Regional leaders need to join together to stay competitive in the global market

Thursday, February 13, 2020

In 2014, St. Petersburg, Fla. mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn went on a trade mission to Chile. But, in recognizing that scale matters in such attempts at global competitiveness, the two mayors made their trip not as representatives of two separate cities, but as dual ambassadors of the Tampa Bay region.

Prior to the trade mission, the economic development organizations (EDOs) of three neighboring Florida counties—Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco—joined forces to create Global Tampa Bay, aligning their international business engagement strategy in a regional economic partnership. This meant pooling resources, sharing a budget, taking turns as chair, and even rotating meeting locations. The new structure did not replace the three existing EDOs, nor did it require a plethora of new staff. Still, Global Tampa Bay goes a long way in reinforcing a common strategy for international competitiveness.

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