Florida’s Secretary of Commerce, Jamal Sowell will be discussing the Governor’s economic vision for rural Florida, on August 2 at 10 a.m. at the Hamilton County High School Auditorium. As the Secretary of Commerce, Jamal Sowell leads Enterprise Florida (EFI) as its President and CEO. EFI partners with outside organizations to provide small, minority and entrepreneurial businesses with training, development and financing options. EFI is an umbrella for the efforts and initiatives that drive our state-level commitment to economic development and give context to the economic developers working in every county and most cities in Florida. EFI is organized by Florida law as public-private organizational model and can offer the support of the public sector with the speed and insight of the private sector.  


As a sixth generation Floridian, Secretary Sowell’s family roots are in Hamilton County. His father is from Jasper and graduated from J.R.E. Lee High School in 1964. Investing in rural communities like Jasper is important to EFI’s holistic economic development strategy. Governor DeSantis has said that “Florida’s rural communities are vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of our state.” 


EFI’s role has been to help implement the Governor’s strategy and carry out his vision. On July 12, the Governor announced more than $30 million would be awarded to improve infrastructure, community redevelopment and job creation in small and rural Florida communities by EFI and the Department of Economic Opportunity. Through this funding, $650,000 will be awarded to the town of Jennings through DEO’s Florida Small Cities CDBG program to rehabilitate or demolish and replace a minimum of nine very low, low-, and moderate-income households to meet current building code standards. In addition, $19,000 in site preparation grants will be awarded to the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners through EFI’s Rural Expansion Toolkit initiative. The Governor has worked hard to make sure that no community has been forgotten. He has given EFI the flexibility and support needed to make a difference for the entire state. 


From day one of his administration, Governor DeSantis has worked hard for our businesses, and this was only amplified during the past year. Throughout the past year, the Governor’s push to keep businesses open and support the economy has led to a thriving economy in Florida. One where businesses and people come first. Because of Governor DeSantis’s leadership, Florida is one of the top destinations for business relocation in the country. 


Elected officials, parents, community and other are invited to attend.  Please contact Ms. Paula G. Williams at 386-792-7808 if you have questions regarding this event.