Tampa Bay Positions Itself As A Key Global Market

As an incubator for entrepreneurship and business growth, Tampa Bay’s community leaders, partners and business owners are positioning the region as a key global market.

The 2013 International Town Hall hosted by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation provided leaders and business owners with key insights on entering the international marketplace and attracting foreign direct investments beneficial to the region and that also open new trade markets for local companies.

"This is an exciting opportunity for area business leaders to learn more about the international initiatives taking place in Tampa Bay,'' says Jim Pyburn, co-chair of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment task force, and director of Trade Development & Latin America for the Tampa Port Authority.

Tampa’s community partners have a strategic focus on global expansion opportunities, particularly through importing and exporting. As Tampa Bay businesses and community leaders explore and prepare for international expansion initiatives, it's essential to evaluate core strengths unique to the region.

"Look at the intersection between assets and opportunity. Trade changes your economic future, not only your pocketbook, but also in job creation,” says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, whose city was the 2011 pilot market for the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Export Initiative.

Rybak also presented leaders with a community case study that explores key objectives significant to the development of a regional export plan. "If we do this right, it changes who we are. It makes us better able to work together and affects us competitively,'' says Rybak.

As communities make shifts toward global expansion opportunities, it is important to build bridges that focus on leveraging community and governmental partnerships and strengthening business to business relationships that result in capitalizing on the strategies and expertise that have been effective for established local businesses that have traded in other places.

By concentrating on "globalized'' versus "globally interested,'' the region can benefit from fostering relationships among local businesses that have been successful in the international marketplace, and entrepreneurs and small businesses considering global expansion opportunities.

The 2013 International Town Hall workshop sessions gave attendees an opportunity to get advice from such experts as Joe Phillips of OCO Global, an authority on foreign investment and global economic development strategies. It also allowed information share on available resources and key steps involved in the international marketplace as well as valuable insights on trends and challenges businesses face in international business development.

"These workshops are invaluable for businesses considering global expansion,'' says Andrew McIntosh, co-chair of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment task force.

What's next as Tampa Bay grows as an international market?

Focusing on building a pathway that others follow by strategically emphasizing Tampa’s rich cultural history, capitalizing on business bridges, and growing the region from the inside-out in order to attract international investments and development projects.

For more information on Tampa Bay's international business initiatives, visit the Tampa Hillsborough EDC's website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Sources: Andrew McIntosh, Jim Pyburn and R.T. Ryback
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