May is for Milestones

May 22, 2018

While the month of May is hardly over, it’s already been a historic one for the Tampa Hillsborough EDC. This month, we announced the recruitment of our first Fortune 500 headquarters, The Mosaic Company. Fortune 500 corporate headquarters relocations are rare, and the fact that Mosaic chose Tampa and Hillsborough County signals that our community has the talent, connectivity, geographic location and business climate that today’s multinational operations need to thrive. In short, we’ve arrived.

Mosaic’s decision to move here underscores another aspect of our community’s growth as a business destination: the strengthening of our port and airport. Mosaic’s recent acquisitions in Brazil prompted them to look south of Minnesota to be closer to their key operations – and Hillsborough County is the ideal location. The investments made recently in Port Tampa Bay, such as the $25 million post-Panamax gantry cranes and the dredging to create deeper channels capable of accommodating bigger ships, are truly game-changing for international trade opportunities. Ditto the multibillion dollar investment in the Tampa International Airport expansion and the almost weekly announcements of new direct flights to sought-after domestic and international cities. These improvements will pay immense dividends over time and vastly increase our competitiveness as a global business destination.

As we learned in last week’s Global Tampa Bay launch, international trade is vital to Tampa Bay’s economy and represents immense opportunities for local businesses. As Michael Baughen of JP Morgan Chase shared at the event, international trade already supports 2.5 million jobs in Florida – and is growing three times faster than total employment. In Tampa, exports are responsible for supporting more than 70,000 jobs. Exporting is not, as some may think, something only large companies do. In fact, ninety five percent of Florida’s exporters are local companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Thanks to JP Morgan Chase’s generous $250,000 grant, Global Tampa Bay – the alliance of regional economic development organizations including the EDC, Pinellas County Economic Development, and Pasco EDC – will be stepping up both its export missions and implementing new foreign direct investment (FDI) initiatives. Driving global investment in our region will help us to generate more jobs and increase capital investment, as well as strengthen ties with free trade partners.

Now that we’ve celebrated our Fortune 500 corporate headquarters win, it’s time to get back to work. We’re making strides every day to enhance Tampa and Hillsborough County’s competitiveness in a global economy and increase prosperity for our community. As always, I am grateful to our Investors and partners for their hard work and commitment. We are achieving the goals we’ve set, and will continue doing so.

Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM