The Paris Air Show resulted in $40 million in total projected sales for the 11 Florida small businesses in attendance, including $2 million in actual sales during the event. In addition to the Florida small businesses in the pavilion, 14 aviation/aerospace and economic development organizations attended the show. Those statewide partners held nearly 100 meetings with industry leaders during the week.
“The Paris Air Show provides a unique opportunity for small businesses in our state to exhibit their innovative products and services to global leaders from the aviation and aerospace industries,” said Jamal Sowell, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. “It also offers a great opportunity for us to meet with industry leaders. Our team met with more than 50 companies during the week to share the state’s business story and encourage job growth.”
The Florida Pavilion was the largest of any U.S. state in attendance. Companies and exhibitors included industry segments like MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul), engineering, education, airport/ground equipment, and aircraft component and tool manufacturing.
The air show, held from June 17-21, is the largest aviation exhibition in the world, with more than 2,400 exhibitors from 49 countries and more than 140,000 trade visitors from around the world.
In total, 25 Florida companies and organizations exhibited in the Florida Pavilion:
- Aero Engineering Support Group– Kissimmee
- Air Quality Aviation, Inc.– Miami Lakes
- Associated Aircraft Manufacturing & Sales, Inc.– Fort Lauderdale
- Bay EDA– Panama City
- Bigorre Aerospace Corporation– Pinellas Park
- Bradenton Area EDC– Bradenton
- Central Florida Development Council– Lakeland
- Delta International Inc.– Miami
- EDC of Florida’s Space Coast– Rockledge
- EDC of Okaloosa County– Fort Walton Beach
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University– Daytona Beach
- Florida Pneumatic Manufacturing Corporation– Jupiter
- Florida Power & Light Co.– Juno Beach
- FloridaWest– Pensacola
- Future Metals– Tamarac
- Gulf Power– Pensacola
- Loos & Co. Inc.– Naples
- Miami-Dade Beacon Council– Miami
- Miami International Airport– Miami
- Relli Technology, Inc.– Boca Raton
- Santa Rosa County EDO– Milton
- Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners– Leesburg
- Space Florida– Merritt Island
- STS Aviation Group– Jensen Beach
- Team Volusia EDC– Daytona Beach
Of the 11 Florida exhibitors, nine were awarded a Target Sector Trade Grant. Without the assistance of EFI’s International Trade and Development efforts, many of the companies would not be able to attend and, without the pavilion, would not be as successful and efficient in reaching such a large audience.
“The support provided by the grant from Enterprise Florida has been instrumental in giving us the presence at the Paris Airshow,” said Hector Sanches, president of Loos & Co. Inc. in Naples. “Most commonly, Loos & Co. would have 2-3 people join the show as trade visitors, and we would actively seek meetings with existing and new potential customers. Thanks to the grant we received, we took the step to establish a booth, which exponentially increased our exposure to potential customers. We were able to seek out to target customers and invite them to our booth and use the facilities provided by the Florida Pavilion.”
Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners from Leesburg exhibited for the first time at the show. “This forum is the world stage,” said Debra Bowers, vice president and general manager. “It is very expensive for any small company to expend the resources to participate at this level. Enterprise Florida not only helps reduce this cost, the resources in logistics are an enormous benefit. We met customers in Paris that took notice: Skybolt is on a world stage and is a worthy player. Suddenly, discussions rolled into serious agreements. Our immediate challenge is now more growth and how fast can we get there while maintaining our core values.”
“This show was the perfect opportunity for our company to showcase our latest products,” said Louis Verdu, sales manager with Bigorre Aerospace Corporation in Pinellas Park. “It was also the perfect occasion to meet our existing customers and find new customers/business opportunists. Without the help of Enterprise Florida, we would not have been able to exhibit at this show. If the new contacts/prospects made during this show end up in a few deals, we would probably need to hire new technician/production employees.”
Florida is home to nearly 2,300 aerospace and aviation companies employing nearly 100,000 skilled workers. The state is a major hub for flight training, a global leader in MRO operations, and home to leading manufacturers of all types of aircraft and components.
EFI maintains an extensive schedule of overseas trade missions and exhibitions worldwide. Last year, merchandise trade valued at $153.5 billion flowed through Florida’s ports with Florida-origin exports reaching $57.2 billion. Florida exported goods to more than 190 countries in 2018, making the state one of the world’s leaders in international trade.
Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state. EFI facilitates job growth through recruitment and retention; small business growth through international trade and exporting programs; promotion of sporting events; promotion and protection of Florida’s military bases; and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses.