The Top 10 Reasons to Locate and Expand in Pinellas County
· Workforce: Pinellas has the second largest base of manufacturing employment in Florida (only Dade County has more workers in the industry). This results in excellent availability of a quality workforce in engineering, production, research and management of manufacturing firms. Florida is a right to work state and wage rates are below the national average. WorkNet Pinellas assists employers with all of their recruiting needs
· Industry Clusters: We have well-developed industry clusters in the life sciences/medical technologies, aviation/aerospace/defense, business/financial services, information technology and advanced manufacturing sectors. This means there is an extensive network of suppliers, service-providers, joint venture partners and business associations to support operations in these fields.
· Research and Development: Pinellas has become a center for research and development in marine science, electronic instruments & sensors and nanotechnology. Marine Science research is clustered around the USF-St. Petersburg campus and includes SRI St. Petersburg, USGS, and numerous other state and federal marine institutes. Draper Labs and SRI both have facilities devoted to the research, development and production of extremely small electro-mechanical devices.
· Infrastructure: Pinellas has an extensive network of infrastructure for utilities and transportation. Water, sewer, electric, gas and fiber optic communications are available to every commercial and industrial site in the county. Two international airports, two deep water ports and the interstate highway system connect Tampa Bay to the world.
· Available sites: Pinellas has available sites and buildings for nearly every conceivable need. Each company considering the area should be able to choose from several facilities that are ready to occupy and/or sites that are construction-ready.
· Educational system: Pinellas offers an educational system designed to meet the needs of the local business community. Magnet Centers at elementary, middle and high schools partner with local businesses to provide relevance to a child’s education and demonstrate career paths available in the local market. Centers of Excellence in many of our high schools train youth for jobs in engineering, manufacturing, architecture, computer science, financial services and health care. Pinellas Technical Education Center and St. Petersburg College provide training that can be customized to the needs of individual businesses, offering everything from certificate programs to four year degrees.
· Entrepreneurial Spirit: Pinellas has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a great place to start a new business. Educational and economic development organizations all offer numerous training and mentoring/counseling opportunities for those who want to start a new venture. The Tampa Bay Innovation Center and TEC Launch programs provide space and extensive technical support to early stage technology companies.
· Existing Industry Support: Pinellas County offers excellent existing industry support programs. For each of the past six years, Pinellas County led the state in the amount of Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) dollars awarded to local companies, bringing nearly $5 million to help train nearly 17,000 workers. We maintain close contact with the largest employers in our target industries through regular face to face meetings, industry associations and our 70 member Pinellas County Economic Development Council. The Florida Medical Manufacturing Consortium and the Florida Federal Contractors Association are two state-wide organizations based in Pinellas that support the needs of our local industry clusters. The Pinellas Technology and Business Innovation Exchange is a reverse trade show where subcontractors exhibit and defense industry contractors meet new suppliers. Pinellas County's Annual Finance Fair offers entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to discuss their needs with loan officers or just browse among the many lending options available. Our Pinellas County Business Development Center provides technical assistance for SBA loans and SBIR/STTR grants throughout the year.
· Arts and Culture: The county offers a wide variety of arts and culture opportunities. The Salvador Dali Museum is the only Michelin-rated art museum in the southeastern United States and brings visitors from around the world. The Museum of Fine Arts, the Florida Holocaust Museum, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium are just a few of the many art, history and science museums located here. American Stage Theater provides live professional theater using local and regional actors, while the Mahaffey Theater and Ruth Eckerd Hall feature the Florida Orchestra, Broadway shows, and top-rated concerts and comedy tours.
· Sports and Recreation: Finally, Pinellas County is known around the world as a top tourist destination, with 35 miles of spectacular white sand beaches and endless sports and recreation opportunities. We’re home to the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays, and host spring training and minor league franchises for the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Tampa Bay area also boasts the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers (winners of Superbowl XXXVII) and the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning (winners of the 2004 Stanley Cup). The award-winning Pinellas Trail is a 34 mile long linear park that is popular with joggers, cyclists and inline skaters. Both the Ironman World Championship 70.3 and the St. Anthony’s triathlon run, bike and swim through Pinellas. The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg brings Indy Car and LeMans series racers to the area, and the PGA tour Transitions Championship at Innisbrook gets golfers and their fans into the swing of spring. There’s also world-class fishing, scuba diving, sailing, tennis, kayaking and even bird-watching all right here in Pinellas County.