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Florida Small Business



February 20, 2018


Tampa Bay: Research Reigns

Growing technology cluster draws R & D facilities to economical, accessible Tampa Bay region.

Gary Shepherd | 9/24/2008
Tampa Bay
Demographics for the Tampa Bay Region can be found at Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.
Tampa Bay Resources:

• Clearwater Christian College
• Eckerd College
• Everest University
• Florida College
• Florida Southern College
• Hillsborough Community College
• Manatee Community College
• New College of Florida
• Pasco-Hernando Community College
• Polk College
• Ringling School of Art and Design
• Saint Leo University
• St. Petersburg College
• Southeastern University
• University of South Florida
• University of Tampa
• Warner Southern College
• Webber International University

• St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport
• Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
• Tampa International Airport

• Port Manatee
• Port of St. Petersburg
• Port of Tampa

More and more companies are discovering why Florida’s eight-county Tampa Bay region is a great place to do business.

• It’s economical. According to the 2008 KPMG Competitive Alternatives Business Cost Index, Tampa Bay is No. 2 of the top 25 major U.S. markets for lowest business costs.

• It’s accessible. Conde Nast Traveller recognizes Tampa International Airport as one of the top three airports worldwide, and cargo moves easily to and from global destinations through Port Manatee and the Port of Tampa.

• It’s home to the University of South Florida, which, in recent years, has become a drawing card for world-renowned R&D facilities.


Draper Chooses Tampa Bay: Cambridge, Mass.-based Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. is the latest R&D firm with plans to establish a presence in Florida.

In July 2008, the Laboratory’s CEO Jim Shields announced that Draper would build two facilities in the Tampa Bay region — a BioMEMS R&D Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa and a Multi Chip Module (MCM) Center in St. Petersburg. Together, the facilities will create 165 new jobs, with an average annual wage of $75,000. As an integral player in the micro-technology cluster forming around the University of South Florida, SRI-St. Petersburg and others in the Tampa Bay region, Draper is expected to spawn additional economic development, including spin-off companies and high-wage jobs.

Draper’s expansion into Florida is a collaborative effort with USF, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Enterprise Florida, the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development and other public- and private-sector entities.

The BioMEMS R&D Center in Tampa will work in partnership with USF and its medical school to develop smaller and more functional medical devices using microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMS) technologies. The St. Petersburg lab will develop multichip modules for use in complex electronic equipment. In addition, Draper will work with Progress Energy Florida to improve efficiency at its coal-fired power plants.

Tags: Tampa Bay, Business Florida

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