International business development charges ahead in the virtual world

September 29, 2020

In a normal year, our team would be returning from an action-packed export sales mission to a Latin American or European nation, together with our partners in Global Tampa Bay and local companies pursuing new business abroad. But with international travel coming to a halt in the spring and uncertainty about the virus’ spread affecting future business travel plans, the EDC team has had to adapt quickly to continue helping local exporters cultivate opportunities in foreign markets.

Global Tampa Bay collaborated with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service to continue offering matchmaking opportunities virtually. Twelve Tampa Bay companies – representing diverse industries such as information technology, manufacturing, and life sciences – registered for virtual meetings with prospective clients and distributors in up to five different countries. While there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings, thanks to our partnership we were able to offer local exporting companies some truly diverse global business expansion options.

Brazil is Florida’s top global trading partner and the number one trading partner for Port Tampa Bay, so it was only natural that we would join forces with SelectUSA to pitch new business to Brazilian companies and showcase opportunities for foreign investment here. Our participation was rewarded following the virtual event earlier this month, with two companies following up immediately regarding projects in our market.

As businesses around the world reassesses their priorities and rethink where they wish to locate and why, Tampa Bay’s appeal only grows. This fiscal year was one of our most exciting to date, with new companies from Colombia (Incofilt) and the United Kingdom (iO Associates) making the decision to expand here. These firms are well-positioned to grow quickly in Tampa, taking advantage of our excellent talent, lower business costs, and central location within the state.

As I look toward our next fiscal year, I’m more optimistic than ever for Tampa Bay’s international business prospects. I can promise you’ll be hearing more great news from me on that front soon.