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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Ocala chamber looking for $190,000 contract renewal for business retention, attraction services

The local chamber of commerce is hoping city of Ocala officials will renew a $190,000 contract for business retention and attraction services.

The matter will come before the Ocala City Council during its next regular meeting on November 2, when council members will vote on whether to renew the city’s annual agreement with the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP).

Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership
Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership is located at 310 SE 3rd Street in downtown Ocala

During city budget meetings earlier this year, city council members recommended funding for the full amount and requested that the city and chamber enter into a performance agreement.

City staff and CEP representatives negotiated the agreement, which includes two new incentives: NEXTworking, which provides career development events to engage students with businesses, and IMPACT which provides assistance to entrepreneurs.

Under the agreement, CEP must host at least 25 prospect visits during the year, including at least 18 different companies that are considering locating a facility in the Ocala Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Marion County. The chamber must also create five targeted marketing campaigns for businesses that are considering relocation or expansion. These campaigns will aim at engagement with top-level executives, and may include working appointments at trade shows and meetings.

The chamber is also charged with engaging 200 students and 35 businesses through career development events, assisting at least 100 entrepreneurs through its initiatives, and providing the city with a monthly written report of its activities.

The agreement establishes the minimum requirements for CEP to achieve, and provides grounds for termination if those requirements are not met.

The Ocala City Council regularly meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month. It will host its next meeting on Tuesday, November 2, at 5 p.m. at Ocala City Hall (110 SE Watula Avenue).