Small Businesses Matter to Florida’s Future

Authored by: John Hartnett, Vice President of Global Business Development, Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc.


Small businesses matter to Florida’s future, and it’s no surprise why. More than 2 million small businesses call Florida home. They create three out of four new jobs in Florida, all while employing more than 3 million Floridians.  Between now and 2030, Florida will need to create 2 million net new jobs. According to, Alachua County alone will need to create more than 24,000 net new jobs by 2030.

Florida has some real opportunities for growth, particularly in manufacturing. Research found in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s recently released Florida Jobs 2030 Report shows that today, more than 19,500 manufacturing companies call Florida home and employ more than 360,000 Floridians. And did you know, more than 95 percent of all of Florida’s exporters are small businesses?

Florida’s future needs small businesses and it will continue to require growth in industries like manufacturing, but will our state’s workforce be prepared? Our state must be able to train a workforce for the jobs of the future, many of which don’t yet exist.  Between now and 2021, Florida’s manufacturing industry will see a 4 percent growth and must be ready to address the stigmas and perceptions that are keeping young people away from manufacturing.

Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc. is a proud recipient of the Small Business Administration’s Exporter of the Year Award as well as the Manufacturer of the Year Award. And as we celebrate National Small Business Week, we recognize that these challenges are actually important opportunities for growth, diversification and success. But to get there, the input of Florida’s businesses— both large and small— are crucial. This is one reason the Florida Chamber Foundation has traveled to 58 counties and engaged more than 7,800 Floridians through Florida 2030 Town Halls to learn how we can secure our state’s future in 2030 and beyond.

As our state continues to grow, addresses challenges and takes advantage of economic opportunities, can your business afford not to share your thoughts on the future of our state? Click here to have your voice heard.

Governor and Cabinet Proclaim May as Florida World Trade Month

CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261



Florida Chamber, Trade Partners
Champion Trade’s Role in Florida’s Economy

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 5, 2015) – Governor Rick Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet today declared May as Florida World Trade Month, presenting a proclamation to the Florida Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the agriculture, manufacturing and ports communities.

“Global trade means high-wage jobs and economic prosperity,” Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber shared with members of the Florida Cabinet, including Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater during the proclamation presentation. “Increasingly, international trade is one of Florida’s top strategies for economic diversification and long-term growth.”

Florida ranks eighth in the United States for “Fresh from Florida” exports of agricultural commodities, valued at an all-time record of $4.2 billion, supporting more than 109,000 jobs and representing an economic value of more than $13 billion. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam sponsored the Florida World Trade Month proclamation.

Economic Impact of Trade:

According to research from the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics Study 2.0 (TL2), the importance of international trade cannot be denied:

  • International business and foreign direct investment accounts for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and directly supports more than 1 million Florida jobs,
  • Florida is the seventh largest exporter of state-origin products with Florida-origin exports totaling more than $58.6 billion and exports from Florida supporting 275,221 U.S. jobs in 2013,
  • VISIT FLORIDA numbers show more than 98 million visitors came to Florida in 2014,including more than 11 million overseas visitors  and nearly four million Canadian visitors,
  • Florida has more than 60,000 companies registered to export – more than 95 percent of them  are small-to-medium-sized businesses that produce two-thirds of Florida’s average of $64 billion in goods, and
  • Florida has more than 500,000 jobs in transportation, trade, and logistics – which pay 30 percent more than the statewide average!
  • Since December 2010, more than 21,000 manufacturing jobs have been created in Florida,
  • Florida is the leading U.S. state for trade with Latin America and the Caribbean.


Here’s What Others Are Saying
About Florida World Trade Month:

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

“Our exports have recently reached an all-time high of $4.2 billion, supporting more than 109,000 Florida jobs and contributing more than $13 billion to our state’s economy. International demand for our ‘Fresh From Florida’ products continues to rise, proving that there is nothing better than what we grow right here in Florida.”

Secretary of Transportation Jim Boxold

“The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) joins Governor Scott and our partners in continuing our united efforts to make Florida the global center for freight movement and create jobs and opportunities for Florida families. FDOT will continue to invest in strategic assets that make our state the most competitive in the nation for the movement of people and goods.”

U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan

“The impact of international trade to Florida is undeniable – it’s one of the surest ways to turbo-charge long-term economic development and growth. I am proud to celebrate World Trade Month with the Florida Chamber, whose support of these important partnerships and trade agreements help make the Sunshine State the leader in this effort.”

Doug Wheeler, President and CEO, Florida Ports Council

“International trade is critical not only for Florida’s overall economy but for individual families and communities across the state, as well as visiting consumers. Increasing trade creates jobs and brings a better quality of life to our state.”

