CLEARWATER — Enterprise Florida Inc. held its first EFI Snapshot event July 25 in Pinellas County at the St. Petersburg College EpiCenter.
The event — in partnership with Pinellas County Economic Development, St. Petersburg College and Port Tampa Bay — brought together EFI leadership, elected officials, stakeholders and local business leaders to highlight the high-tech and manufacturing industries, as well as to discuss job growth efforts in the community.
“Enterprise Florida is excited to hold our first EFI Snapshot event to discuss the growing high-tech and manufacturing industries in Pinellas County,” said Jamal Sowell, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc. “We hope that today’s session created an opportunity to learn about the economic development and international programs available to Pinellas County and surrounding business communities to help them grow here in Florida and abroad.”
Some of the attendees touted the opportunities afforded them by the state and Pinellas County.
“Why did we move our 90,000 SF manufacturing plant from New Jersey to St. Petersburg, Florida? Because the state of Florida is business-friendly; the people are warm; city, county and state officials are welcoming and helping; the weather in New Jersey was gloomy; Florida is bright and uplifting and the incentives helped too,” said Rahul Shukla, president & CEO of S.S. White Technologies & SHUKLA Medical. “But, best of all, Florida makes me happy. My family and employees who moved with us think we have moved to paradise.”
“As a national company with double digit growth over the past several years, we could have opened regional offices for our expanding workforce, but we wanted to keep our operations centralized to maintain corporate culture and create consistency for our customers and employees,” said Heather Ford, chief financial officer of Power Design Inc. “Between the incentives and favorable location, it was a no brainer to expand our corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg. It’s not hard to attract and retain top talent in a beautiful area like Tampa Bay and having the support of the state and local governments through multiple grants confirms we made the right choice. We appreciate how easy they are to work with and look forward to our continued partnership.”
“The EFI trade grants give our company the opportunity to apply and attend multiple trade shows and missions around the world every year,” said Aydin Bilgutay, director of Operations for Infinium Medical. “These missions and shows connect us to distributors and buyers in new markets helping us to continue to grow.”
According to TechAmerica, Florida is No. 3 for high-tech establishments. Florida is home to over 19,000 manufacturers employing more than 331,000 workers. Florida's manufacturers produce a wide variety of goods including aerospace products, batteries, food and beverages, communications equipment, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, boats, and more.
“With our partners at Enterprise Florida, our elected officials, municipal economic development partners and business community, we work together to improve the business climate and create jobs in Pinellas County,” said Mike Meidel, director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “We’re honored to be the first community selected for an EFI Snapshot event.”
Enterprise Florida will conduct additional events around the state on a variety of economic themes. For more information on upcoming events, visit https://www.enterpriseflorida.com/events/.