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2010 Florida Statutes
Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program.
Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program.—
There is created within the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development the Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program. The purpose of the pilot program is to stimulate investment in Florida’s economy by providing technical assistance for expanding businesses in the state. As used in this section, the term “office” means the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development.
The office shall contract with one or more entities to administer the pilot program under this section. The office shall award each contract in accordance with the competitive bidding requirements in s. 287.057 to an entity that demonstrates the ability to implement the pilot program on a statewide basis, has an outreach plan, and has the ability to provide counseling services, access to technology and information, marketing services and advice, business management support, and other similar services. In selecting these entities, the office also must consider whether the entities will qualify for matching funds to provide the technical assistance.
A contracted entity administering the pilot program shall provide technical assistance for eligible businesses which includes, but is not limited to:
Access to free or affordable information services and consulting services, including information on markets, customers, and competitors, such as business databases, geographic information systems, and search engine marketing.
Development of business connections, including interaction and exchange among business owners and resource providers, such as trade associations, think tanks, academic institutions, business roundtables, peer-to-peer learning sessions, and mentoring programs.
To be eligible for assistance under the pilot program, a business must be a for-profit, privately held, investment-grade business that employs at least 10 persons but not more than 50 persons, has maintained its principal place of business in the state for at least the previous 2 years, generates at least $1 million but not more than $25 million in annual revenue, qualifies for the tax refund program for qualified target industry businesses under s. 288.106, and, during 3 of the previous 5 years, has increased both its number of full-time equivalent employees in this state and its gross revenues.
A contracted entity administering the pilot program, in selecting the eligible businesses to receive assistance, shall choose businesses in more than one industry cluster and, to the maximum extent practicable, shall choose businesses that are geographically distributed throughout Florida or are in partnership with businesses that are geographically distributed throughout Florida.
A business receiving assistance under the pilot program must enter into an agreement with the contracted entity administering the program to establish the business’s commitment to participation in the pilot program. The agreement must require, at a minimum, that the business:
Attend a minimum number of meetings between the business and the contracted entity administering the pilot program.
Report job creation data in the manner prescribed by the contracted entity administering the pilot program.
Provide financial data in the manner prescribed by the contracted entity administering the program.
The office or the contracted entity administering the pilot program may prescribe in the agreement additional reporting requirements that are necessary to track the progress of the business and monitor the business’s implementation of the assistance. The contracted entity shall report the information to the office on a quarterly basis.
A contracted entity administering the pilot program is authorized to promote the general business interests or industrial interests of the state.
The office shall review the progress of a contracted entity administering the pilot program at least once each 6 months and shall determine whether the contracted entity is meeting its contractual obligations for administering the pilot program. The office may terminate and rebid a contract if the contracted entity does not meet its contractual obligations.
On December 31 of each year, beginning in 2009, the office shall submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives which describes in detail the progress of the pilot program. The report must include, at a minimum, the number of businesses receiving assistance, the number of full-time equivalent jobs created as a result of the assistance, if any, the amount of wages paid to employees in the newly created jobs, and the locations and types of economic activity undertaken by the businesses.
s. 2, ch. 2009-13.