Beacon Council visits 150 firms, nets 608 new jobs
By Scott Blake
Attracting new companies to Greater Miami is part of the Beacon Council's mission. But it wouldn't be so meaningful if current employers were to leave the area.
So when it comes to local business retention and expansion, the council — Miami-Dade's economic development organization — has something for that as well.
It's called the Local Business Local Jobs program. It's designed to address the needs of local businesses to help them survive and thrive in Miami.
"Given the continued economic pressures on businesses," the Beacon Council remained "aggressive" during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, with staff and volunteers visiting more than 150 local businesses, the council's annual report states.
During that period, the council completed nine Local Business Local Jobs initiatives, which are expected to result in 608 new jobs and $54 million in capital investments.
The Beacon Council helps facilitate tax credits and other incentives for companies to grow their local workforces.
With assistance from the council, here are some of the past year's top business expansion projects:
nWal-Mart Stores East Cutler Ridge: The world's largest retailer announced it will expand its Miami-Dade presence by opening a 92,000-square-foot store expected to create 210 jobs and a capital investment of $21.9 million.
nBullet Line: In Miami-Dade for nearly 30 years, the promotional products firm announced it will add 90 local jobs with a capital investment of $20 million.
nEulen America: The aviation and commercial services company announced it plans to create 200 additional local jobs with a capital investment of $3.4 million.
In addition, the Beacon Council works with the Miami-Dade Defense Alliance, a program focusing on the retention and expansion of the local military and defense industry. The council received a $90,000 state grant to support the program.
It's a job sector that's worth the attention. Although often overshadowed by tourism and international trade, the county's military economic impact is significant, exceeding $4 billion a year, with more than 43,000 jobs directly or indirectly supported by the defense sector, according to the council.
In July, for example, the Defense Alliance held its annual "Doing Business with the Military" event in which local businesses network with procurement agents of local military installations, as well as with other agencies that provide business development help.
The Defense Alliance has been assisting the council in plans for the Miami International Aerospace Show. The proposed event is aimed at drawing aerospace and related industry representatives to Miami-Dade for the show with the goal of drawing more of that business to the area.
Although planners haven't yet been able to win federal approval to have the event at Homestead Air Reserve Base, they continue to try to persuade federal officials otherwise, and are considering other potential sites.
"It is unique to see bipartisan support at every level of government, and to have it shot down by one entity [the US Air Force] is mindboggling," Beacon Council CEO and President Frank Nero said in a statement.
"We hope our congressional delegation is successful in appealing this to the secretary of defense and even to the White House, if necessary," he added. "This is an important job creator for the entire state of Florida."
To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e -Miami Today, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.