Economic Development Organization Recognized for Efforts in Support of Small Businesses
PONTE VEDRA, Fla. (August 20, 2015) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, is pleased to announce Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) as the recipient of the 2015 Florida Outstanding Resource Partner of the Year award. The award, given to an individual or organization for making significant contributions in serving the state’s small businesses, was presented today to Secretary Bill Johnson, President and CEO of EFI, on behalf of the organization by Florida SBDC CEO and Network State Director Michael Myhre at EFI’s Board of Directors’ meeting in Ponte Vedra.
“Enterprise Florida epitomizes what we consider a true partner for sharing a common mission with our network in helping Florida businesses grow and compete in the global marketplace,” said Myhre. “We have worked closely with Enterprise Florida over the past three years to provide export assistance to our state’s small businesses. We are honored to present them with this award in appreciation of our partnership and as recognition for the important work they’’re doing to promote Florida as the best state for business.”
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Florida SBDC and EFI, in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, offer a scholarship export assistance program to help businesses identify overseas growth strategies. Under the MOU, qualified “new and infrequent export” manufacturers and professional service providers have the opportunity to meet with a Florida SBDC International Trade Specialist to prepare a customized export marketing plan.
The plan, which takes an average of 120 hours to develop, includes a thorough export readiness assessment, industry analysis, market analysis with target market recommendations, a review of overseas trade opportunities and an action plan that includes export promotion programs and services. In 2014, the service received a 100 percent recommendation rating, clients reported a 19 percent average increase in employment, clients reported a 21 percent average increase in sales, and 44 percent of respondents reported an increase in export sales.
In March, Johnson was named Secretary of Commerce and President and CEO of EFI following a 35-year tenure with Miami-Dade County government. Governor Scott appointed Secretary Johnson to lead EFI, the state’s principal economic development organization serving as a public-private partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders. Under Secretary Johnson’s leadership, EFI works collaboratively with state and regional economic development organizations to help Florida remain the most business-friendly state, and to create a more promising future for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and their employees.
“Enterprise Florida is honored to be recognized as the Florida Outstanding Resource Partner of the Year,” said Secretary Johnson. “A fundamental mission of EFI is to help our state’s businesses expand and create jobs through finding new markets. Through our partnership with the Florida SBDC, small businesses are better equipped than ever to compete in the global marketplace.”
Previous award recipients include Todd Kocourek, CEO of Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (2014), Dr. Rick Harper, Associate Vice President of the Center for Research and Economic Opportunity at the University of West Florida (2013), and Janice Gilley, Assistant Vice President of Community and Governmental Relations at the University of West Florida (2013).