University Economic Development Association


Sustainable Economic Development Initiative

Award Category: Place + Innovation
Project Site: Sustainable Economic Development Initiative
Submitted By: University of West Florida
Contact: Dr. Brice Harris , 850.439.5400


As a result of the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the University of West Florida was contracted by the state of Florida to develop the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI) program. The funds were designated for developing and implementing an innovative economic development program for the charitable purpose of promoting research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification, and job creation within the eight disproportionally affected counties of Northwest Florida.

Strategically tying financial and tax incentives to job creation and capital investment enables governments to tailor incentive programs to tangible goals. Therefore, utilizing the $30 million appropriation from the state legislature, the UWF Office of Economic Development and Engagement used the SEDI program funds to create an industry incentive program designed to recruit, retain or expand industry job creation. Intended for use when funding from private, State, and/or other sources either was insufficient or unavailable to finalize a project, IRREF funds were to be used to push projects over the finish line.

Utilizing innovative techniques, to date the project has contracted for the creation or retention of 10,666 jobs and nearly $673 million in capital investment.

Finalist Presentation

UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists presented at the Annual Summit in Long Beach on October 2-3, 2017. Summit attendees then voted for the best initiative in each category.

University Economic Development Association

PO Box 97930
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
216.200.UEDA (8332)