Tampa Bay launches new foreign direct investment strategy to maximize region’s global potential

May 31, 2017


CONTACTS: Jessica Butzier, 813.518.2648, jbutzier@tampabayedc.com
Anthony Fiano, 202.238.3113, afiano@brookings.edu

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – Today, the Tampa Bay Export Alliance announced the launch of the Global Tampa Bay Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Plan, a regional global investment plan that outlines specific steps that local business, civic, and government leaders can take to leverage foreign direct investment to foster global engagement. This strategy is an integral stage of Tampa Bay’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. The final plan integrates lessons learned from previous GCI endeavors including an initial market assessment followed by export and foreign direct investment strategies.

With more than 85 percent of global growth through 2019 projected to occur outside the United States, global engagement is a necessity if cities want to catalyze both their economies and their workforce. Global companies – those that export and receive foreign direct investment – pay higher average wages, contribute more to regional R&D efforts, and increase productivity of domestic markets through the infusion of new technologies and practices.

“Leaders across the Tampa Bay region have committed to take tangible action on what our research shows is key to a strong, diverse economy,” said Marek Gootman, fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives at the Brookings Institution. “Through this planning process, Tampa Bay will determine how to better help local firms and the region take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace. Tampa Bay joins a select group of metro areas working to strengthen their international connections and competitiveness through the Global Cities Initiative, where executing regional trade and investment strategies is yielding measurable results.”

The plan was launched today at a gathering at Tampa International Airport, which featured members of the Tampa Bay Core Team and Steering Committee including representatives from the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Pinellas County Economic Development, Pasco Economic Development Council, Tampa International Airport, Port Tampa Bay, University of South Florida, JP Morgan Chase and several other public and private sector stakeholders.

“This is the first time that we’ve come together as a region to develop a strategy for marketing Tampa Bay globally,” said Craig J. Richard, CEcD, president and CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “Everyone on the Core Team and Steering Committee had a role in developing this plan, and all of us will be responsible for driving this initiative and making it a success.”

“The Tampa Bay region is well-positioned for global investment,” said Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “Adding the strategies provided by this study to the programs and partnerships we’ve already deployed will further our mission of helping local companies expand and create new jobs.”

Over the last 10 months, the Tampa Bay core team has collected volumes of data, conducted in depth research, conducted 33 face to face interviews with locally based foreign owned companies, held several roundtables and working group sessions and attended Cohort exchange meetings in DC. The project had three distinct phases – the market research and assessment, development of the key findings and development of the strategies, goals and objectives.

Some of the key findings from the market assessment which best informed the strategies outlined in the plan include:
– A significant amount of FDI activity is driven by an existing connection to the region
– Tampa Bay is exhibiting clustering behavior in the financial, professional and shared services industry
– Foreign owned companies are not immune to the workforce and transportation challenges facing the region
– Tampa Bay needs a globally competitive brand identity and a comprehensive regional marketing effort to be recognized as a top business destination

“We are thrilled to unveil a regional strategy for foreign direct investment that leverages the many great assets we have in our community and further strengthens Tampa Bay’s position as a global business destination,” said Bill Cronin, President/CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council. “By aligning our efforts with our regional partners, Tampa Bay will set itself apart from other competitive metropolitan areas.”

“International trade and investment represents a promising pathway for local businesses to create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy.” said Dan Howat, head of Chase Middle Market Banking in Tampa. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to be a part of the development of Tampa Bay’s foreign direct investment plan and to support innovative planning that will lead to our region’s future economic success.”

For more information on the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, please visit http://www.tampabayexportalliance.com/

The Global Cities Initiative is a joint-project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase designed to help metropolitan leaders advance and grow their regional economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness on key economic indicators. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating a peer-learning network through replication and dissemination. For more information, see https://www.brookings.edu/project/global-cities/ or www.jpmorganchase.com/globalcities.