By Sharon Hillstrom
Anyone operating a business knows there can be obstacles to growing your business. A few examples include finding the right talent for your workforce, managing permitting challenges during a facility expansion, and finding a new location to meet client demand for a new product or service.
What if you had a long-standing relationship with a trusted consultant who could connect you to workforce development resources and training, help you interact with government agencies, and bring all the parties to the table to navigate through a facility expansion or consolidation?
That’s exactly what the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) does through our Established Business Program. We offer a robust network and sophisticated approach to help businesses in Manatee County grow, add jobs and reinvest in our community. While we have an aggressive outreach program to recruit businesses to Manatee County from across the nation and overseas, we know that established businesses are responsible for as much as 70 percent of job growth.
We exclusively assist Manatee County businesses in targeted industries identified in our strategic plan. Those include advanced manufacturing, aviation/aerospace/defense, corporate headquarters, infotech, life sciences and sports performance. We focus on those industries because they are sectors that are growing nationally and globally, they tend to provide higher-wage careers, and we already have businesses here in those sectors and the resources to support more of them.
To manage the program, we have dedicated a team member, Elizabeth Cordes, who joins the EDC with 10 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Elizabeth works to cultivate strong relationships with C-level decisions makers at established businesses in Manatee County, connecting them to the resources and services they need to be globally competitive with their product or service.
Through in-depth consultation and intelligence gathering, Elizabeth measures, evaluates and develops strategies to increase competitiveness for established businesses in Manatee County. She’ll draw on the talents and experience of our EDC team and extensive partnerships in the region, the state, and beyond.
Here’s an example of our Established Business Program at work.
Sun Hydraulics is a global manufacturing business with facilities on both sides of the Manatee-Sarasota county line near Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The company has more than 700 employees locally. We have assisted Sun Hydraulics on many efforts, including multiple facility expansions, workforce development, and restoring operations after Hurricane Irma.
“The EDC has been the conduit to help bring together many contacts throughout the community,” wrote Wolfgang Dangel, the company’s CEO, in a recent note about the EDC’s relationship with Sun. “One of our current challenges is to find a quality workforce of blue-collar professionals in the local area.
“The EDC helped facilitate bringing together local education leaders, technical teachers and community organizations who could help us capture graduating high school seniors who are not going directly to college or trade school. A high school internship program was formed through CareerEdge to be the conduit to attract these students.
“Sun is very happy with the results from the inaugural summer. Our hopes are this can be a foundation that will lead to a much larger return of quality students in 2019. We greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Bradenton Area EDC in helping Sun Hydraulics meet our business requirements.”
Sun is just one example of many businesses we serve across a wide range of industries, sizes and growth stages. The criteria for businesses seeking assistance through our Established Business Program are a Manatee County location and operating in one of the targeted industries.
If your growing business in Manatee County needs our help to take that next step forward, please contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.