St. Petersburg reaches milestone, creating first ever Economic Development Corp.

Posted at 6:29 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 01:54:50-04

St. Petersburg reaching a business milestone by creating its own Economic Development Corp. 

"St. Petersburg has had a competitive disadvantage," said Mayor Rick Kriseman.

But the city is playing catch up by opening its first ever EDC.

"It says that we're not willing to take the backseat to anybody any longer," he said.

Kriseman has been pushing for an EDC since he ran for office. EDCs help attract national businesses. AN EDC sells them on why it's in their better interest to relocate to St. Pete. Companies like LumaStream Inc. and Priatek have already done that on their own, in the last couple of years. An EDC would draw even more companies.

"If the EDC is doing its job," explains Kriseman, "it is bringing businesses to the community, it's helping those who are here to grow their businesses."

That means jobs and higher paying jobs feeding right into our local economy. 

St. Pete's EDC is already in the process of catching up to their counterparts. Hillsborough County's EDC has created more than 25,000 news jobs since 2009. St. Pete wanting as much development and jobs right in the heart, downtown. 

One of these entrepreneurs hooked in by the lower costs and warm beaches is Lauren Davenport. 

"I think it's a little embarrassing that we're just now getting one since Tampa has had one for so long," she laughed.

Davenport moved her marketing technology company, The Symphony Agency, down from Tennessee eight years ago. 

"I looked for somewhere that had 200,000 people and a higher ratio of local businesses to large organizations. St. Petersburg hit the map," she said.

The newly-created agency is aiming to get others like Davenport to feel the same way and make the move. With them, new possibilities.

"People finding great quality jobs, it provides so much more opportunity which is great for our community as a whole."