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Partnership Wants Bay Area Businesses To Think Globally

Global Tampa Bay
Members of Global Tampa Bay's trade mission pose in front of the Agua Clara Locks on the Panama Canal. The group's trip to Panama generated more than seven million dollars in sales for Tampa area businesses.

Business leaders from the Tampa Bay Region will travel to Brazil in August, in hopes of finding new markets for their products.

It’s the latest trade mission organized by Global Tampa Bay, which helps small and medium-sized companies get into the export game.  


“The idea is that it gives people either their first chance to export or somebody who may be doing Canada and Mexico already, but hasn’t branched out to other markets,” said Mike Meidel, director of Pinellas County Economic Development. 


He pointed to a March trip to Panama, which he said generated more than seven million dollars in sales for Tampa area businesses.  


The U.S. Dollar is the official currency in Panama. There are also direct flights to Panama City from Tampa. The trade group identified area companies that might be a good fit, like Perky’s Pizza. 


Owner Jim Howell said he met local partners, thanks to meetings Global Tampa Bay arranged through the U.S. Embassy. 


“You’re able to get in front of customers that you would never get in front of before,” he said.  “When the U.S. Embassy calls, people pick up the phone, they answer, people make appointments and they keep them. And it opens doors for you.” 


Meidel said future trade missions are planned for Peru and France.

Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.
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