Nancy Stephens, Executive Director, Manufacturers Association of Florida

“During World Trade Month, the Manufacturers Association of Florida (MAF) recognizes the critical role international trade plays in boosting our economic growth. We support international trade as an essential part of our business plan ensuring job creation, business growth, and competitive advantages in the global market. In Florida, 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs depend on exports, so MAF works hard to promote trade opportunities with manufacturers to help them export to the 95% of consumers who live outside the United States. Florida has some of the most skilled manufacturers in the country and we look forward to utilizing every trade opportunity available.”

Charlotte Gallogly, World Trade Center Miami

“Our celebration of World Trade Month is targeted at assisting small- to mid-sized companies in Florida to identify new global markets for the sale of their products and services.”

John Hartnett, Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc.

“Leveraging and growing trade and logistics opportunities for Florida companies opens many markets for Made in Florida products and services. Committing to Made in Florida business and targeting worldwide expansion strengthens our long-term economic foundation and global brand.”




The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information.

Did You Know More Than $60 Billion in Florida Goods Exported Each Year?

For the past three years, Florida has exported an average of $64 billion in goods sourced in our state.  Florida has more than 60,000 companies registered to export, and more than 95 percent of our state’s exporters are small-to-medium-sized businesses that produce two-thirds of Florida’s total export value.  These exports include large amounts of civilian aircraft, engines and parts as well as electronic goods, scrap gold and phosphates, which are used to fertilize crops.

The top customers for Florida exports (2013) are:

  1. Canada  $5.4 billion
  2. Brazil  $5.3 billion
  3. Switzerland $3.4 billion
  4. Colombia $3.3 billion
  5. Venezuela $3.2 billion

Other countries also receive substantial Florida exports each year, with Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru and the Dominican Republic continually topping the list of counties with Florida exports. Germany is the top European country for Florida exports, along with Hong Kong, Ecuador, China, the U.K., Costa Rica, the Bahamas and Japan each receiving more than $1 billion in Florida exports yearly.

“Global trade is an important part of not only our business, but also Florida’s future,” said John Hartnett, Vice President of Global Business Development at Endoscopy Replacement Parts. “The boost Florida companies receive to compete worldwide positions them in helping Florida further develop international business, help our diversification, and help create more jobs in our state.”

The impact of international trade and exports for Florida’s economy cannot be denied. Many Florida exporters receive financing and insurance help to conduct business when commercial lending is not available. Exporters often use the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, which is the United State’s official export credit agency.  Ex-Im Bank supports businesses in the U.S. through financing or insuring payment for exports for companies shipping U.S. made goods to foreign countries. When Florida businesses use the program, it helps Florida’s positive trade balance, helps create jobs for Floridians and helps diversify Florida’s economy.

A breakdown of Florida’s companies who have used Ex-Im Bank services shows:

  • 879 total exporters equaling $5 billion in shipments,
  • 668 are small businesses,
  • 168 are minority owned, and
  • 60 are women owned.

Helping Florida manufacturers compete in world markets helps create high-wage jobs. When Florida companies create each new export-oriented manufacturing job, two additional jobs are created in logistics, business services and retail. Additionally, expanding the customer base for Florida manufacturers helps Florida companies diversify their businesses, while helping diversify Florida’s economy.

But recent federal legislation has put Ex-Im Bank at risk and instead of reauthorizing Ex-Im for the long-term, Congress’ solution only reauthorized Ex-Im until June 30, 2015.

According to Alice Ancona, Director of Global Outreach for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the loss of Ex-Im could hurt Florida companies.

“To secure Florida’s future, and prevent Florida jobs from going to foreign competitors, the Florida Chamber of Commerce supports reauthorizing Ex-Im. Ex-Im is particularly important to small-and-medium-sized businesses; those businesses account for more than 85 percent of transactions. In the past five years alone, Ex-Im has helped more than 600 Florida small businesses, 168 of which are minority owned, with export finance — a $6 billion value in Florida-based exports,” Ancona explained.

Share Your Story:

How is your business engaged in exporting Florida-origin products? Share your story by contacting the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist Jerry Parrish at

About the Florida Scorecard Did You Know:

The Florida Scorecard, located at, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283 or You can also follow the Florida Chamber Foundation on Twitter at @FLChamberFDN.

The Global Marketplace Will Double, Adding 1 Billion Consumers by 2020

Throughout the next 20 years, the size of the global marketplace will double, adding more than one billion new consumers by 2020. More than 95 percent of the world’s economic activity will take place outside of Florida. Florida’s ability to secure our future prosperity depends in part on how we are able to capture portions of that growth.

