Economy: Attracting the Whales

“How will you attract big companies like Amazon to want to relocate to Tampa?”

I get this question asked a lot, and I’m not sure that’s even the best move to try to get them here. Which would you rather have in our city? A big business like Amazon moving here, or a local small business growing into such power and scale that they compete with, or even overtake the size of companies like Amazon?

To think we need some big companies to relocate to Tampa to save our city ignores the reality that we already have companies here that have the potential to grow into their major powerhouses. (Established companies like, ConnectWise & IT Authorities as well as startups like Nitro Solutions and Next Machine come to mind as high probability candidates) And if we can home grow Fortune 100 companies of our own, guess what? We will have other big companies knocking down our door to get here, and we won’t have to give everything away to get them here. That’s better for our local businesses, our economy, and our reputation.

Now I don’t think we have to wait that long either. Believe it or not, when a big company considers moving to a city, one of the things they evaluate the city on is the power of its small business infrastructure. Are there enough restaurants, gyms, grocery stores, hair salons, chiropractors, dentists, and all the other types of businesses that help increase the quality of life for their employees when they aren’t at the warehouse or headquarters? If the answer to those questions is a no, then big business won’t be attracted to a city in the first place. If you want to attract the big whales, make sure you’ve got tons of minnows. The whales eat where the minnows swim.