Located in the Tampa Bay region, Pinellas County, Florida, is home to beautiful beaches, vibrant communities, excellent colleges and universities, and diverse and forward-looking companies, assets that have served it well through tumultuous times. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the county has been effective in working with businesses to accommodate both remote work options and to create new commercial office spaces. Changes in trade policy have opened new opportunities for attracting international companies. Further, new federal funding sources will continue to facilitate investment in infrastructure and tech growth. While the future is bright, the county faces several challenges including limited land for development, stagnant wages, increasing traffic congestion, and rising home prices.
Reacting effectively to these complex issues requires a clear sense of where progress is being made and a clear vision for the future. With this in mind, Pinellas County engaged TIP to prepare a five-year comprehensive economic development strategic plan that would build on the successes of Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) and leverage emerging opportunities. The plan was organized around three areas—business development and competitiveness, real estate development and redevelopment, and talent attraction and development—with high-impact collaborative initiatives highlighted under each goal. Examples of these high-impact collaborations include working with Pinellas County municipalities to align regional economic development messaging and to solidify the county’s role in the One Pinellas Business Alliance, building relationships with partners and site selection professionals to drive investment and to enhance the Employment Sites Program, and strengthening regional partnerships to sustain talent initiatives and to address critical workforce skills needs within target industries. The inclusion of metrics for tracking progress on program and economic outcomes under each goal will help build support for PCED’s efforts, inform decision-making, and provide a tool for communicating with internal and external audiences. Through the implementation of the plan’s collaborative, metrics-driven approach to economic development, Pinellas County will be well-positioned to foster resilience; encourage equitable growth; and build long-term prosperity for its businesses, residents, and future generations.