Governor Scott to Embark on Trade Mission to Colombia

Florida’s overseas trade missions position Florida as a global hub for business and creates jobs for Florida’s families

On December 2, Governor Scott will lead a trade mission to Bogotá, Colombia with more than 190 participants representing 116 Florida companies, statewide organizations and higher educational institutions to promote economic development opportunities in the Sunshine State. Colombia is Florida’s second largest trading partner, with more than $9 billion in bilateral trade. Florida also accounts for one-fourth of the total U.S. trade with Colombia, and 37 percent of U.S. exports to Colombia move through Florida.

Enterprise Florida (EFI) has organized this trade mission and six other international business development missions Governor Scott has led since taking office. Previously, Governor Scott has led missions to Panama, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The goal of these international missions is twofold. First, they introduce Florida’s businesses, elected officials and community leaders firsthand to global business opportunities through introductions to prospective clients and markets that provide exporting potential for their local companies. Second, the missions aim to attract job-creating foreign direct investment into the state. These have been core activities for EFI since the late 1990s, soon after the public-private partnership was created to serve as the state’s lead economic development organization.

EFI, along with Governor Scott, promotes Florida as a global business destination through its Florida Export Sales Missions. These “matchmaking missions,” organized with support from the U.S. Commercial Service, allow Florida businesses to meet one-to-one with foreign companies to discuss economic development and business opportunities. The nations targeted tend to be those that are major trade partners with Florida. Enterprise Florida facilitates affordable travel packages to enable businesses to meet prospective international clients. In addition, Governor Scott has led business development missions with EFI to promote economic development activities in targeted industries that are important to Florida’s economy.

Governor Scott said, “Florida is perfectly positioned to be a global hub for business. We are committed to growing our relationship across the world in order to create jobs for Florida’s families, and that is why the missions we embark on with EFI are vital to Florida’s economic success. These missions help us attract new industries and businesses to Florida and further cement our standing as one of the nation’s top trading states. I look forward to visiting Colombia and with the recent ratification of the Free Trade Agreements, I am convinced that Florida and Colombia’s growing relationship will expand even more.”

Manny Mencía, senior vice president of Enterprise Florida’s International Trade Division, said, “A major goal of these missions is to help increase our state’s exports, which leads to more jobs, by paving the way to greater sales opportunities for Florida companies. Companies that export, grow faster and are more profitable than companies that do not – and it is clear that we must make this a top priority in Florida.”

Florida Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida President & CEO Gray Swoope notes that “international trade and foreign investment combined are responsible for more than 1.4 million Florida jobs, or about 17.3 percent of the state’s employment. Florida benefits greatly from a Governor who understands global trade’s effect on job creation and economic prosperity. When Governor Scott leads these missions, they not only generate a higher level of participation and results, but also attract a higher level of attention and enhance Florida’s business image in the host country. We applaud him for being a champion of our efforts to expand Florida’s international trade and business development.”

A Record of Success: International missions have been very successful for Florida, providing a notable return on the state’s investment into these business development activities and long-range jobs-producing opportunities.

Governor’s Business Development Mission to Panama

Panama City

March 17-18, 2011

  • The objective of this mission was to assess the opportunities from the Panama Canal Expansion.
  • The delegation — six Florida port directors, business leaders and executives from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Association of Manufacturers and Associated Industries of Florida – enhanced Florida’s economic relationship with Panama through strengthened ties between state leaders and the Republic of Panama and Florida seaports with the Panama Canal Authority.

Governor’s Business Development Mission to Canada

Montreal and Toronto

June 6-10, 2011

  • The objective of this mission was to promote investment into Florida.
  • Governor Scott and Florida economic development organizations participated in 155 FDI (foreign direct investment) recruitment meetings.
  • Governor Scott announced the Canadian security company Garda will relocate its U.S. headquarters to Boca Raton Florida, creating 100 professional jobs, which has been exceeded.

Team Florida Trade and Business Development Mission to Brazil

São Paulo and São Jose dos Campos, Brazil

October 22-27, 2011

  • The objective of this mission was to provide Florida companies with an opportunity to increase sales of their products and services.
  • 51 Florida companies participated in a two-day Florida expo and matchmaking event with Brazilian businesses. The Florida companies reported more than $96,684,500 in actual and expected future sales.
  • Governor Scott announced that Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer will invest $50 million to establish new manufacturing facilities at Melbourne Airport. The project is slated to produce more than 200 jobs over five years.

Governor’s Business Development Mission to Israel

Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Jerusalem

December 8-15, 2011

  • The objective of this mission was to promote investment into Florida and promote Florida as a platform for Israeli companies into the U.S., Latin American and Caribbean market. The Governor met with potential Israeli investors, delivered presentations on Florida business climate to Israeli business organizations and was a speaker in the GLOBES Conference. (GLOBES is the leading financial newspaper in Israel.)
  • Governor Scott met with six Israeli companies that are investment or expansion prospects for Florida and spoke at the seminar “Florida: Platform for Israeli Companies Doing Business in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the audience for which included 45 Israeli business executives representing SMEs with an interest in penetrating the Latin American market.

