Here's the deal: if you move your company to Manatee County or start a new one here and hire five or more people at 115% of our average local annual wage ($38,708) or more, the county will give you $1000 for each person you hire. If you are already in business here, your five (or more) new workers only need to start at $33,659 per year.
The catch? To qualify, your business is supposed to make 55% or more of its sales outside Manatee and Sarasota Counties or provide training or research services to a customer base that is at least 65% outside of our two favorite counties. Prefered types of businesses are manufacturers, corporate headquarters, telecomm operations, distribution centers, and research facilities. But don't worry if your business doesn't occupy one of these niches; County Economic Development Progam Manager Karen Stewart says, "We're flexible. We can customize programs for all kinds of businesses."
And if you locate or expand your business in one of Manatee County's CRAs or economic encouragment zones, you can get the hiring bonus for only three employees -- and maybe even less, depending on other factors. The key words are "flexible" and "customize." Stewart says repeatedly that the county is flexible when it comes to development requirements, and is more than willing to customize programs for specific business needs.
The hiring bonus is only one of many incentives available to new, relocating or expanding businesses in Manatee County. Build a new building, as Stewart says two out of the last six businesses that moved into Manatee County have done, and you get a whole stack of other incentives, including a partial or even full rebate of your transportation impact fees.
Get the QuEIP Team to help you with Rapid Response Permitting.
Requirements for QuEIP (Qualified Economic Impact Project) Team assistance are identical to those for the employment incentive program and are just as flexible and customizable. According to this Economic Development Council Web page, "The QuEIP Team is a public/private partnership established to maintain and grow a strong economic base in Manatee County and consists of professionals who have the authority to make administrative decisions involved in various aspects of a qualified project."
QuEIP Team members typically come from:
Department of Environmental Protection
Public Works Department
Southwest Florida Management District
Project Management Department
In other words, they represent almost every county authority whose approval you'll need, and they work together to make the permitting process go as smoothly as possible -- and will even, upon request, help you select properties, help find appropriate workforce members, and generally smooth your company's relocation, expansion or start-up.
Why the county has business incentives
In a presentation to county building department staff, Karen Stewart noted that a recent incentive program helped a company bring in 22 new jobs at salaries over $40,000 per year in return for employment and impact fee incentives that totaled $27,773. The company also made a $680,000 capital investment here, and now has a total annual economic impact on Manatee County in excess of $11 million per year after you include the money it spends with local suppliers and that its new employees spend on everything from mortgage payments to pizza delivery.
So yes, business incentives pay their own way -- and then some -- for Manatee County.
Get things rolling for your business with a single phone call
Stewart says getting all kinds of help from the county government and the EDC is simple: "Just call Neighborhood Services at 941-749-3029."
After that, Stewart says, her people and the EDC will work hard to find and maximize every possible tax break, rebate, and other incentive for your business.
"We make it easy for you," Stewart says.