‘Whirlwind’ chamber visit to Tampa strengthens trade links

By Maurice Garvey

A TRADE delegation of business and political leaders from South Dublin County recently arrived back from a “whirlwind” trip to Tampa, where links between the two new sister cities were strengthened.

In September 2015, South Dublin Chamber and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Florida, signed a co-operative agreement to further develop links and explore the establishment of business and trade relations.

Tampa 4 Mayor Sarah Holland

The Tampa trade mission (May 30 – June 2) was a reciprocal trip, following up on the visit by the Tampa delegation to South Dublin County last September, which coincided with a Sister Cities Agreement Partnership.

Led by South Dublin County Mayor Sarah Holland, the group included business owners from the county, senior officials from South Dublin Chamber, South Dublin County Council and a number of councillors.

Ireland Consul General Shane Stephens was with the group, as they met officials from the business and education community to exchange ideas.

Trade Mission Tampa

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, said “Tampa is proud to have South Dublin as a new sister city”, and believes the initiative could serve as an important gateway into the European marketplace for Tampa firms.

Mayor Holland said the two regions “have so much in common and so much to learn from each other.”

Signing the co-op agreement between South Dublin and Hillsborough County, Mayor Holland praised the cohesive message the Tampa business community deliver “on a global scale”, and said that is something “we want to do in South Dublin as well.”

The trade delegation enjoyed meetings with business, political and tourism leaders, tours of higher education campuses, and a meeting with Strategic Property Partners, the firm spearheaded by Tampa Bay Lighting owner Jeff Vinik.

Christopher O’Donnell, from the Tampa Bay Times, reports no firm business contracts have arisen from the trade missions so far, but says firms checking out Tampa include Meditec, a Tallaght-based medical technology company, accountancy firm Crowe Horwath, and Guinness Enterprise Centre.

Objectives for the trip are to promote South Dublin County/region as a place for inward investment, to investigate business opportunities, strengthen links, improve agency links, and develop an understanding of business opportunities of bi-lateral trade within the USA.

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