Tampa Bay’s strong economic base, high-profile developments, diverse culture, and desirable amenities have made it one of the country’s fastest-growing regions. Guided by its 2017 strategic plan, the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council (TBEDC), formerly the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, has been instrumental in several regional transformations. Despite the TBEDC’s achievements, the region’s untapped potential, coupled with significant changes to the practice of economic development, meant that further investments were needed to propel Tampa Bay to the next level.
In the spring of 2019, the TBEDC hired TIP Strategies to develop an organizational action plan. Findings from a comprehensive assessment of the regional economy and insights gained from meetings with 70 influential leaders and stakeholders provided an understanding of the region’s economic landscape. Based on this work, TIP identified three goals for the TBEDC to focus its efforts over the next three years (2020-2023): business development, talent attraction, and placemaking. The business development goal leveraged recent corporate investments, including the region’s strong record of foreign direct investment, by targeting five strategic growth areas that align with the region’s strengths: cybersecurity, fintech, health tech, supply chain management technologies, and cancer solutions. The talent goal sought to build on the highly successful Make It Tampa Bay campaign aimed at attracting Millennials to the region. Finally, the placemaking goal recognized the role that vibrant communities play in economic competitiveness. TIP also made recommendations for a capital campaign that would enable the TBEDC team to enhance its marketing, business development, and research capacity and address catalyst opportunities.