EDC Update – June 2019

Highlights for the second quarter (January 2019 – March 2019) include:

  • $3.6 million Florida Job Growth Fund grant approved and received by State College of Florida for the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, an initiative that will include a downtown Sarasota location for training technology talent.
  • One retention project closed with Ultrafast Systems, a technology company providing specialized spectrometers to university laboratories around the world. The company received permitting/regulatory assistance that enabled them to open the new facilities without business interruption through the SMART program. The company projects creating 10 new jobs in their new facility.
  • Management of a pipeline of relocation and expansion projects totaling 46 projects, with 15 of these presently in an active discussion stage. Work continued on two projects requesting incentives that went before the County Commission and received approvals on April10.
  • Three site selection/business recruitment missions; two outbound missions to Washington DC and Dallas and one inbound mission from Atlanta. In all, the EDC met with 27 site selection consultants and 5 CEOs, with 2 project leads created.
  • The inbound Atlanta mission featured 5 site selection consultants, the EVP of Site Selection Magazine, and two Enterprise Florida representatives. In all, 45 community, political and business leaders participated in hosting our guests and demonstrating Sarasota County’s unique strengths.  The event showcased the Atlanta Braves first spring training game in Sarasota County and the opening of the beautiful new CoolToday Park in North Port.
  • The redesigned EDC website launched on February 19. To date the website has had 2,200 unique visitors, with average time on the website of 2 minutes 44 seconds.  The website features new workforce attraction components, increased and publicly available research capabilities, and a user interface focused on communicating the balance of ideal quality of life and business/professional opportunity.
  • Twenty-five visits were conducted with small, medium and large businesses in the County to thank them for their local presence and assess opportunities for assistance.
  • During the second quarter, video assets were finalized, targeting profiles generated, and distribution channels identified for digital marketing campaigns targeting business and critical workforce talent which began on April 1.
  • The Film Commission assisted 103 projects that spent approximately $1.6 million locally.
  • Approximately 40% of the EDC budget comes from discretionary investment from businesses and other stakeholders, and new investor recruitment materials were developed in the second quarter to continue growing that support.
  • The State legislative session began on March 5 and the EDC advocated for an EDC Board approved agenda of items important to our local business diversification efforts.

 

Highlights for the first quarter (October 2018 – December 2018) include:

  • Two projects successfully opened in Sarasota County – Defender Screens (Manufacturing) and Triton Advertising (Tech) opened offices and began hiring. These businesses are projected to create 45 jobs.  The EDC assisted them in site selection, business contacts, and with workforce.
  • Continued advocacy and collaboration work on behalf of a State College of Florida Job Growth Fund application that will, among other things, support development of a regional coding academy in Sarasota County to alleviate tech talent shortages and skill gaps.
  • Management of a pipeline of relocation and expansion projects totaling 44 companies, with 16 of these presently in an active discussion stage.
  • Attendance at two site selection consultant events allowing us to promote our assets and opportunities to 32 consultants.
  • Nineteen visits with small, medium and large businesses in the County, to thank them for their local presence and assess opportunities for assistance.
  • EDC Board approval of our 2019 legislative agenda that included collaboration with 15 business, educational, workforce, and other civic organizations.
  • Intense work on the complete redo of the EDC’s website which will launch in the second quarter.
  • Preparations for our first ever workforce attraction campaign which will launch in tandem with the new website.
  • The Film Commission assisted 58 projects that spent approximately $330,000, and notably hosted the world renown Robert McKee “Story” seminar at Ringling College – a multiday event that attracted 70 participants eager to improve their screenwriting techniques.
  • Completion of our annual independent financial audit with no findings.