To encourage job growth and new investment in Pinellas County, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on June 3, 2014, agreed to hold a voter referendum that, if approved, would authorize the BCC to grant property tax exemptions to assist existing local businesses with expansion and create new job opportunities. It will also encourage new businesses to choose Pinellas County. At least 38 counties, including Hillsborough and Sarasota, and 20 cities, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo and Tampa, already offer some form of this ad valorem tax exemption.
This referendum will appear on the August 26, 2014, Primary Election ballot. All registered voters in Pinellas County are eligible to vote on this nonpartisan issue. Learn more about this proposed incentive for economic development at www.PCED.org/jobs or download the fact sheet.
July 31: the Pinellas County Finance Fair
The Florida SBDC at Pinellas County 9th Annual Finance Fair is a chance for business owners to talk with a variety of small business lenders in a trade show format without having to fill out loan applications or guessing which lender is the best match. Learn about SBA loans, bank loans and alternative financing. Browse among the lender tables to find the best option for your current or future business finance needs. This event is free to entrepreneurs, business owners, or any interested business person, however registration is required. Exhibiting lenders pay a $50 registration fee.
Good Business Pinellas TV was on site for an April Space Florida briefing, held at the National Aviation Academy in Clearwater. There, Colonel Scott DeThomas, Commander 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, opened a discussion of the economic impact of base operations on the Tampa Bay region. Attendees learned about collaborative opportunities with Space Florida, the State of Florida’s aerospace economic development agency, as Frank DiBello, CEO, discussed the future of the agency and outreach efforts designed to engage the private sector.
Space Florida Business Brief
Doing Business in Chile – July 30 Business Briefing
Chile is Florida’s 4th largest export destination and due to free trade agreements 90% of U.S. exports enter duty free. There are no healthcare registration requirements for most medical devices, so entering this open, stable and prosperous Latin American market is an easy way for Pinellas companies to expand market reach and increase sales. Join Isabel Margarita Valenzuela of the U.S. Embassy in Santiago and Laura Beth Ebert of the U.S. International Trade Administration for an informative no cost introduction to opportunities for your business in Chile. Best export sectors for Chile: healthcare/medical equipment and devices, construction, infrastructure, safety and security equipment, irrigation/water resource technology, food processing/packaging equipment, agricultural machinery & equipment, consumer goods, travel & tourism.
This briefing is complimentary but registration is required due to limited seating. 8:30 a.m. to 10:0 a.m. at the EpiCenter in Clearwater. Register at http://bit.ly/ChileBiz.
What’s new in local Economic Development?
Economic development practitioners from across Pinellas County met on June 26 to hear the latest from several guest presenters.
PCED Director Mike Meidel provided an update on the proposed property tax abatement, explaining how the program can potentially strengthen Pinellas County’s and its municipalities’ desirability for growing companies. See the featured article above for more information on the proposed program.
Danielle Ruiz, Economic Development Manager for Duke Energy, explained how Duke Energy supports local economic development efforts
through its partnerships and programs. Through its Site Readiness and Strategic Sites Inventory programs, the energy utility can help speed up the process of identifying suitable sites for expanding and relocating businesses, and a variety of financial incentive tools allow Duke Energy to help local businesses reduce electricity costs and increase energy efficiency. Additionally, local Duke Energy representatives are available to meet with businesses to provide information on rates, electrical design, energy services, and more. Find more information on Duke’s Florida programs here.
Bob Bray, Community Planning Director for Pinellas Park, spoke to the group about the importance of a Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) to reduce and/or eliminate the risks associated with natural and man-made hazards. By working with local governments, schools, businesses and residents, the Pinellas LMS Working Group seeks to look at the potential hazards we may face locally and identify how such hazards can be mitigated, which can decrease flood insurance rates for residences and businesses. More information, including how you can get involved, can be found here.
Finally, Michael Preston, Vice President of Government Relations for Enterprise Florida, provided an update on the 2014 Florida legislative
session, highlighting a “robust [economic development] toolkit going into fiscal year 2014-2015.” Funding through the state’s budget has been approved to continue most economic development programs at or above previous levels, and tax cuts, a AAA bond rating and lack of state debt make Florida a strong candidate for companies considering expansion or relocation. Learn more about Florida’s Business Climate here.
Target Sector Trade Grants to Help Grow Export Sales
Through an initiative from the State of Florida and Enterprise Florida, event-specific grants are available on a reimbursable basis to eligible small and medium-sized manufacturers and services providers in one of Enterprise Florida’s target sectors: Aviation & Aerospace, Clean Energy, Homeland Security & Defense, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Professional Services, Marine Industry, or any other manufacturing industry.
These grants will cover 50% of turn-key booth space costs; up to a maximum of $6,000. Grants can be used for trade shows that Enterprise Florida participates in or for other trade shows in one of the target sectors.