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FPL creates data site for economic developers

To help attract new businesses to the state, Florida Power & Light’s office of economic development has developed two web-based tools to assist local economic development officials and companies that are considering expanding in Florida or relocating here.

FPL’s new PoweringFlorida.com website, free to the public, contains information on demographics, wages, labor, sites and buildings and other aspects of communities within the 35 counties in FPL’s service territory. Via an interactive map, users can draw a circle around any area and evaluate the area’s spending patterns, businesses, workforce, wages, average commute time and other data.

“If you’re an expanding or relocating business, this is the kind of information you’re looking for,” says Lynn Pitts, director of FPL’s economic development office. Pitts, who spearheaded the project, says FPL talked with site selectors and conducted focus groups to determine what information to include.

The site also provides information about five industry sectors across the state – aviation/aerospace, distribution and logistics, manufacturing, corporate headquarters and life science — as well as information about the primary industries in six regions of the state.

Powering Florida
At FPL's PoweringFlorida.com, you can mine deep data and customize maps with overlays.

FPL has also created a password-protected link to another site, the PoweringFlorida Resource Center, to help economic development officials assess their regions’ economic assets and determine whether they’re targeting companies that are appropriate. 

“They can look at their local economy, figure out which type of clusters they’ve got in terms of businesses and whether those businesses are growing or shrinking, how wages are trending up or down and a whole array of information that helps them understand what their local economy is about,” Pitts says. The site also provides information about 31 industry sectors and identifies the most important factors that companies in those sectors evaluate before expanding or relocating.

Once economic developers determine which industry sectors their regions are most compatible with, they can access an international database of corporations to look for prospects. The data, from OneSource, includes information about 14 million companies and includes financial data, product information, growth statistics as well as information about current executive and locations.

“What we’re trying to do is put tools in the hands of local economic developers that make their chance of success much higher than just doing a broad-end, open-ended type of marketing program,” says Pitts, who will unveil both websites later this week at the Enterprise Florida Board/Stakeholders Council meeting in Tallahassee. The password-protected site, which can be accessed through PoweringFlorida.com, will be available to the primary economic development groups in each of Florida's 67 counties.