Monday saw Florida Gov. Rick Scott on yet another trip to Jacksonville, where he highlighted job growth at a medical technology company.
That company — Sunoptic Technologies — has benefited from one of Scott’s key initiatives, Enterprise Florida, which in addition to offering economic incentives also provided a global stage for the mid-sized company over the years, via showcasing it and other companies globally at events like MEDICA, a German trade show for the industry.
“In early 2013, Sunoptic Technologies signed a new exclusive distributor to serve the Japanese market. We chose to participate in the Florida Pavilion at MEDICA because the exposure we will get will help us create new international clients like our Japanese distributor. Thanks to Enterprise Florida, Sunoptic Technologies can focus on our customers and products and work on expanding internationally,” said David Mutch, Director of Sunoptic Technologies, in 2013.
Mutch enthused again about EFI in 2016, as his company readied for another German junket: ““Enterprise Florida’s participation at MEDICA is a key component of our marketing plan … As a small business, it would be very difficult to participate on our own. We would never be able to present ourselves in a positive, professional way. The services provided also enable us to have a larger presence.”
Rick Scott’s strategy — jobs, jobs, jobs — sounds simple. And incentives are often poorly understood by media and politicians. But in the case of Sunoptic, an Enterprise Florida success story, Scott clearly believes the story is worth telling.
And tell it he did.
Sunoptic is a company that has seen its revenue quadruple during the Enterprise Florida era, with 75 employees and 10 percent year over year revenue growth.
Gov. Scott attributed this to a number of factors, including Enterprise Florida trade shows and an environment in Jacksonville, facilitated by the Mayor and the City Council, that just “gets things done.”
After inserting what is now a familiar riposte against “politicians in Tallahassee that turned back” Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. Scott passed the mike to Mayor Lenny Curry, who had his own thoughts on the city’s wave of economic success.
Curry noted that “the recipe in Jacksonville” is “just right” for business expansion and relocation.
Council President Lori Boyer — in whose district the company operates — lauded Scott for being “singularly focused” on jobs, noting that Jacksonville’s strong economic metrics (4 percent unemployment; 3.7 percent job growth in 2016) provide evidence that the Rick Scott approach works.
“That’s a legacy,” Boyer said about the numbers.
Scott noted in his post-event comments that, despite a record of strong economic performance, the state’s economic motor is beginning to sputter.
“If your growth rate in something slowed down, that would concern you. That’s happening in our state,” Scott said.
“If you look at our overall job growth numbers,” Scott said, and compare them to a year ago, “they’re not as fast as they used to be.
The same is true for construction and hospitality.
Scott attributed that, again, to “politicians in Tallahassee turning their back on Enterprise Florida.”