Tallahassee has a “produced regionally, sold globally” story to tell that isn’t being told.
On Friday, the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County debuted its “Made in Tallahassee or #MadeinTLH” branding campaign to 200 influential business professionals at the EDC’s winter forum.
The campaign will focus on manufacturing, specifically research and development, software development and technology industries in the first year. In time, the campaign will add other industries.
Businesses will be highlighted monthly. They must be at least three years old, located, founded or headquartered in Tallahassee or surrounding area and have a proven economic footprint.
“This is something where we’ve acknowledged we’re not telling our story well enough,” said EDC Chairman Jim Murdaugh, who is also president of Tallahassee Community College.
“There are some exciting things happening in this community, and tremendous entrepreneurs who are doing things in this community and selling it around the country and world,” Murdaugh said. “We want to highlight them.”
EDC officials say Tallahassee businesses manufacture high quality and technologically advanced products for national and global markets. That in turn creates a region rich with a network of suppliers and manufacturers. More than 240 startups are in the region, and $750,000 in grants and investments helped businesses take root in Tallahassee, the EDC reports.
Telling the Tallahassee story could generate interest in other companies, including larger companies, to relocate, expand or do business here. Budding entrepreneurs also may be inspired by existing companies.
Companies in the campaign will range in size, from anywhere between 30 to 150 employees. In addition to recruiting new businesses, the existing business climate holds just as much weight for Tallahassee’s local economy, said Sue Dick, president and CEO of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
“Highlighting these local companies creates a general awareness and creates an opportunity for these companies to do business with each other,” said Dick, adding companies can also partner to pursue contracts or products. “It’s really creating an entire support system for economic development.”
During the forum, speakers talked about a need to cultivate talent that will make Florida more competitive.
The first company in the Made in Tallahassee campaign is MCCI, the country’s largest supplier of digital document management, falling under the campaign’s software manufacturing. It has more than 700 customers across the country.
Several attendees, such as City Commissioner Curtis Richardson, were eager to see how the campaign will boost awareness for MCCI and other local companies and build on the growing trend of incubators for innovative businesses.
“It was impressive for me to hear we have a company right here in Tallahassee that’s one of the largest if not the largest at what they do in the world,” Richardson said. “That’s what we’ve got to sell to the rest of Florida and country.”
MCCI Managing Director Lawton Langford said the company helps its clients go paperless and manage documents. For example, if a client or company has a lawsuit and documents are needed for evidence discovery, MCCI scans those documents and allows the client’s attorney to research them.
“It’s more than just archiving the image of a document,” Langford said. “We convert it to text, which allows full text search ability…. There’s a retrieval component to the archiving. It’s more than eliminating a warehouse and putting the documents on a CD-rom. It becomes more interactive.”
Business professionals working in digital document management consider MCCI a household name, but the campaign will expand the company’s reach.
“It’s a spectacular idea to celebrate existing businesses,” Langford said, who fully embraced the idea. “The chamber and the EDC is really getting it right striking the right balance between the two. We’re really thrilled to be the first company to be recognized.”
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