DeSoto County and Competitive Florida Partnership

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and DeSoto County launched the Competitive Florida Partnership


Mar 10, 2014

DEO will work with DeSoto County to provide economic development assistance

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and DeSoto County launched the Competitive Florida Partnership with an economic development advisory committee meeting to discuss challenges, barriers, and strategies for economic growth. DEO’s Competitive Florida Partnership program assists rural communities in developing a targeted, specialized approach to economic development tailored for each community’s unique assets. This meeting introduced County leaders to the program and served to inform DEO about the community and its current economic development efforts.

Governor Rick Scott said, “DeSoto County’s determination and hard work to invest in their community will pay off for Florida families. DEO’s Competitive Florida Program is creating opportunities for economic innovation and growth in our rural communities.”

The sessions included current and new economic development strategies, as well as identifying the community vision and future economic growth goals. DEO staff participated in a tour of the community to highlight places, ideas, and projects instrumental in DeSoto County’s economic growth and revitalization.

“We are excited to work with DeSoto County on exploring new ways to promote economic development and create opportunities for its residents,” said Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “DEO looks forward to sharing best practices and collaborating with DeSoto County and the three other pilot communities to cultivate new, and promote existing, resources to strengthen the local economy.”

The next step for DeSoto County is to generate a community discussion to engage the public, stakeholders, and business leaders in economic development strategies and to participate in the community asset mapping. Competitive Florida helps communities map their strengths and identify what makes them unique. A team of experts from DEO and state agency partners will visit the community again to evaluate the assets for opportunities to make improvements or enhancements.

“DeSoto County is an excellent choice to participate in DEO’s new pilot program. The potential to showcase all the great assets in this county, while strengthening economic partnerships and job growth is what makes DeSoto County a wise choice,” said Senator Bill Galvano, District 26.

"I am so very thankful to Governor Scott and our Department of Economic Opportunity for choosing Desoto County as a participant in this fantastic program.  We all know that rural Florida is filled with bright and driven people, yet sometimes they struggle to advance economic development opportunities, to no fault of their own. I have every belief that my friends in Desoto County will benefit from this partnership, and as their Representative, I welcome any and all help to create jobs in one of the most impoverished communities in our state. This Governor understands that sometimes, our rural areas, just need a little boost,” said Representative Ben Albritton, District 56.

Once DeSoto County’s top assets are inventoried, DEO will provide strategies and suggestions on how the assets can be utilized to improve quality of life or economic gain to the community. This information will ultimately influence the development of the community’s economic development strategy.

”DeSoto County is excited to be participating in the Competitive Florida Pilot Program.  We have worked diligently on a number of initiatives over the past several years that we feel can be brought together under the program with the goal of developing an actionable economic development strategy for our community,” said Mandy Hines, County Coordinator for DeSoto County.

The Competitive Florida Partnership will help rural communities value and market local assets and challenge them to set realistic goals for advancing their economic development vision. The four participating communities – DeSoto County, the City of Port St. Joe, the City of Newberry, and the City of White Springs - will design and develop innovative strategies that promote partnerships, community design, and a viable local economy. All four participating communities have progressed to the asset mapping stage of developing their economic plan.

For more information regarding the Competitive Florida Partnership, please visit: