Governor DeSantis held a press conference on Friday, February 2, 2024 at South Florida State College Hardee Campus. The Governor awarded $4,000,000 to The Hardee County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) for a multi-purpose facility. The Development Group applied for the grant through Florida’s Office of Broadband.

     Governor DeSantis announced the grant award citing the importance of infrastructure and expanding broadband. The Development Group’s grant application stood out because it created a multi-purpose facility and incorporated infrastructure, workforce, and expanding broadband. Alex Kelly, Secretary of Commerce, told the audience that The Development Group’s application was the best the office had seen in several years.

     Denise Grimsley, CEO of The Development Group commented on the grant award, Strategic partnerships are the cornerstone of The Development Group and the foundation of a prosperous future for Hardee County. Today we are celebrating the next phase of a project that highlights the relationship between the organizations driving economic growth, specifically South Florida State College and CareerSource. The first floor is designated for a culinary incubator, the second floor will feature office spaces, classrooms, and a computer lab. The third floor will add needed residential housing. The location is to be determined.”      

           A business incubator is a program designed to support the development and growth of early-stage companies or startups. Incubators typically provide resources such as office space, mentorship, networking opportunities, and workforce training.

         The Development Group will continue to partner with South Florida State College and CareerSource to apply for additional grants and select the appropriate site.