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Improving Alachua County’s Business Climate: Economic Diversification

Improving Alachua County’s Business Climate: Economic Diversification

The Gainesville Area Chamber, Alachua County Commission and County Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) are working together to improve the county’s business climate.

This week’s focus is on the Economic Diversification recommendations in the Business and Economic Growth Action Plan approved unanimously by the County Commission in March 2015.

The fourteen recommendations adopted to help diversify Alachua County’s economy are as follows:

  1. Resource Recovery Park – Develop the Alachua County Resource Recovery Park to attract light and advanced manufacturing businesses into the region:
    1. Initiate a business recruiting effort in partnership with the Council for Economic Outreach (CEO) to attract light and advanced manufacturing companies to the Resource Recovery Park.
    2. Develop a communications plan to disseminate information to corporate real estate officials, site selection firms, and companies in the recycling industries.
  1. Organize and facilitate initial meeting with municipalities and regional partners to refine and strengthen the Council for Economic Outreach (CEO) Business Retention and Expansion program to initiate a coordinated region-wide outreach and assistance program.
  1. Research options subject to Florida Statutes for agricultural classification tax policy to promote the growing of organic and sustainable growing methods in Alachua County and present findings to EDAC.
  1. Create an electronic pamphlet targeted to local and aspiring farmers with information describing regulations regarding agricultural land use, zoning and tax structure.
  1. Regional Food Hub: Organize and facilitate initial meeting with local food stakeholders to discuss their plans for developing a regional food hub that would aggregate, process, and distribute regionally grown food from producers to wholesalers and new markets.
  1. Provide technical assistance to local food stakeholders to inventory and map local agriculture/local food systems assets.
  1. Work with local food stakeholders to help identify federal, state and private grants to fund the initial development of a regional food hub.
  1. Evaluate the adoption of a common Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program by the County, City of Gainesville, Council for Economic Outreach (CEO), and municipal economic development stakeholders, allowing for the development of a comprehensive existing database based upon targeted industry sectors and geographic target areas. Each economic development stakeholder will be able to independently contribute to and update the database, allowing stakeholders to provide more outreach to existing businesses to offer assistance regarding general information and incentives opportunities.
  1. Present recommendations to modify County internal policy to encourage the purchasing of local food for County events.
  1. Include the following in the Alachua County Legislative Agenda 2016:
    1. Encourage the state legislature to revise Qualified Targeted Industry (QTI) program requirements so that it can be used for promoting the expansion of local businesses.
    2. Encourage the state legislature to expand the Enterprise Zone program in the Alachua County region.
    3. Work with Alachua County municipalities interested in obtaining the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI)

Incentives:

  1. Research and present recommendations to EDAC about the adoption of new local business incentives and inducements such as Foreign Trade Zone, local purchase preference, and local job creation incentives.
  1. Research other Florida jurisdiction’s incentives targeted toward entrepreneurs and start-ups in order to support new business development and growth in Alachua County and present recommendations to EDAC.
  1. Provide technical assistance to municipalities interested in creating new business incentives.
  1. Create a comprehensive summary of available incentives on County’s website

To access the Business and Economic Growth Action Plan, please click here.

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