Governor’s Business Development Mission to Spain

May 21-24, 2012

  • The objective of this mission was to promote Spanish investment into Florida.
  • Included nine events and 13 meetings with potential investment projects. Governor Scott met Spanish companies interested in investing in Florida and delivered presentations on Florida business climate to several Spanish business organizations.
  • The following companies based in Spain will add 465 jobs within three years in Miami-Dade County:
  • Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL USA), one of the world’s largest global construction companies is expanding its presence in the U.S. market by adding a new U.S. South Region headquarters in Northwest Miami-Dade County. Specializing in civil engineering, healthcare and university projects, OHL’s new location will add 255 direct jobs within three years and $22 million in capital investment.
  • Miami City Tour (formerly El Grupo Julià), a travel and tourism transportation company will open its first U.S. location in Miami Beach, adding 150 new direct jobs within three years and $4 million in capital investment.
  • TotalBank, a leading integrated retail-commercial bank in South Florida and a member of Grupo Banco Popular Español will further expand in Miami-Dade County, adding 10 new branches with 60 direct jobs within three years and $4 million in capital investment. TotalBank is already a leading integrated retail commercial bank in South Florida with more than $2.3 billion in assets and 19 convenient locations throughout Miami-Dade County.
  • BBVA, a Spain-based retail bank that entered the Florida marketplace through acquiring Compass bank, has 45 full-service branches in the Jacksonville area along with loan production offices in Orlando and Miami. This bank is expanding in the Miami market by offering domestic private banking and wealth management services. BBVA will add 45 jobs at an average wage of $60,000 annually

Team Florida Business Development Mission to United Kingdom

London and Farnborough, England

July 7-12, 2012

  • The goal of this mission was to promote worldwide investment into Florida and further develop the state’s aviation cluster through access to the aviation and aerospace companies attending the biannual Farnborough Airshow.
  • Governor Scott and EFI recruitment staff met with more than 40 major aviation and seven Aerospace companies with investment potential in Florida.
  • Tradeshow participants reported $41 million in combined actual and expected export sales for the next 24 months and 250 sales leads.
  • Following this mission, Governor Scott announced that Pratt & Whitney will create 230 new jobs at an average wage of $81,000 as part of its efforts to establish jet engine manufacturing and test operations in Palm Beach County.

Many businesses also participate in multiple international missions because they provide incredible value and return for Florida’s companies. Below are recent success stories for Florida:

Magna-Bon International LLC

Okeechobee-based Magna-Bon International LLC participated in the October, 2011 Brazil Trade Mission and will embark to Colombia next week. Magna – Bon produces and distributes agricultural products for algae and bacteria control. Magna-Bon owner Joel Agler says being affiliated with the missions Governor Scott leads brings credibility to his company when promoting and selling in overseas markets. For example, Magna-Bon is EPA-approved in the United States, which benefits the company domestically. Other nations may recognize that standard but also place higher value on a business prospect when it has alliances or support from its government.

“It’s helpful to have government on your side,” Agler said. “It’s important to say we’re with Team Florida.” Agler’s 14 preset appointments in Brazil with “high quality people,” he describes, bore fruit in several ways, one of which being an import permit that now allows his products to be shipped into Brazil.

“I learned a lot in Brazil, but Colombia will be better because of the Free Trade Agreement,” Agler said. He mentioned that he became interested in participating after hearing Governor Scott speak about the benefits of participating in these missions. “And the fact that the Governor is going is a win situation for us,” Agler said.

Sunshine Industries

Mita Burke, CEO of the family-owned, multinational Sunshine Industries in Coral Gables, said “The introductions, exposure and results we’ve gotten have been over the top. Since our participation in the mission to Brazil last year, we are exporting there consistently and successfully. It has really been very fruitful for us,” Burke said. “The introductions we were able to make during the mission have us very excited about the possibilities and the future is looking good. The companies we met with were all very receptive to our products. It’s a shame more people don’t pay attention to these types of services provided by Enterprise Florida.”

yNs Med Spa, Inc

The Brazil mission made a difference for the Naples company yNs Med Spa, Inc., which specializes in skin care products. CEO Ann Breusch said her company was able to collaborate with a large firm that will distribute its skincare products to dermatologists.

“This is a game changer for our company. Just the partnership with Brazil will result in hiring five more employees. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Gold Key service for small businesses to help sell USA made products globally,” Breusch said.

Businesses may qualify for these grants, which reduce the cost of participating in a trade mission. For the Florida mission, a trade expo and gold key package cost $1,200, but SMEs could qualify to pay only $500. “Without the Gold Key grant given to small businesses, we would not have been able to expand our international business especially during the current economic situation.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Chancellor John R. Watret, Ph.D. acknowledges the university’s longstanding partnership with Enterprise Florida, which he says has opened doors to business opportunities worldwide. Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus provides educational opportunities for aspiring professionals in the aviation and aerospace industry through an expanding global network of campuses and technology enhanced learning.

“Of particular importance to Embry-Riddle has been expansion in emerging aviation economies,” Watret emphasizes. “Enterprise Florida’s support and mentorship was integral in the successful opening of a new subsidiary, Embry-Riddle Asia, headquartered in Singapore. EFI events and missions have created valuable connections with foreign governments, industry and individual customers in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East that will continue to enhance the university’s international brand and serve its mission of teaching the science, practice and business of aviation and aerospace around the world.”

City of Tampa

Representatives from Florida’s communities are regular mission-goers in their quest to scope new opportunities for helping their city, county or region grow and prosper.

“The trip to Colombia is an opportunity to tell our story and make the case to businesses abroad that Tampa is the best place to live, work, and play. I will market what we have to offer – Florida’s largest port, a world-class airport, and incredible economic potential,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.


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