Op-Ed

Enterprise Florida has opened the door to new business opportunities

Gov. Rick Scott has led a trade mission to Argentina, . Enterprise Florida has a team based in Buenos Aires, above.
Gov. Rick Scott has led a trade mission to Argentina, . Enterprise Florida has a team based in Buenos Aires, above.

As a job creator and educator who has devoted her professional life to developing entrepreneurs and innovators, I am writing from Buenos Aires where I am participating in an Enterprise Florida mission led by Gov. Rick Scott.

My companies and I are regularly invited on trade missions and seldom find a good fit. I have had the pleasure of speaking at several Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) events, but it wasn’t until this year that we took them up on their numerous offers of support.

We started a major initiative in Brazil this year, and a short call with the Sao Paolo EFI office resulted in several key meetings creating some of our first major partnerships. When I was invited to join the mission to Argentina, where I already have strong contacts and relationships, I felt I had a good backup plan in case their meetings fell through.

In reality, the many existing contacts I was hoping to see I can’t even fit in. The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) team in Buenos Aires has barely left me time to breathe — I am spending time with the new ministers and secretaries of both the national and city governments in between business meetings with every company on my wish list. I have been blown away by the professionalism of the entire EFI and USCS teams and their diligence in understanding my business needs and creating valuable meetings — not just with one person but usually with three to five people from each institution.

Even the bonding within the delegation has been wonderful. From Florida’s corporate titans like Eric Silagy of FPL to the fearless leaders of our beautiful airport, mayors, and a great set of entrepreneurs, the quality of the experience has been white glove.

I was shocked to learn that over 90 percent of Argentinian visa applications are to visit Florida, specifically Miami and Orlando, according to the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. And each of the 1 million Argentinian visitors to the United States every year is spending an average $6,000 during their visit — that’s $6 billion into Florida’s economy. In fact, Gov. Scott’s Enterprise Florida mission was the first delegation by a U.S. governor in more than 15 years. The new administration of President Mauricio Macri is building an open environment for business to flourish, and Florida’s existing relationship with Argentina should yield great results for both sides.

Next time I get an invite for an Enterprise Florida delegation, I am in. The Florida Bureau of Economic and Demographic Research has found that EFI’s trade programs immediately return $1.9 for every dollar spent, and that EFI’s foreign offices return $4 for every dollar of investment. I know the impact that this mission has had on Venture Hive, and our businesses and partners will yield several direct and indirect jobs in the state in the next quarter and a 100X return on my investment to join. I thank Gov. Scott and the EFI team for the work they do for job creators every day.

Susan Amat is CEO/Founder of Venture Hive.

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