Enterprise Florida, Inc. completed the first-ever Florida International Trade Expo, a virtual showcase of leading Florida export products and services. The event took place over three days from March 16th to March 18th, 2021. Florida was the first U.S. state to organize such a virtual trade event.
“The event exceeded our expectations and offered us a chance to showcase Florida and our business community to the entire globe,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell. “We had Florida-based vendors situated on a virtual platform, connecting directly with a worldwide business audience of foreign companies interested in their products and services.”
The three-day event included 179 Florida exhibitors and 5,589 total attendees from 118 nations. Visitors had the opportunity to hear from panels on subjects ranging from Florida’s ease of doing business to innovation hubs.
“This was another historic first for our international trade team,” said Manny Mencia, Enterprise Florida senior vice-president for international trade and development. “We wanted to provide a venue for export engagement until the major in-person trade shows and international travel are fully online.”
The Expo utilized virtual, thematic event technology, including a Grand Hall with various industry sectors and live webinars. Sponsors included the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, the U.S. Commercial Service, South Florida District Export Council, Ashley Furniture Industries, as well as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Ports Council, Florida Makes, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Florida Export Finance Corporation, Florida SBDC, Associated Industries of Florida, Space Florida, and the Africa Trade Development Center.
International trade is one of the state’s most important sectors. With commodity exports of $56 billion in 2019, Florida was the seventh-largest export state in the U.S. last year. An additional $43 billion in exports of services worldwide ranked the state fourth in the U.S. One in five U.S. exporters is located in the state, and 96 percent of Florida exporters are small or medium-sized enterprises with 500 or fewer employees.
Forums held during the Expo have been recorded and will be posted on the event website over the next week. Visit www.floridaexpo.com to learn more.
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.