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Former Florida Secretary of Commerce: "Gainesville is a great example of a high-performing region with many resources."

Former Florida Secretary of Commerce: “Gainesville is a great example of a high-performing region with many resources.”

Former Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who now is President/CEO of Vision First Advisors, an economic development consulting firm, delivered the keynote address at the opening reception of the 2015 Leadership Exchange in Greenville, S.C. Greater. Greater Gainesville leaders are in Greenville until Friday exploring various business ecosystem components that have contributed to its economic success. The delegation will hear from individuals who have played a major role in catalyzing Greenville’s economic success, including its Mayor, Knox White; and other leaders representing business, research, education and more.

Swoope’s comments focused on Gainesville’s unique assets and potential, and the steps needed to leverage those assets to achieve the level of success seen in the 10-county South Carolina area referred to as “The Upstate.” Greenville has gained national recognition in publications such as CNN Money, which ranked the city one of the “Top 10 Fastest growing Cities in the U.S., and Forbes, which has ranked the region among Top Cities with the Greatest Capacity for Innovation and the Best Cities for Young Professionals. Much of Greenville’s growth is attributed to it aptitude for fostering public-private partnerships, combined with an abundance of quality of life amenities.

“Successful regions approach growth from a regional standpoint,” Swoope said. “Greenville is one of the best examples of how people worked together to transform a region into one of the hottest markets into the country.”

Swoope served in Governor Rick Scott’s administration (2011-2015) as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of its principal economic development organization, Enterprise Florida, Inc. Under his leadership, Enterprise Florida completed a record fiscal year in 2013-14, and increased competitive projects by 40%, resulting in 73% more new jobs and 95% more capital investment in the state than in 2011.

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