Florida Governor Rick Scott recently announced that Virgin Voyages, a new cruise company by the global Virgin brands, has selected Plantation, Florida, for its new headquarters, which will create 300 new jobs. The company will also invest $15.9 million in the local community.
Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Virgin Voyages has selected Florida to locate their new headquarters, which will create more than 300 new jobs for families in South Florida. As a top tourism destination, the gateway to Latin America and one of the most business-friendly states, Florida is the best place for Virgin Voyages’ new headquarters.”
Thomas McAlpin, President and CEO of Virgin Voyages said, “Virgin brands have a long history of raising the bar in every industry we enter. We are proud to bring that mindset to the South Florida community and introduce new jobs and business opportunities to the area.”
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin said, “We basically decided, ‘Let’s have a blank sheet of paper, let’s create the kind of voyage company that we would like to go on,’ and that’s what we’ve done.”
Virgin Voyages cited the strength of Broward County’s diverse, educated and multicultural workforce, infrastructure, quality of life, proximity to major seaports and a competitive tax and business environment as strategic reasons for headquarters location. Virgin Voyages will be hiring a range of roles in different departments from Finance to Customer Care.
This project was made possible through partnerships between the State of Florida, the City of Plantation, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and Broward County.
Peter Antonacci, CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc., said, “Broward County is the ideal location for Virgin to launch its new cruise line Virgin Voyages. Enterprise Florida’s Board of Directors are enthusiastic that Florida won this exciting new project.”
VISIT FLORIDA President & CEO Ken Lawson said, “Virgin Voyages decision to open headquarters in South Florida is fantastic news for tourism in our state. At VISIT FLORIDA, we are marketing the diversity and beauty of our state to the rest of the world. By creating more opportunities for travelers from around the world to experience Florida, Virgin Voyages is helping us make Florida the number one global destination, and I look forward to their continued success.”
Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Congratulations to Virgin Voyages on locating their new headquarters in the Sunshine State. South Florida is an excellent choice for growing a company, with its strong business community and robust workforce. We look forward to your success.”
Bob Swindell, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance said, “Congratulations Virgin Voyages, we are thrilled to be home to a company with the great potential to reinvent the cruise industry under the iconic Virgin flag.”
Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic of the City of Plantation said, “Plantation has a long reputation as a location of choice for game-changing companies like Virgin Voyages. We look forward to their success and are proud to be home to the newest Virgin brand.”
Mayor Beam Furr of Broward County said, “We’re glad that Virgin Voyages and other major global companies continue to choose Broward County for their headquarters operations. We look forward to the company’s continued growth as part of an important targeted industry for our community.”
Virgin Voyages’ first ship, of about 110,000 gross tons, will arrive at PortMiami in 2020. The ship will host more than 2,700 sailors and 1,150 spirited crew members. The first ship in the fleet will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries to ports that deliver Virgin styled and deeply social experiences. Future sailors are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com or follow @virginvoyages on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Online Edition Available at Louisiana.Think.Global
A free resource for Louisiana companies involved in international trade is now available online and in print from the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). The fourth edition of the Louisiana Trade Guide, published in partnership between the LSBDC and ThinkGlobal Inc., features statewide information and resources to help both exporters and foreign direct investors.
The colorful, magazine-style guide includes an international trade resources section that makes it easy to find resources and services providers throughout the state. The guide also features a welcome letter from Gov. John Bel Edwards, as well as an overview of international trade-related programs and services offered by Louisiana Economic Development.
“The Louisiana Small Business Development Center spearheaded the development of the new edition of the Louisiana Trade Guide,” says Rande Kessler, state director of LSBDC. “Having a single point of reference in print and online guide is a valuable tool for Louisiana exporters, foreign investors, and service providers. The guide is a must-have resource for both new exporters and for companies looking to expand into new markets.”
The new edition of the guide includes 10,000 print copies that are being distributed throughout Louisiana. The guide will be distributed to exporters throughout the state by the SBDC network, other state and local economic development agencies, and private sector service providers. Links to the digital edition also will be sent to U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.
