March 13, 2015 - Tampa, Florida. The Brazil-Florida Business Council, a statewide membership based council designed to drive bilateral business opportunities between Brazil and Florida, held its inaugural luncheon Wednesday, March 11, at the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. Well over 100 attendees listened as Sueli Cristina Bonaparte, Founding President and Chairperson, stressed that the Council's mission is to strengthen business ties between Florida and Brazil and to extend economic opportunities for both regions.
"Brazil has matured into a global powerhouse," Bonaparte said in her opening remarks. "Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world, and Florida is the premier destination for Brazilian tourists, as well as intrepid Brazilian pioneers looking to settle here for business and investment opportunities."
Sandy Murman, Chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission, also spoke of Tampa's close ties with Brazil during her introduction of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who gave the welcoming address. Brazil, says Murman, is Florida's number one international partner, generating an import export value of close to $21 billion in 2014.
Buckhorn addressed the crowd on the already close ties between Brazil and Tampa, and spoke about his administration's move forward to expand the city's presence in the world. He explained why the focus of The Brazil-Florida Business Council is important to the economic growth of the city. "If we are going to be the city we want to be, that we are capable of being, we will have to expand our horizons, and be global in our perspective and global in our actions," Buckhorn explained. He went on to say he hoped his work with the Council would help "plant the flag of Tampa and the state of Florida all over the world."
After lunch, Rick Homans, President and CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and a member of the Advisory Board of The Brazil-Florida Business Council, shared his thoughts about what the partnership will bring to the city and the excitement it offers. "We are a community of doers", Homans remarked. "There is a buzz in this community. So many things are happening on so many different fronts."
He then introduced keynote speaker Gabrielle Mandel, Country Manager of the Brazil and Southern Cone United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) who is responsible for business development, project preparation and evaluation, and supervision of USTDA activities. She went on to run down the nuts and bolts of the grant program, and elaborated on how businesses can get support and monetary funds to move projects and studies forward. "Brazil is a dynamic portfolio for U.S. trade", said Mandel.
The inaugural luncheon ended with Bonaparte thanking those who attended for their support and interest in the council, and talking about the upcoming initiatives.
The Brazil-Florida Business Council, Inc. ("BFBC"), a Tampa-based business organization was established to foster bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Brazil and the state of Florida, support initiatives and entities that facilitate the flow of goods, services, and people and to drive economic growth and opportunities for communities in both regions. If you are interested in joining The Brazil-Florida Business Council, membership information can be found at www.brazilfloridabusiness.com/join or contact firstname.lastname@example.org