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FL: North Florida Econ Dev Partnership Brings New Tools for Site Selection

7 Sep, 2020


Sunlight is abundant in the 14 flourishing counties of the North Florida region, where spectacular natural resources also include low-cost land, timber, and rich farmland. Human resources here are equally impressive in a robust skilled workforce developed through world-class training and educational opportunities, while financial advantages like low-cost, high-capacity utilities and lucrative investment incentives offer low-hanging fruit for profitability.
 
And now, to this sunny region's natural, human and financial resources, the North Florida Economic Development Partnership (NFEDP) has added one more critical resource: Rich data that brings real illumination to the site selection process and empowers better decision-making on the part of investors and existing business.
 
With the unveiling of NFEDP's new website, featuring an interactive map powered by next-generation GIS (Geographic Information System), North Florida opens the way for genuinely enlightened, data-driven decisions by business and industry. The map covers all of the region's 14 counties and contains data in nearly a dozen categories including labor force, transportation, demographics, consumer expenditures, broadband service, energy, environmental and geographic factors, incentives, and post-secondary education. The map even enables continuous real-time tracking and data collection pertaining to COVID-19.
 
"This easy-to-use tool allows surface perusal or deep dives into granular data," NFEDP Director Jeff Hendry explains.  "It's much richer data than typically found on economic development websites."
 
Another key GIS feature is ZoomBusiness, an interactive, mobile-responsive directory allowing business-customer communication in real-time at no cost. With ZoomBusiness residents can easily locate restaurants, stores and other services, while businesses can provide customized data including website addresses, current hours of service, delivery or curbside pickup options and promotions—important information in light of COVID uncertainties.
 
Productive Partnerships
 
The map and website are the result of collaborative funding by the Duke Energy Foundation and the USDA. Duke Energy has always been a crucial economic development partner, Hendry notes, "supporting both our efforts and the success of area industry."
 
Working together is an empowering philosophy for the region's 14 counties, a verdant expanse of 9,100 sq. miles stretching from Jefferson County in the northwest to Putnam County in the southeast. Through NFEDP member counties collectively showcase their substantial natural, human and infrastructure resources, which include two major interstates and dual Class I rail service, plus easy access to five seaports and both international and regional airports.
 
Hendry expects the new website, reflecting the brand "Business growth is in our nature," will make digital exploration of these resources simpler and far more productive. "Features like the COVID tracking can be life-saving in every sense," he points out.
 
Hendry also notes in this sunny, forward-facing region, "New illumination makes it easier than ever to look on the bright side of NATURALLY doing business in North Florida."
 
For more information visit https://nflp.org and contact Executive Director, Jeff Hendry, at info@nflp.org or by calling 850.443.7103.
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