Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) today announced its major accomplishments in 2021, boasting another significant year of economic growth under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis. Enterprise Florida continues to amplify the message of Florida’s forward-thinking leadership, open and growing economy, and business-friendly environment, as EFI and its statewide partners established 63 economic development projects representing 12,108 new and retained jobs and more than $2 billion in capital investment.
“The past year has been one of exponential growth in Florida – none of which would be possible without the steadfast leadership of Governor DeSantis,” said Acting Secretary of Commerce Marc Adler, President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. “Florida never let the pandemic be an excuse, as Governor DeSantis kept our economy open, our communities thriving, and our state ready to welcome those looking for a climate of certainty. As a result, we have seen businesses expanding and relocating in droves – a trend we know will increase in the coming year.”
PROMOTING FLORIDA AS “#1 JOB CREATION DESTINATION”
- In 2021, EFI and its statewide partners established 63 economic development projects representing 12,108 new and retained jobs and more than $2 billion in capital investment.
- Among projects with which EFI engaged this year:
- The Boeing Company is expanding its military aircraft overhaul and conversion operations in Jacksonville. This project retains 336 jobs and creates 334 jobs.
- The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, a publicly traded company with 6,192 employees globally, chose Jacksonville as the location for its new corporate headquarters. The relocation will result in the creation of 500 new jobs, with an average wage of $77,000 and a capital investment of approximately $75 million.
- In September 2021, EFI launched its ‘Built for Opportunity’ Awareness Campaign to highlight businesses that are prospering because Florida is open for business and avoiding lockdowns. During the first phase of the campaign from September 9-October 31, the campaign generated more than 91 million impressions.
- The EFI marketing team promoted Florida as a premier business state to decision-makers around the world through its “Florida – The Future is Here” campaign along with a refreshed brand, “Break Through”. The campaign generated more than 209 million impressions worldwide last fiscal year. The campaign appeared in digital and print outlets including:
- Wall Street Journal
- Global Finance
- Financial Times
- The Business Journals
- Chief Executive
- Florida Trend
- FORBES and Entrepreneur
PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO FLORIDA’S RURAL COMMUNITIES
- In February 2021, EFI announced grants though the Rural Expansion Toolkit that included site preparation support to the following:
- Wakulla County Economic Development Council $25,000
- City of Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency $25,000
- Levy County Nature Coast Business Development Council $25,000
- Highlands County Economic Development $25,000
- Suwannee County Economic Development $24,250
- Columbia County Economic Development Department $24,900
- North Florida Economic Development Partnership $25,000
- City of Monticello $24,250
- Holmes County Development Commission $25,000
- Hendry County Economic Development Council $25,000
- Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation $25,000
- Hamilton County Development Authority $25,000
- Glades County Economic Development Council $25,000
- Baker County Chamber / Economic Development $25,000
SHOWCASING FLORIDA TO THE WORLD
- In Fiscal Year 2020-21, EFI’s International Trade & Development team conducted more than 4,500 export consultations with more than 2,000 companies in 62 counties. More than 260 companies received trade grants while another 460 participated in virtual and in-person trade events.
- EFI hosted the first-ever Florida International Trade Expo, a three-day virtual showcase of leading Florida export products and services. Florida was the first U.S. state to organize such a virtual trade event and included 179 Florida exhibitors and 5,500 total attendees from 118 nations.
- 15 Florida life sciences companies were recruited to attend the Arab Health 2021 trade show in Dubai – the first in-person overseas event in 15 months – reporting $41 million in actual and expected export sales. The iconic MEDICA trade show in Germany generated another $117 million in export sales for 25 Florida life sciences companies.
- Staff returned to Dubai again for the GITEX technology trade show and the Dubai Airshow with nearly $50 million in combined export sales.
- With ever-increasing demand for a return to in-person overseas events, EFI staff visited Amsterdam, Netherlands for two shows, taking 22 companies to MRO Europe ($49 million in sales) and another 16 to the Marine Equipment Trade Show, reporting $103 million in export sales.
- EFI continued to offer virtual trade show grants until in-person travel to overseas trade events resumed mid-year, while virtual business matchmaking grants were expanded to include Brazil, Florida’s largest trade partner.
- EFI organized it’s first-ever virtual trade mission to support companies interested in doing business in the Dominican Republic, followed by a second one targeting Brazil.
- EFI’s International Offices and foreign direct investment team secured 40 investment projects by foreign companies locating or expanding in Florida, with a total capital investment of $90 million and 2,250 jobs.
- The International Trade & Development team ended the year with the Select Florida Expo – the state’s first-ever virtual FDI event. With more than 60 economic development and strategic partners exhibiting, the Expo attracted companies from 60 countries around the world, generating leads and networking opportunities for participants and exhibitors alike.
SUPPORTING MINORITY & SMALL BUSINESS
- EFI held the Haitian American Business Leaders Summit, a virtual forum which focused exclusively on support for Haitian American business owners operating in Florida.
- This year, EFI’s Minority and Small Business Entrepreneurship and Capital division successfully hosted its 2021 Minority & Small Business Boot Camp, which provided minority and small business owners with resources to continue to grow their companies. Over the course of the series, 1,779 registrants registered for the boot camp.
