 58 TV productions, 63 movies of all kinds, and 35 commercials, helping to generate a approximately $16.0 million economic impact locally.
  • 94 film, television, streaming and other project leads generated by Film Commission through sales/trade missions to New Orleans, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, plus 22 leads generated for Ringling Soundstages/ Post-Production facilities.
  • Launch re-designed robust website in partnership with local media agency On Ideas, that includes dynamic job search, and real estate search tools.
  • Hosted the new CEO of Enterprise Florida, Jamal Sowell, for a business climate presentation, roundtable with local CEOs, and a luncheon with civic and business leaders.