The University of West Florida’s Office of Economic Development has $5 million for companies relocating or expanding to the Gulf Coast and who create jobs while doing so.
The money comes from the Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund (IRREF), which was created as part of the Oil Spill Recovery Act of 2011. It authorized $10 million per year for three years for economic development in the eight northwest Florida counties most affected by the BP oil spill.
“There’s been so much done aimed at environmental recovery. The economy was also seriously affected,” said Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, who is also president and CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. “The hope was that we would have a way to address economic damage, and we can help the economy the same way we went after environmental restoration early on.”