December 12, 2019

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $7.5 Million to Help Establish the Tampa Bay Innovation Center Incubator

| 7/30/2019

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $7.5 million grant to the Pinellas County Board of Supervisors of Clearwater, Florida, to help build the Tampa Bay Innovation Center Incubator, a 45,000 square foot state-of-the-art business facility. The project, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $4.5 million in local funds, and is expected to create more than 460 jobs and spur more than $66 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is working diligently to support entrepreneurship and innovation across the country, especially by driving business investment to Opportunity Zones through special tax incentives,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The Tampa Bay Innovation Center Incubator will provide businesses and fledgling entrepreneurs with the technical assistance and space they need to succeed.”

“Florida is on a trend of continued economic momentum and the consistent support from the Trump administration is bolstering that trend,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The Tampa Bay area and our state will significantly benefit from this state-of-the-art business facility, which will help to foster innovation and high-skilled workforce development.”

“I proudly supported Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and I welcome the Department of Commerce’s investment to help build the Tampa Bay Innovation Center Incubator,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “This investment will foster a long-term, growth-centered environment in Saint Petersburg for small businesses to create new solutions and train a qualified workforce with the skills they need to pursue dignified work.”

“As Governor, I worked hard to make Florida the best place in the nation for businesses to succeed, including cutting more than $10 billion in taxes and reducing thousands of burdensome regulations,” said Senator Rick Scott. “The $7.5 million EDA grant to help build the Tampa Bay Innovation Center Incubator is great news for the Tampa Bay community and Florida’s local entrepreneurs. Investments like this build on our state’s incredible economic growth and success and give more Florida families the opportunity to succeed.”

“There are multiple indicators that our economy is moving in the right direction,” said Congressman Gus Biliarkis. “Small business growth is the backbone of our success. This federal investment in Pinellas County will spur private investment in our community and help emerging entrepreneurs create local jobs-a win/win for taxpayers.”

The project will be located in the newly created Innovation District on the southern edge of downtown St. Petersburg. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. EDA funds the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, read our blog post.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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