Thursday, January 15, 2009

Florida "Economic Gardening" Business Loan Pilot Program

Although not all of the FPC members will qualify for the program Randy Berridge notes below, I thought you would be interested in learning about it. Another good example of the fine work that Randy and the FHTCC does for the high-tech industry in Florida, which of course includes optics and photonics.

Jim Pearson
FPC Executive Director

Dear Presidents Hitt, Genshaft and Machen:

I am pleased to report that earlier today the Florida Legislaturepassed the Economic Gardening Business Loan Pilot Program, which willhelp provide loan support to businesses with between 10 and 50employees that are poised for job growth, and that will createadditional high-wage jobs in Florida.

This loan program will help support companies that have grown pastthe startup phase, but have not yet reached maturity. Support fororganizations in this "gap" area was identified in the FloridaInnovation Study that the Florida High Tech Corridor Council helpedfund last summer, as something that was vital to future growth andexpansion of high-wage innovation businesses in Florida.

I was honored to have been asked by Steve Quello, a market researchconsultant who assisted the Governors Office of Tourism, Trade andEconomic Development (OTTED) in developing this proposal, to helpidentify the opportunities associated with developing this economicgardening legislation. In this time when funding sources aredecreasing, it provides businesses that are poised for growth with amuch needed tool to help ensure such expansion.
While the emphasis on this bill is on job growth, I also expect thathaving access to additional capital will help some companies in thiscategory take advantage of the Matching Grant Research Programfunding that has been so instrumental in the growth and developmentof many companies across the Corridor. For companies of this size,having the ability to partner with researchers at our three researchuniversities can often be another major thrust to future growth and expansion.

I appreciate your continued leadership and dedication to theCouncil's mission to attract, retain and grow high tech industry inthe Corridor and will continue to keep you updated with any futurestate legislation that impacts the Corridor and our mission.



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