Florida Governor Rick Scott and a host of other officials visited Smart Companies in Southwest Florida to tout successes in job creation and assistance to manufacturers as part of his ‘Let’s Keep Small Business Working Tour’. Brian Rist of Storm Smart Companies helped host Scott, Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and others at the company’s headquarters in Fort Myers. Many members of the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (SRMA) also attended the event.

Rist talked about the reduction in taxes on new machinery, and investments Smart Companies was then able to make. The new machinery in turn added jobs. Peter Bagwell, a Rotary Broach Product Engineer at Polygon Solutions Inc. also attended the event and is using the tax breaks for a new machine. Polygon and Smart Companies are both SRMA members.

“We’ve been able to take advantage of many of the programs that the State of Florida is promoting to help small businesses,” says Bagwell. “Typically, larger companies have people who can be assigned to follow through on applications and necessary phone calls, but it’s harder for small businesses. The person who has to fill out the application may also be handling sales, shipping and some production in a smaller company. We miss out on a lot the bigger programs.”

One aspect of the governor’s speech revolved around the success in rebuilding Florida’s port systems and the opportunities available for importing and exporting goods. Polygon Solutions is considered a small cutting tool manufacturer, but is excited about the growth in exports. Bagwell adds, “We have an International Trade Consultant with the FSBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University. His expertise is invaluable in helping us to grow in the export business.”

The governor also talked about developing new programs. One program would create a contest similar to the X Prize, where a company can be awarded a prize for solving one of the government’s environmental or infrastructure challenges. Another program helps combine the efforts of colleges and businesses.