Global Tampa Bay unveils new brand, regional partnership urges more foreign direct investment

May 24, 2018

A packed house of nearly 200 business leaders attended the launch of Global Tampa Bay last week, and to hear from regional leaders on the importance of international trade to Tampa Bay’s economy.

The timing of the launch couldn’t have been better as local companies and leaders recently returned from the most successful international trade mission to date. The 15 local companies that participated in April’s trade mission to Mexico City, Mexico reported projected future sales and economic activity of approximately $35.3 million as a result of the trip.

Global Tampa Bay, previously known as the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, is a cooperative effort of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Pinellas County Economic Development and the Pasco Economic Development Council (EDC),  to provide area companies with opportunities to increase their international footprint and to attract more foreign direct investment to the region.

At the launch event, Michael Baughen, executive director and market manager for JP Morgan Chase & Co., Global Tampa Bay’s generous sponsor, shared some impressive statistics with the crowd. For example, that international trade supports 2.5 million jobs in Florida, 70,000 of those in Tampa alone, and it’s growing three times faster than total employment.

Baughen also stressed that for Tampa Bay to secure its place in the global marketplace and to sustain our economic growth, it is paramount that regional leaders work together to come up with a strategy to address challenges and opportunities. Global Tampa Bay’s regional approach and partnership among the three local economic development groups is why JP Morgan Chase has invested $250,000 in Global Tampa Bay.

Three local elected officials, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, and Pinellas County Commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch, have seen firsthand how international trade missions can have a positive impact on building business relationships and generating more international sales for the companies that participate. They shared their insights and experiences at the event and encouraged the business leaders in the room to get out of the office and experience a trade mission for themselves.

The next trade mission will go to Chile and is being planned for September.

To learn more about Global Tampa Bay, visit the website or contact Ajay Sujanani at

To read more about the Global Tampa Bay launch event, check out this Tampa Bay Times article.

To read more coverage on the recent trade mission to Mexico, see these stories in the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Bay Business Journal.