ACE 8
Lindsay Volpe

Tallahassee-Leon County is One of Several Florida Communities to Host 8th Americas Competitiveness Exchange

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), in coordination with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the U.S. Department of State, announced the list of host cities and counties for the 8th Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, also known as ACE 8. From December 3-9, the tour will showcase cities and counties in Florida with cutting-edge advancement in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Florida host communities include Tallahassee/Leon County, Gainesville/Alachua County, Orlando/Orange County, St. Augustine/St. Johns County and the Space Coast.

Of Florida and Tallahassee-Leon County, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dennis Alvord said, “We appreciate your leadership and commitment to welcome 50 high-level decision-makers from the Americas and around the world by opening the doors of your communities to share your experience and competitiveness strengths. We strongly believe that when the right partners come together and increase their level of interaction great things happen for job creation, increased investment, and improved prosperity.”

During the Tallahassee-Leon County portion of ACE 8 attendees will discover why Entrepreneur Magazine named Tallahassee-Leon County a top 50 city for entrepreneurs. Also, tour members will learn how Tallahassee-Leon County businesses and other partners have worked to place the city in the top 25% of cities for global innovation according to Innovation-Cities.com.

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Over the past six years, Florida has become a hub for economic and scientific innovation thanks to investments by Governor Rick Scott. We are excited to facilitate deeper connections between ACE program participants and Florida’s tech-based industries, and showcase why Florida is the ideal place to do business.”

Participants will have the opportunity to see and learn from successful centers of innovation first-hand as well as increase the prospect of advancing commerce and trade between participating economies, accelerate business opportunities and collaboration for all stakeholders.

“In Tallahassee, we continue to make meaningful investments in our entrepreneurial and startup sectors,” said Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. “From hosting one of Florida’s first Startup Weeks to developing the Tallahassee Innovation Partnership, we are enabling our local innovators to thrive and we look forward to showing how we have evolved from government town to the Capital of Innovation.”

The six-day ACE 8 tour will bring together representatives from over 27 countries around the world to showcase advanced technology centers, innovation hubs, public-private partnerships and strategic investments. The itinerary will include sites that feature agricultural, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, tourism, magnetics and others clusters, as well as every major university in Florida, including both of Florida’s preeminent academic universities, Florida State University and the University of Florida.

“As a previous ACE tour participant, I know firsthand the value of visiting and networking with high performing economic development leaders from across the Americas,” said Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier. “And for Tallahassee-Leon County to be represented on the tour is a testimony to our strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, which we have dramatically grown over the past few years. In short, we are a model community and a big player in the economic success of Florida.”

Tallahassee-Leon County has had representation on three past ACE tours, including Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier, Lindsay Volpe from the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (OEV), and most recently Cristina Paredes, also with OEV. The tour showcases best practices, public-private partnerships, investment opportunities and innovation of technologies.

ACE is the ideal opportunity for commerce and economic development officials to establish long-term global and regional partnerships and to see the results of economic development initiatives in the Americas that are strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.