We live in an era unlike any before. The speed of global communication, the exponential advances of technology and the ingenuity of entrepreneurial activities have created a new landscape for global commerce that we continue to adapt to. According to global trends research from Ernst and Young, “estimates show that 70% of world growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets, with China and India accounting for 40% of that growth.

Take manufacturing costs in America for instance. Recent in-depth research on the global manufacturing landscape conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) states that current conditions have led to a “redrawing of the map of global manufacturing cost competitiveness.” Simply put, the United States is now benefitting as one of the top 25 leading export economies. In fact, according to the BCG report, the U.S. is now ranked as a rising global star:

 Cost structures in Mexico and the U.S. improved more than in all of the other 25 largest exporting economies. Because of low wage growth, sustained productivity gains, stable exchange rates, and a big energy-cost advantage, these two nations are the current rising stars of global manufacturing. We estimate that Mexico now has lower average manufacturing costs than China on a unit-cost basis. And except for China and South Korea, the rest of the world’s top-ten goods exporters are 10 to 25 percent more expensive than the U.S.



What Does This Mean for Florida?

In our own state, the nation’s growth is echoed. In fact, as manufacturing trends shift away from Asia and toward North America, Florida firms can leverage this to expand economic growth. This will mean a growing emphasis on the skill-sets needed to compete in the 21st Century economy. As the global market grows, so does the need for greater manufacturing capacity, high-tech skills, and logistics systems to get goods to market.

“Continuing to promote the growth and expansion of manufacturing in Florida is vital to our success as a state,” said Al Stimac, Owner and President, Metal Essence, Inc. “With the influx of new residents and increasing opportunities to sell and ship Florida-origin goods internationally- the future for Florida’s manufacturers’ looks bright. With Florida’s top-notch business climate and trade and logistics assets, it’s like we’re sitting on a goldmine.”

In Florida, we have a great opportunity to use these global trends for our benefit. Florida’s global resources, current international trade relationships and infrastructure lend our state to work with growing markets and become more globally competitive. Consider that there are more than 10,000 multinational companies operating in our state and in 2011, foreign direct investment by multinational companies employed more than 238,000 Floridians.

Additionally, Florida’s existing logistics infrastructure makes us uniquely suited to capture a good portion of this shift. Consider that:


  • Florida’s infrastructure is ranked No. 1 in the US
  • Florida has the 3rd highest cluster of logistics and distribution establishments in the US
  • Florida is the 6th largest exporting state in the US and a leading global hub
  • Florida is No. 5 for Foreign Trade Zone warehouse and distribution activities in the U.S.
  •  Florida is No. 2 for Foreign Trade Zone exports in the US


More than ever, trade equals new high-wage jobs. According to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department, just in 2013 alone Florida’s exports supported more than 275,000 jobs. Research completed by the Florida Chamber Foundation highlights as many as 150,000 new jobs in trade, transportation and logistics in Florida are possible. But realizing the potential requires vision.

“This is a long-term advancement opportunity,” said John Hartnett, V.P. of Global Business Development, Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc. “Understanding the current global economic patterns presents an incredible advantage for our state just in manufacturing alone. Florida is positioned to capitalize on these shifts if our approach is comprehensive, strategic and aggressive. By continuing to address our manufacturing capacity and aligning our resources such as our STEM talent pipeline, business expansion ability, logistic infrastructure and high-tech job growth, we can become the epitome of 21st Century global competitiveness. We have many of the pieces in place, and we have much of the plan identified.”


Recognizing the shift and its implications for Florida is just the first piece – how we strategically plan for leveraging the dynamic changes in the global market will make the difference between being a passive participant and a global leader.

You Can Help Secure Florida’s Future:

Join us at the 2014 Future of Florida Forum, September 29 – October 1,as business leaders, industry experts and elected officials discuss and explore how to secure Florida’s future. The program features top level executives and identifies connection points and partnerships that will make Florida a state with vibrant communities, high-wage jobs and endless opportunities for global competitiveness. Register today and be part of generating solutions.

Tell Us Your Story:

How is your organization impacted by global manufacturing? Where do you see room for Florida to improve its competitive position?


About the Florida Scorecard Did You Know:

The Florida Scorecard, located at, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each week, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Did You Know that takes an in-depth look at one specific statistic. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Did You Know or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Tracey Lowe with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1200 or You can also follow the Florida Chamber Foundation on Twitter at @FLChamberFDN.