State Resources

Resources from the State of Florida appear on this page:

1. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity – The DEO Website includes many valuable resources on the subject of this Report. An excerpt from one of multiple pages of importance follows.

a) Florida Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI)
Section 288.0656, Florida Statutes, establishes the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) to better serve Florida’s rural communities by providing a more focused and coordinated effort among state and regional agencies that provide programs and services for rural areas.

• Responds to specific community needs and requests.
• Works with communities to improve their rural economies.
• Assists communities in improving access to housing, health care, and educational opportunities.
• Recommends waivers of provisions of economic development programs on a project-by-project basis.
• Undertakes advocacy, outreach, and capacity building to improve conditions in rural communities.
• Provides direct access and referrals to appropriate state agencies as well as county and city associations.
• Reviews and evaluates the impact of statutes and rules on rural communities and works to minimize adverse impact.

For further details:

b) Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern: Though not a program of the DEO, the Department administers grant programs and laws that relate to this important information:
Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC) are defined as rural communities, or a region composed of rural communities, that have been adversely affected by extraordinary economic events or natural disasters. The Governor by executive order may designate up to three RACECs, which establishes each region as a priority assignment for REDI agencies and allows the Governor to waive criteria of any economic development incentive including, but not limited to: the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program under section 288.106 F.S., the Quick Response Training Program and the Quick Response Training Program for participants in the welfare transition program under section 288.047 F.S., transportation projects under section 288.063 F.S., the brownfield redevelopment bonus refund under section 288.107 F.S., and the rural job tax credit program under section 212.098 F.S. and section 220.1895 F.S.

Florida’s Designated RACECs

• Northwest Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern: Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington counties, and the City of Freeport in Walton County. To learn more about the Northwest RACEC region, please contact Opportunity Florida.

• South Central Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern: DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties, and the cities of Pahokee, Belle Glade, and South Bay (Palm Beach County), and Immokalee (Collier County). For more information about the South Central RACEC region, please contact Florida’s Heartland Regional Economic Development Initiative, Inc.

• North Central Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern: Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Putnam, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union counties. For more information about the North Central RACEC region, please contact North Florida Economic Development Partnership.
For further details:

c) Florida’s Communities Plan for Economic Development

The following section provides examples of land use planning in support of economic development that have been undertaken by some Florida communities. It illustrates that economic and land use planning efforts work together to prepare sites for the creation of new industry clusters, which supports the expansion of existing businesses and that protects essential commerce centers, such as Florida’s ports and airports. The next section includes examples that illustrate community efforts to promote infill and redevelopment in urban cores. Many of the examples reveal that land use planning efforts have involved public-private contributions to achieve measurable economic results.

Several of the DEO examples are included here. Links are on the DEO site.

  • Medical City, Orlando – The City of Orlando adopted the Southeast Master Plan to provide protections to the Orlando International Airport; to promote compatible and complimentary development in adjacent commerce centers; to establish standards for mixed-use development; and to identify the necessary supporting infrastructure. Find out more about how the City was poised for growth, the emergence of a new industry cluster known as Medical City, and their ongoing efforts.
  • Jackson County Manufacturing and Distribution Centers – Jackson County, centrally located in Florida’s Panhandle, offers shovel-ready sites and access to railroads, major highways and commercial airports. Businesses in Jackson County are eligible for tax incentives and credits under the Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern program and may access regional networks through Opportunity Florida. Read more about the County’s commitment to growing the local and regional economy, and their community.
  • Lee County Tradeport Area – A central tenet of Lee County’s economic development strategies has been promoting research and development, light industrial, and office use in an area encompassing the Southwest Florida International Airport, Florida Gulf Coast University, and surrounding lands, which is known as the “Renewable Energy and Research Diamond.” Tradeport is located within the Renewable Energy and Research Diamond. Learn about Tradeport, its designation as such in the Comprehensive Plan and the growing industry cluster in this area.
  • DeSoto County – DeSoto County is committed to planning for the future economic growth within the community. The DeSoto County 2030 Comprehensive Plan supports the County’s future economic and physical growth; providing protections for rural and agricultural commercial activities, and establishing a framework for growth within the County’s business and industrial centers. Read more about DeSoto County’s efforts, programs, and partnerships to promote economic development.

d) Competitive Florida Partnership — a new technical assistance program under development at the DEO.

Communities that take action to build and enhance their local economy while staying true to what makes them unique have a competitive advantage. Seizing that advantage, the Competitive Florida Partnership helps a community value those assets that makes them special and challenges them to set realistic goals for advancing their economic development vision. A community that participates in this technical assistance program is committed to innovative strategies that promote partnerships, community design, and a viable economy. This partnership program will create a network of vibrant communities and passionate leaders who gain ideas on how to reach their goals through the success and lessons learned from their peers. A community that makes a formal commitment to the Competitive Florida Partnership receives enhanced support from the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida as well as state-wide recognition and celebration of their successes along the way.

DEO advocates for a holistic approach to job creation that goes beyond recruitment of new businesses and industries. For this reason, the components listed below should be considered when determining what to include in your economic development vision and strategy. There are many actions a community can take to attract new industry and keep the ones they currently have, while working to build partnerships and encourage innovative community design. In the future, you’ll be able to visit our website for more information on ways to increase community competitiveness under the topics below:

1. Whole community approach to planning and implementation.
2. Retain current businesses and support expansion.
3. Attract new businesses and industries.
4. Build human capital and develop the workforce.
5. Encourage innovation and entrepreneur ship.
6. Preserve sense of place.
7. Build community leadership.
8. Encourage commercial district revitalization.
9. Improve resiliency to disasters.
10. Provide quality education.
11. Increase the availability of affordable housing for the workforce.
12. Provide and promote recreational opportunities.
13. Ensure the availability of quality healthcare facilities.
14. Promote sustainable building and economic development practices.
15. Support neighborhood revitalization.

e) Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (former)
As of October 1, 2011, the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development (OTTED) is a part of the newly created Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The OTTED name has changed to the Division of Strategic Business Development. Please visit the new Web site for more information. ( Once you are on the DEO home page, you can select the Business Growth and Partnerships menu at the top to take you the information that was originally provided on the OTTED Web page.

2. Enterprise Florida

Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI) is a public-private partnership serving as Florida’s primary organization devoted to statewide economic development.
EFI’s mission is: to facilitate job growth for Florida’s businesses and citizens leading to a vibrant statewide economy.

EFI accomplishes this mission by focusing on a wide range of industry sectors, including clean energy, life sciences, information technology, aviation/aerospace, homeland security/defense, financial/professional services, manufacturing and beyond. In collaboration with a statewide network of regional and local economic development organizations, EFI helps to improve Florida’s business climate, ensuring the state’s global competitiveness.

Enterprise Florida is committed to assisting companies confidentially with their expansion and location plans. EF provides site selection services, demographic information, incentive information, trade leads and much more. EF also coordinate introductions to its network of economic development partners located throughout the state.

• EF’s Knowledge Center of varied resource links:

EF services are identified by eight regional microsites:
• Northwest
• North Central
• Northeast
• East Central
• Tampa Bay
• Southwest
• South Central
• Southeast

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