“The 2018 Louisiana Trade Guide includes an updated resource section, with comprehensive data about Louisiana service providers and trade-related resources,” says Greg Sandler, publisher at ThinkGlobal. “The guide also features expert advice and answers to frequently asked questions, along with information about key resources, such as economic development organizations, ports, and other service providers throughout the state.”
To read the Louisiana Trade Guide online, visit: http://Louisiana.Think.Global
Contacts For More Information
DeRon Talley, LSBDC
Greg Sandler, ThinkGlobal
800-581-8533, ext. 808
Tapping into global markets helps generate jobs and economic growth throughout the United States. According to a recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department, 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. The report, which draws on research by the Brookings Institution and the National League of Cities Center for Research & Innovation, notes that competition in today’s marketplace can be local, regional or global. The report also provides the following best practices to help local, state, and regional policymakers and business leaders develop global growth strategies.
Bring together regional and metropolitan economic leaders and assets – such as key corporations, service providers, workforce, and transportation infrastructure – to specifically identify your area’s advantages and competencies for export and investment promotion. Connect with businesses and develop strategies to better understand their needs.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting exports and investment, and each community has unique market advantages. Identify your assets, and develop a brand. Gather local market insight and assess your industry strengths. When considering an investment attraction strategy, include operating costs, supply chain management, access to natural resources, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, access to technology, and quality of life in your assessment.
Foster Regional Collaboration
By creating a regional brand identity, and fostering collaboration, communities can successfully market themselves globally, and create effective export and investment plans.
Know Your Tools And Resources
Learn about the numerous federal, state, and local resources available on export.gov, which includes free access to tools such as the “Basic Guide to Exporting” and the “Trade Finance Guide.” For local assistance, contact your state trade office or the U.S. Commercial Service (see contact information in the resource section of this guide).
Tap into Global Markets
More than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Successful exporters recognize that their competition may no longer be with each other, but with regions around the world.
Develop a Plan
With a regional identity and key players around the table, develop an actionable plan to promote exports and investment. The Brookings Institution has published “10 Steps to Delivering a Successful Metropolitan Export Plan,” to help business leaders take advantage of best practices and start planning.
Ensure that companies in your area know whether they have an exportable product or service and know about available resources at the federal and state level to help grow their business. Broaden the definition of exports to include activities, such as services exports, international visitors, and services to foreign students. For example, facilitate a briefing or seminar series to educate businesses about federal and state investment and export assistance resources and financing.
Improve Access to Information
One way to share up-to-date resources is to make sure that your city or regional website has a section dedicated to business assistance that provides information on opportunities and events related to exporting. Consider linking to local, state and federal trade resources.
Support Your Export Pipeline
Help identify export-ready companies and refer them to regional, state and federal assistance providers, such as the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). For investment promotion, work with state and local government agencies, local businesses, and/or universities, to identify foreign countries and cities that may already have a relationship with your city.
Partner with Higher Education Institutions
Higher education ranks among the country’s top 10 service exports. Tuition and living expenses paid by international students and their families brought in nearly $21 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2010-2011 academic year. As a source of investment, exports, and workforce development, educational institutions should be involved in your export and investment planning discussions. Area institutions also can serve as key partners, with a strong knowledge base, research, and potential for successful internship and workforce development programs. Establish a Business-to-Business Mentorship Program Connect established exporters and investors in your area with growing businesses to share expertise and know-how in a particular market or sector. Closely affiliated with the U.S. Commercial Service, the 56 District Export Councils nationwide are organizations comprised of export leaders from their local business community.
Consider a Foreign Trade Zone
A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) helps encourage exports and investment by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings. local governments and organizations, such as ports or economic development organizations, can apply to create an FTZ in their communities.
Consider organizing trade and investment missions to key global markets to promote your region for economic development. State trade offices and federal export promotion agencies, as well as non-profit trade organizations, often coordinate missions abroad. Globally, high-ranking U.S. federal officials, state governors and mayors are viewed favorably as top leaders representing their markets to tout its exports and its winning attributes for investment.
Build Exports and Investment into Your Broader Economic Strategy
With an eye to growth and global competitiveness, seek alignment between exports and foreign direct investment; innovation in manufacturing and services; investments in freight and logistics; and the development of a globally fluent workforce. A region’s success in the global marketplace can be enhanced with coordinated messages about trade and investment opportunities.