April 22, 2024

Enterprise Florida Exiting

TALLAHASSEE --- The doors are ready to close on Enterprise Florida, the business-recruitment agency long targeted by state House leaders.

Members of the Enterprise Florida Executive Committee this week signed off on the dissolution of the agency’s board as of Sunday, as required by a bill (HB 5) approved by the Legislature this spring.

Many of the agency’s responsibilities are shifting to the Florida Department of Commerce, with a new non-profit organization set up to work on international business recruitment.

“I just have to say that the transition is moving along. It's moving smoothly. The staff has been just extraordinary in their efforts and what they're doing,” Enterprise Florida President Laura DiBella said. “Everybody's working basically two jobs now, their old job and the new job. It's been a pretty heavy lift for the entire team.”

Since 2017, when then-Speaker Richard Corcoran described business incentives as "corporate welfare" and "de facto socialism,” House leaders have targeted spending by Enterprise Florida and other public-private agencies.

This year’s legislation, signed May 31 by Gov. Ron DeSantis, liquidates Enterprise Florida by Dec. 1 and moves contracts and data of more than 20 programs to the Department of Commerce.

The law also directs the department to contract with a direct-support organization, which will be called Select Florida, to work on international trade.

The new organization is picking up 15 Enterprise Florida staff positions --- including at least 13 current employees. DiBella will serve in a part-time capacity for Select Florida.

The legislation directs $5 million to the non-profit. About $400,000 in revenue generated by Enterprise Florida sits in a trust awaiting Select Florida to begin operating in October.

Enterprise Florida has spent about $7.6 million this year, of which $5 million went to the Florida Sports Foundation to help the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau prepare for the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

Miami is one of 16 North America cities that will host matches.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that more than 100 FIFA jobs involving legal, audit, compliance and risk-management services are moving from the organization’s Swiss headquarters to Coral Gables in advance of the tournament.

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