Published on The Boca Raton Tribune

On 04/03/2017 By Carlo Barbieri

The city of Boca Raton is known for its tourist attractions, fantastic climate, miles of sugar sand beaches, fine restaurants and shopping opportunities, many institutions of higher learning and a mix of modern and historic architecture, much of it influenced by famed designer Addison Mizner.

Boca has long been on the cutting edge of commercial and industrial excellence, making it a vibrant center for commerce in South Palm Beach County. In fact, the city and county are inexorably linked, and both share a common desire to ensure a healthy economy and maintain a business sector that’s alive and well while protecting neighborhoods and the environment.

Palm Beach County has at least two organizations leading the charge for business progress: the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and the Economic Development Council of Palm Beach County.  Several years ago, Boca Raton created an Economic Development Department within City Hall.  In addition, its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) reviews and approves applications for businesses in a segment of downtown Boca Raton.

To get a feel for Boca’s relationships to the business community, we asked for a comment from Troy McLellan, the president and CEO of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Boca Raton is No. 2 in the nation’s top 10 places to start a new company, and entrepreneurs agree,” McLellan said. “Boca is also a great place to relocate your business. A recent relocation was the move of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which brought 225 new jobs to our city. Add to that Office Depot’s decision to keep its global headquarters in Boca Raton after its merger with Office Max. These things happen because Boca offers the perfect conditions: a pro-business environment, low tax rates, a great quality of life, A-rated schools and is home to three universities and colleges, earning the title of “college town.”

“Preserving Boca Raton’s profile as a premier location for business creation, expansion and relocation, as well as tourism, is a collaborative effort among the Boca Chamber, the city of Boca Raton and key stakeholder organizations such as the county-wide economic development and tourism agencies. Together, we work to maintain a strong business climate.”

“The Chamber understands the value and importance of education and makes sure that schools get the help they need. Since its inception in 1991, the Boca Chamber’s Golden Bell Education Foundation has donated more than $1.2 million to Boca Raton’s A-rated public K-12 schools. The Golden Bell’s Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA) offers students in grades 6 through 12 the information and experience they will need to start a business.”

Doing business with and in Palm Beach County

Earlier this month, CareerSource Palm Beach County announced that the county’s 4.7 percent unemployment rate matched the state for February and dropped 0.5 percentage points from January. The county’s rate was 4.6 percent last year. Both the county and state rates were lower than the national rate of 4.9 percent.

“Construction jobs in Palm Beach County soared with 10.1 percent year-over-year job growth in February, higher than 7.1 percent statewide, reflecting a very competitive market for this industry sector. Overall, the county gained 13,200 new jobs over the year in all sectors,” said Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.

Of 39 states that increased the number of construction jobs during the past year, Florida added the most construction jobs from January 2016 to January 2017, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

“In addition to a healthy regional economy, demand for these jobs is being fueled by infrastructure projects funded by the county sales tax increase,” Craig said. Last November, Palm Beach County voters passed a referendum to increase the county sales tax from 6 to 7 percent. The estimated $2.7 billion in countywide infrastructure improvement projects over the next decade will include new buildings and rebuilding existing structures, new roads and related improvement projects, rebuilding bridges and schools.

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County aims to stimulate economic energy, promote business diversity and enrich the vitality of Palm Beach County through the relocation, retention and expansion of companies.

Founded in 1982, the BDB works with Chambers of Commerce, the Economic Council and other business leaders. It is designated by the state and the County Board of Commissioners as Palm Beach County’s official economic development organization.

During the past five years, the BDB has assisted companies to create more than 10,000 direct jobs with average salaries greater than $58,000, resulting in more than $595 million in capital investment to Palm Beach County and an economic impact that exceeds $4.1 billion.

The mission of the aforementioned Economic Council of Palm Beach County is to create an environment that helps business prosper.  To accomplish this, the council promotes prudent economic growth, advocates for the quality of life in Palm Beach County, encourages the principles of good government and good citizenship, provides a forum for the open discussion of matters of public interest and seeks to inspire service-minded citizens to serve their community.

Since it was created in 1975, the council’s foremost goal has been to positively impact the business landscape of Palm Beach County.

Our company, Oxford Group USA, with 27 years in the USA it is proud to be located in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County. We have grown and flourished in this business-positive environment and look forward continuing this success under Governor Rick Scott, big supporter of entrepreneurial efforts and business expertise.