Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) today released the following summary of accomplishments under Governor Ron DeSantis during his first year as Governor of the state of Florida:
“Florida should be proud of the economic growth we have experienced over the last year,” said Governor DeSantis. “As Chairman of Enterprise Florida’s Board of Directors, I want to thank EFI for keeping Florida top of mind for investors and job creators, assisting existing Florida companies to expand globally and maintaining programs that help all Florida businesses succeed. I am excited to build on this momentum and continue to work with EFI to make sure Florida remains the best state in the nation to pursue a career and start or grow a business.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida is experiencing steady job growth and low unemployment,” said Jamal Sowell, Florida Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of EFI. “Florida has many strengths that make it a top business destination, and EFI will continue to market Florida’s talent pipeline, world class education and pro-business environment.”
International Trade & Development
- In May 2019, Governor DeSantis led a business development mission to Israel, organized by Enterprise Florida. The delegation included more than 100 companies, organizations, and institutions representing every region of the state. An unprecedented contingent of 13 Florida institutions of higher education highlighted the state’s commitment to developing partnerships with their Israeli counterparts that will benefit both Israel and the state of Florida for many years to come. During the mission, a historic number of more than 20 strategic partnerships and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were established. The Governor also: met with many leading Israeli companies; led two highly successful roundtable discussions highlighting water challenges and relevant Israeli technologies, and school safety and security; visited cultural sites throughout the nation of Israel; led a ceremonial meeting with members of the Florida Cabinet; and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- In November, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez led a trade mission to Colombia. The mission delegation included over 50 representatives from small and medium-sized businesses across Florida. The export sales mission, organized by EFI, featured 19 Florida manufacturers and exporters that were matched with Colombian importers through the U.S. Embassy’s Gold Key Program, 17 of those companies were new to the Colombian market. During the mission, the Lieutenant Governor also met with several government officials to discuss various economic issues and promote future opportunities for collaboration and trade between Florida and Colombia.
- EFI’s international trade and development division organized 13 successful trade shows and trade missions since January 8, generating over $279.2 million in actual and expected sales. Over 225 small and medium-sized Florida businesses attended those events to expand their global footprint. Events included the Paris Air Show and MEDICA, and export sales missions to Morocco and Vietnam. Nearly 200 trade grantswere awarded to Florida businesses that attended EFI organized trade events, as well as international events approved by EFI.
- This year, EFI secured 28 foreign direct investment projects that have resulted in 1,184 jobs and over $84.6 million in capital investment.
- With a focus on bringing additional investment from the financial services and aviation industries to Florida, Governor DeSantis has led three business development missions to two cities in high-tax and overly regulated states – New York, NY and Chicago, IL – to discuss Florida’s advantageous business climate, world-class education system and talent pipeline.
- This year, the Legislature funded the Job Growth Grant Fund at $40 million. Governor DeSantis has since announced infrastructure awards to the Orlando Melbourne International Airport and the City of Panama City.
- In October, Governor DeSantis announced the relaunch and expansion of Find it Florida! Enterprise Florida’s commercial property search tool. Find It Florida!is a robust, public database for viewing and uploading available commercial building and site properties across the state. The relaunch includes updates to the functionality of the site and a new layer featuring Opportunity Zones.
- In April 2019, EFI launched the Rural Marketing and Education Grant Program to support rural communities’ efforts to market their counties and provide additional educational, technical, marketing and lead generation opportunities. More than $205,000 in grant funds were awarded to 19 communities for marketing efforts. During this month, Enterprise Florida also announced a new Director of Rural and Agriculture Development position who works directly with Florida’s rural regions.
- EFI’s business development division established 72 projects since January 2019. These projects add over 15,500 jobs and a capital investment of $2.65 billion for Florida. The division also referred 40 projects to partners statewide. Project announcements from this year include Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (FIS), Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Travel Products, Amazon and more.
- The “Florida – The Future is Here” campaign appeared in more than 20 digital and print publications in 2019 and earned more than 106 million impressions on those channels. The campaign focused heavily on the aviation/aerospace and fintech industries.
- Fintech content appeared in international business publications like Chief Executive, Forbes, Global Finance, and Inc., as well as national trade publications like Site Selection, Area Development and Business Facilities. Aviation and aerospace content appeared in AviationWeek, Expansion Solutions, Florida Trendand Trade and Industry Development, and was featured at major international events like the Paris, Dubai and Singapore air shows.
- Enterprise Florida partnered with the Wall Street Journal to create a microsite to promote Florida as a premier business state. The site – “The Power of Place” – hosts a video featuring business leaders who relocated their companies to Florida. The site also features stories from four additional companies that have also relocated to Florida. Video and photo content is currently being produced, featuring companies in the aviation/aerospace and fintech sectors. Those videos and photos will be promoted in digital ads that redirect to EFI’s industry pages and marketing campaign website.
Military & Defense
- In April of this year, Governor DeSantis announced the Governor’s Initiative on Lawyers Assisting Warriors (GI LAW), an initiative to leverage the talent of Florida’s leading law firms to provide pro bono services to military members. Through GI LAW, Florida’s men and women in uniform receive free legal counsel in a variety of civil manners, including actions in local courts. Enterprise Florida was tasked to house the application and supplemental information for GI LAW on the EFI website. GI LAW began accepting pro bono legal services requests from active duty service members in May 2019, and as of October, seven statewide law firms have provided free legal representation to over 60 service members.
- In August, Governor DeSantis announced that $725,000 was awarded through the Florida Defense Support Task Force (FDSTF) Grant Program to five projects to protect military installations across the state. Awards were given to the Clay County Development Authority, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast in Brevard County and the Military Child Education Coalition in Duval, Hillsborough, and Okaloosa Counties.
- This year, Enterprise Florida and the Florida Defense Support Task Force released the2019 Florida Military-Friendly Guide which offers a summary of Florida’s laws, programs and benefits for military service members and their families. The guide is distributed annually to Florida’s military bases and defense communities.
Sports Promotion & Development
- The Florida Sports Foundation (FSF) awarded over $2.8 million to 136 grantees sinceJanuary 2019. These grants will support sports opportunities for Floridians, as well as events that bring out-of-state visitors to Florida.
- The Sunshine State Games, an Olympic-style festival for Floridians of all ages organized by the FSF, has registered over 10,500 participants for the 2019 Games. The 2019 Sunshine State Games featured 31 events from February to November, including soccer, figure skating, karate and more.
- The Florida Senior Games presented by Humana is an Olympic-style competition for athletes age 50 and over and is an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida. Since January 2019, over 11,400 participants registered. The 2019 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, was held from Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 15, 2019 in Ft. Lauderdale.
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.