The Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE), organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC), is a six-day, high-level tour that showcases successful examples of entrepreneurship, innovation, strategic investments and public-private partnerships from a specific region/country that contribute to the economic development at the local, national, and regional levels.
This year, the North-Central Florida region has been selected for the 8th ACE exchange on December 3-9, 2017, which will bring 50 economic and political decision makers from across the Americas and beyond together for a tour of the innovative hubs, leading firms, and educational and research institutions in six Florida communities: Orlando/Orange County, Space Coast, Flagler County, St. Augustine, Gainesville, and Tallahassee-Leon County.
In Orlando/Orange County, participants will experience the area’s thriving tourism and hospitality industry, as well as booming industries in the life sciences, innovative technologies, advanced manufacturing and simulation through visits to Guidewell Innovation Center, University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering, BRIDG, Disney, and Lockheed Martin.
When delegates tour Florida's Space Coast, they will be visiting the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design at Florida Institute of Technology, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and Port Canaveral.
Flagler County will highlight the educational pipeline and Flagship Academies that offer hands-on learning for students in Agriculture, Aerospace/Aviation, Green Technology, Health Science, Engineering and Computer Science, Marine Research, Finance and Business, Leadership, and the Arts, as well as opportunities for businesses looking to establish U.S. headquarters and/or manufacturing facilities.
In St. Augustine, attendees will experience the city’s most famous tourist attractions and the inventive ways that private industry conserves its historic past with successful commercial ventures.
Gainesville will connect ACE participants with assets such as UF Health, Sid Martin Biotech Institute, University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which collectively drive the area as a mecca for business incubation, agriculture, and highly educated talent.
The tour closes in Tallahassee-Leon County, where attendees will discover how research and development, university commercialization, investments in public-private partnerships and placemaking, and a focus on the talent pipeline and inclusion, have catalyzed economic vitality in the community.
Throughout the ACE 8 tour, decision-makers to explore local and regional economic development models, share experiences and knowledge, build networks between the local and visiting stakeholders, and establish long-term collaborative partnerships to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems of the Americas and beyond.
Doreen Overstreet, Public Information Officer
Orange County Government
Sarah Levanti, Marketing & Communications Manager
Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast
321-638-2000, ext. 2007
Wanda Bray, Event Administrator
City of St. Augustine Department of Public Affairs
Alyssa D. Brown, Communications Director
Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Cristina Paredes, Deputy Director
Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality
Organization of American State/Organización de los Estados Americanos
OAS Development/OEA Desarrollo
Inter-American Competitiveness Network/Red Interamericana de Cooperación (RiacNet)