Beacon Council plans recruiting trip to Spain
By Tom Harlan
Recent moves into South Florida by five Spanish firms have sparked Miami-Dade County economic development officials to plan a November trip to the European country to recruit more business.
Companies based in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Andalucia have opened county offices in the past seven months, according to the Beacon Council. The companies selected Miami-Dade to increase US sales and have a base near Latin America, said Mario J. Sacasa, the council's senior vice president of international programs.
Cemusa Inc., Proexca, Saniflow Corp., COPCA Business Platform and EDV America Corp. are leasing a combined 23,750 square feet of office and warehouse space in the county, he said. They are in Coral Gables, Doral and the Blue Lagoon and Brickell areas, he said.
Five other Spanish companies - an Internet company, a promotions agency and three manufacturers and distributors - are expected to occupy another 14,000 square feet of office and warehouse space and add about 60 jobs in the county in the next three years, Mr. Sacasa said.
Spanish companies have invested about $17 million here and are projected to bring 96 jobs in the next three years, said Mr. Sacasa. It is the top European market investing in the area, he said.
International projects are hard to predict and take time to develop, Mr. Sacasa said.
"That is why it is so important to build up a significant pipeline of prospects and projects from our main market countries around the world," he said.
Cemusa, a designer and manufacturer of street furniture, opened a Miami office in early 2003 and rents 16,000 square feet of warehouse space and 4,000 square feet of office space.
Toulla Constantinou, CEO of Cemusa North America, said the company creates and maintains street furniture that carries advertising. Her company shares advertising revenue with the county.
Cemusa has 15 local employees - including executives and support staff - and expects to hire more than 50 in the next few years, Ms. Constantinou said.
Saniflow, which manufactures and distributes hand dryers and other washroom equipment, opened a 150-square-foot office at 2655 LeJeune Road. Commercial manager David Ruiz said the company, which employs two full-time managers and an assistant, will add one employee a year for the next couple of years.
Miami was attractive to Saniflow because the company works with commercial construction, Mr. Ruiz said. The company also chose South Florida because many of the firm's competitors are in northern states.
The Madrid Chamber of Commerce and Feria de Madrid opened an office last year at 2655 LeJeune Road in Coral Gables.
Mr. Sacasa said many Spanish companies are interested in opening branches in Miami-Dade because they have investments in Latin America and the Caribbean. "Miami-Dade is the perfect platform from which to reach and conduct business in these markets," he said. "South Florida is becoming a global business destination, and Miami-Dade is the backbone of the area's logistics infrastructure."
Details: (305) 579-1367.