Corporate Operations

Jacksonville Strengthens International Ties with UK Secretary of State Visit

JAXUSA continues to build on its 10-year relationship with the United Kingdom by hosting Kemi Badenoch, the UK secretary of state for business and trade, last week.

The meeting brought together prominent business leaders in Northeast Florida, spanning across all target industries, that had an already established relationship with the UK including Johnson & Johnson Vision, Redwire Space, Paysafe, Mayo Clinic and more. Conversations centered around best practices for facilitating global business as more firms in the Jacksonville region look to expand in the UK and British companies look to expand in Northeast Florida.

The visit by Badenoch comes on the heels of another successful business development mission trip to London in late September. This year’s mission focused on financial services and life sciences, and accentuated the benefits of the partnering with the Jacksonville region.

“The Jacksonville region remains attractive for global investment,” said Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA. “Companies with global plans see Northeast Florida as a strategic gateway into the United States because of our transportation and logistics infrastructure, but they also to recognize us as a destination for corporate operations and our skilled talent base.”

Following the meeting, Badenoch met with Governor Ron DeSantis at JAXPORT to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would increase business relationships, trade, bilateral investment and academic research between Florida and the United Kingdom. This MOU is the largest to date of any made between the UK and a U.S. state and focuses on fintech, health tech, aviation and aerospace, artificial intelligence and more.

As the largest foreign investor in the state of Florida, UK companies currently account for for more than 70,000 jobs with an estimated $18 billion in holdings. Many of these jobs and investment stem directly from the UK companies that have relocated or expanded into the Jacksonville region.

“The foundation that we have set in the United Kingdom will pay dividends for Jacksonville for generations to come,” says Wallace. “As we look for new areas of opportunity the Jacksonville region will continue to strengthen its global brand presence and its position as a preeminent location for commerce and quality of life.”