Florida Trend

Florida Small Business



May 24, 2018


Rural Advantages: Ready for Business

Easy access, abundant land and skilled workforce give Florida's rural counties special appeal.

Gary Shepherd | 9/24/2008

Credits, Refunds, Incentives

More Reasons to Locate in Rural Florida

» Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Over a minimum of four years, pays at least $6,000 per job created in an Enterprise Zone or rural county.

» Rural Job Tax Credit A tax credit against sales and use or corporate income tax may be taken by eligible businesses for the creation of new jobs at a rate of $1,000 per job created.

» Rural Infrastructure Fund Grants made to local government on behalf of a business may fund up to 30% of the costs for public infrastructure upgrades.

» Rural Community Development Revolving Loans A loan or loan guaranty available for a specific project that will lead to new jobs and increase the economic vitality and diversification of Florida’s rural counties.

Launching and running a business in a rural community has undeniable advantages — especially if that business is located in one of Florida’s 32 rural counties. In addition to an idyllic lifestyle and pristine natural beauty, rural Florida offers abundant land, a ready workforce and these advantages:

» Community colleges and training institutions are within a half-hour drive; urban amenities and coastal pleasures are never far away; and an excellent transportation network provides easy access.

» Broadband networks reach almost every corner of Florida.

» No Florida rural business is more than 90 miles from deepwater port or more than a two-hour drive from a major commercial airport.

» More than 60% of the continental U.S. can be reached via overnight freight from any Florida location.

» Rural-based businesses may be eligible for incentives, tax credits and worker training programs.


Three regions of Florida have been singled out for special attention as Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC). As such, these regions — North Central, Northwest and South Central — each put together a regional program of economic research, site selection and marketing.

North Central RACEC

With proximity to Interstates 10 and 75, rail lines and Jacksonville’s busy seaport, North Central Florida’s warehousing, logistics and supply chain industry is booming. Target, U.S. Cold Storage and Wal-Mart are among the corporate leaders with high-tech distribution centers here; others are planned.

In support, the Employ Florida Banner Center for Logistics & Distribution based at Lake City Community College in Columbia County has initiated associate of science and associate of applied science degree programs in supply chain management and logistics.

Ecotourism activities support a developing tourism industry sector in North Central counties. In 2008, government, business and environmental leaders formed the Ichetucknee Partnership to protect the crystal clear waters of the Ichetucknee River and its springs; the Suwannee River Water Management District has pledged $750,000 to fund the partnership.

Swimmers at Fanning Springs
Swimmers are drawn to crystal-clear Fanning Springs on the Suwannee River.

Since 2006, Madison County and its local municipalities have built a growth corridor to include sewer and water lines for three interchanges along I-10 to encourage industrial and commercial development.

Madison also approved a half-cent sales tax to pay for a new $20-million hospital, which will serve as a training site for students enrolled in North Florida Community College’s registered nursing program. Construction on the new, 25-bed Madison County Memorial Hospital is slated to begin in late 2008.

In Putnam County, Seminole Electric Cooperative plans to add a third 750-megawatt coal-fired unit, which will increase the plant’s generating capacity by 60%. Seminole serves approximately 1.7 million customers in portions of 46 Florida counties.

Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Business Florida

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook
2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, and the rest of his team NOAA, are predicting an 75 percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will either be near-normal or above normal.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you think Florida's election systems are secure?

  • No
  • I have doubts
  • Yes

See Results