SUPPORTING MILITARY BASES, FAMILIES & MISSIONS
- In Fiscal Year 2020-21, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one Coast Guard Cutter, one spectrum warfare wing, one munitions squadron, and four fighter squadrons were moved into/assigned to Florida. These units will bring around 2,300 military personnel, 5,000 dependents, and will have an economic impact of approximately $1.5 billion.
- Using Fiscal Year 2020-21 funds, the Florida Defense Support Task Force (FDSTF) awarded $1,674,277 through the Task Force Grant Program to support eight defense projects across eight counties.
- Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners ($70,000) – To develop and implement a Career Academy Outreach for Military Children
- Clay County ($500,000) – To buffer Camp Blanding Joint Training Center from incompatible land development
- Polk County Board of County Commissioners ($500,000) – To protect Avon Park Air Force Range from encroachment through the acquisition of a conservation easement to prevent incompatible land use
- Orlando Economic Partnership ($110,000) – To support the Modeling, Simulation, and Training (MS&T) Center’s growth and expansion in Florida emphasizing its national security value and contribution to Florida’s military installations. Additionally, this funding supports Orlando Economic Partnership’s efforts to expand MS&T education starting in middle school through graduate school.
- South Florida Progress Foundation ($110,000) – To complete a South Florida-focused resilience assessment to posture quad-county installations and personnel for sustained mission accomplishment and protection of vital installations in the face of climate-driven and other resilience challenges.
- Northeast Florida Fire Watch Council ($160,000) – To fund educational programming, the Northeast Florida Military & Veteran Resources Guide and a Micro Grant program to strengthen of suicide prevention in Northeast Florida.
- Bay County Board of County Commissioners ($164,277) – To support the ongoing rebuilding of Tyndall Air Force Base.
- University of West Florida ($60,000) – To advance Florida’s Military Training, Test and Evaluation Ranges
- During Fiscal Year 2020-21, the FDSTF conducted 11 meetings, 8 virtually and three in-person meetings in Panama City and two in Tallahassee. Additionally, it has continued implementation of its long-range strategic plan for actions to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations.
- In February, EFI published an updated 2021 Florida Military Friendly Guide providing a summary of the laws and programs that benefit service members and families stationed in Florida.
- The FDSTF and EFI championed the Purple Star Schools initiative in the Florida legislature. This legislation, signed into law by Governor DeSantis this year as Section 1003.051, Florida Statutes, creates a system for recognizing the outstanding work of specific Florida schools to make their campuses welcoming environments for transitioning school-age children of military families and assists those families in selecting the optimal location to live when the military relocates the family to Florida.
- The FDSTF created 29 videos to showcase the economic and strategic value of Florida’s military installations.
HIGHLIGHTING FLORIDA AS THE PREMIER DESTINATION FOR SPORTING EVENTS
- During Fiscal Year 2020-21, the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF) partnered with Florida communities to award 157 combined grants a total of $2,485,021. Combined, these grants were projected to attract more than 896,369 new visitors to the state and generate an economic impact of $822,386,577. Understanding the importance of sports tourism at the local level, the FSF awarded these grants to industry partners located throughout the State of Florida.
- In February, the Florida Sports Foundation supported the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee as it facilitated Super Bowl LV and its thousands of attendees.
- In August, Governor DeSantis announced Florida will host the upcoming Hula Bowl at the University of Central Florida’s Bounce House Stadium in January 2022. Florida’s bowl games attract hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, with roughly half being from out of state, generating an economic footprint of more than $380 million and thousands of local jobs.
- In the 2021 season where the stadiums were at 20-25% capacity, the Florida Grapefruit League, sponsored by FSF, attracted 352,889 fans attending 205 games for an average of 1,719 fans per game.
- The Florida Sports Foundation hosted its 2021 Florida Sports Summit on November 8-10 at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. More than 120 sports professionals were in attendance, including staff members from Florida Sports Industry Partners, Sports Events Rights Holders and Florida Sports Foundation.
- Between April and June, over 3,500 athletes competed in 15 sports of the Sunshine State Games. The 2021 Games featured multi-sport Festivals in Alachua, Clay, and Polk counties.
- The FSF conducted the 2021 Florida Senior Games in multiple locations in Broward County from December 4-12 and 16-19, attracting over 1,800 participants. The 2021 Games were the 30th Anniversary of the Florida Senior Games and nine athletes were recognized for competing in all four decades of the Games.
- In December 2021, EFI’s Board of Directors voted to make $10 million in funds available to support Miami and Orlando’s ongoing bids to be selected as two of the ten U.S. host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament. If selected as hosts, these funds will support the cities’ logistical needs to host hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of visitors over the month-long competition.
“Over the past year, it has been incredible to watch the impactful work Enterprise Florida has done to continue to set Florida’s economy up for success,” said Holly Borgmann, Vice Chairman of the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors. “Florida’s leadership, open economy, and business-friendly environment have sent a signal to the country and the world that the Sunshine State is the place where abundant opportunity and growth awaits. Under the leadership of EFI Chairman Governor Ron DeSantis, I have full confidence we will not only achieve but surpass our goals in 2022.”