EDC, Chamber hold historic first joint meeting

March 15, 2016

On February 18, the EDC and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce held the first joint leadership meeting since the EDC’s establishment more than six years ago. Prior to the creation of the EDC, the Chamber’s Committee of 100, launched in 1954, had been driving business recruitment and expansion efforts in the greater Tampa area. What prompted the spin out? The Chamber’s board decided that the time was right for a new, independent economic development organization that would have a separate but complementary mission – and on October 22, 2009, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC was born.
At the meeting, the Chamber’s Board of Directors and the EDC’s Investors heard from each organization’s leadership teams about their missions, major initiatives, and opportunities for collaboration. EDC Chair Colleen Chappell and President and CEO J.P. DuBuque joined Chamber Chair Guy King and President and CEO Bob Rohrlack to outline the key differences between the two organizations and provide the leadership with greater clarity on the roles each play in making Tampa and Hillsborough a better place to live, work, and do business.
Among the important distinctions between the two groups is the role of advocacy. The Tampa Chamber’s mission includes communicating the views of the business community to our elected officials, and its Government Relations team identifies, prioritizes and recommends policy to the board for issues that affect the local economy, business environment, and quality of life. As a membership organization, the Chamber’s robust and diverse programs offer myriad ways for businesses of all sizes to get engaged and participate in committees ranging from the Military Council to Emerge, the chamber’s outstanding program for young professionals.
The EDC, on the other hand, stays focused on the attraction, retention and expansion of jobs and capital investment to Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace. Our efforts are focused on growing locally established companies as well as recruiting corporate headquarters and regional operations in targeted industry sectors including Information Technology, Financial and Professional Services, Life Sciences, Defense and Security, Manufacturing, and Distribution and Logistics.
The EDC works with state partners such as Enterprise Florida and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and local ones throughout Hillsborough County to put together business assistance packages that will win relocation and expansion projects for our community. We also work with CareerSource Tampa Bay to help companies get the training, grants, and other resources they need to recruit, screen and develop talent.
While the EDC is not a membership organization, it does rely on the generous support of over 100 Investors who believe in its mission and provide leadership and strategic guidance.
As a first step toward greater collaboration, the Chamber has created a special one year complimentary Fit 3 package for companies that the EDC recruits to the area. The EDC will facilitate introductions of the new companies to the Chamber, so that they can quickly get the company and its team engaged in our community and establishing roots quickly.
With so much to be gained from strengthening ties between the two groups, EDC and Tampa Chamber leaders left the meeting brimming with new ideas for future partnerships and a deeper understanding of the distinct but interdependent roles these organizations play in our community.