Bay County received a welcomed award at the September 21st Commission meeting. James Blair, with Navigator Consulting, formally presented the award to Bay County and Bay Economic Development Alliance (Bay EDA) for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Certification.
Now you may be asking yourself, why is FDI important and why do we need the FDI Certification? FDI supports almost 8 million U.S. workers, employs approximately 22 percent of America’s manufacturing workforce, and pays approximately 18 percent more than the average U.S. salary. Furthermore, almost 70 percent of new manufacturing jobs created in the United States over the past five years is a result of FDI. The FDI certification helps set the Bay County community, including the municipalities within, apart from other communities pursuing FDI. The FDI certification assures potential investors that Bay County has been vetted and has the necessary components to support their investment efforts.
The FDI certification was born from a partnership between the Transatlantic Business & Investment Council and Navigator Consulting. Both firms work closely with European Companies and have brought approximately $7.8B total investment and more than 14K new jobs to the US economy in the past 12 years. The certification process for Bay County began in 2020, where the first order of business was to compile and submit an extensive data package to showcase the community. Becca Hardin, President of the Bay Economic Development Alliance, states “the data request was a spreadsheet with 10 tabs and hundreds of deliverables. It was the most extensive RFI we have ever received.” The next order of business was a mock site visit, where representatives of each firm spent 3 days in our community evaluating numerous components such as available properties, education, workforce, leadership and quality of life, to name a few.
We are proud to share that Bay County excelled in the certification, scoring the highest out of any community certified to date. Furthermore, Bay County is one of nine communities in the United States with the FDI seal of approval and the only community in the state of Florida. “We couldn’t have achieved this certification without the support of our community partners, and for that we are very fortunate and appreciative,” says Hardin.
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