County seeks $12,500 from state to lure Brazilian incubator
By Claudio Mendonça
Miami-Dade County and Enterprise Florida are requesting $12,500 in state funds to lure a 10,000-square-foot Brazilian government business incubator to the Miami Free Zone. The funds, plus $12,500 from the county, would combat a competitive bid from Atlanta.
With Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz as sponsor, a resolution to authorize the incentive is to be voted on at today's (1/20) county commission meeting.
The incubator would be run by Brazilian agency Agencia de Promoçao de Exportaçoes do Brasil, which assists and in some cases subsidizes Brazilian exporters. Brazil's goal is to increase exports to the US from the current $28 billion to $100 billion a year. The incubator would offset relocation and startup costs in the free zone for Brazilian exporters.
"If Brazil endorses Miami as a business center, this will bring us closer to the Brazilian trade community," said Manny Gonzalez, executive director of Miami-Dade County's Jay Malina International Trade Consortium. "This is a trade-related issue to enhance and bring business to Miami."
The sum is about what Atlanta is offering to lure the incubator there. Atlanta reportedly has offered incentives ranging from reduced rents at $6.50 per square foot to funds for relocation. The Miami Free Zone, on the other hand, is offering $9 per square foot, costs that would be offset by funds from the state's Quick Action Closing Fund through Enterprise Florida.
There would be 10,000 square feet available for the incubator at the Miami Free Zone.
"The Brazilian government visited several venues in the US, and they are considering the free-trade zone because Miami is the gateway to the Americas," said Gary Goldfarb, Miami Free Zone executive director.
With Brazil accounting for half of Latin America's Fortune 500 companies, the goal is to attract 300 businesses from that country in a three-year period to do business in Florida. According to the International Trade Consortium, Brazil is Florida's and Miami-Dade County's largest trade partner, doing $9.2 billion worth of business with the region.
Mr. Gonzalez said once the incubator is completed, it may attract companies from other Latin American countries to follow the same path to South Florida.
The Brazilian government is expected to choose a location for the incubator in March.