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Town of Century, CEDA first participants in UWF OEDE marketing matching-grant program

The University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement announces that the Town of Century and the Community Economic Development Association for Escambia County are the first participants in OEDE’s Northwest Florida Asset Valuation and Marketing Support Program.

As participants in the program, the town and CEDA will work with UWF marketing professors Dr. Stephen LeMay, Dr. Scott Keller and Dr. Felicia Morgan to develop a marketing plan that will help the Century community identify its business assets and promote them to site selectors and companies looking to expand or relocate.

“We are very pleased to have the Town of Century and the Community Economic Development Association partner with the UWF Department of Marketing and Economics to produce a comprehensive marketing strategy for the town,” said Brice Harris, director of strategic initiatives for OEDE. “This is exactly the type of project that we envisioned when launching the Asset Valuation and Marketing Support Program, and so we are delighted to provide funding to support this important initiative.”

Launched in February, the $250,000 Northwest Florida Asset Valuation and Marketing Support Program provides participants with funding to help offset the cost of hiring UWF faculty, staff and students to conduct market studies, create promotional campaigns and deliver other services that enhance the marketability of locales and geography-based assets in Northwest Florida.

Individual awards can be no larger than $20,000, and participating organizations must contribute at least $1 for every dollar awarded through the program.

The program is not open to for-profit organizations. OEDE will continue to accept applications until all the money allocated to the program is used.

Century Mayor Freddie McCall said the town is excited to work with UWF faculty.

“The town is very appreciative of these partners in helping the town to move toward achievement of its vision to be the model for rural economic redevelopment, excelling in cultivating its workforce, facilitating the growth of regional industry and enhancing the quality of life for its residents and the surrounding communities,” McCall said.

Likewise, UWF faculty members look forward to working with economic development officials in Century.

“The Town of Century has a wonderful story to tell, and we would like to help tell that story to a wider audience,” said UWF associate professor Stephen LeMay. “Century has a history, access to wilderness areas and a strong logistics infrastructure. Those things, among others, should not be secrets.”

UWF associate professor Felicia Morgan said the partnership will provide an opportunity for her to use her marketing skills to help Escambia County grow and prosper.

“The Town of Century and the area around it hold so much potential for human and economic development, and I hope that our work on the marketing plan will be a spark for that engine,” she said. “In short, this is simply an incredibly worthwhile endeavor that I think will be both challenging and fun.”

Century has much that makes it an attractive place to grow or expand a business, said UWF professor Scott Keller.

“It is clear that the Town of Century has many jewels that when promoted to the public will be of great interest to a variety of consumer and industrial target market segments,” Keller said. “It is a pleasure to collaborate with the people of Century, and help the city build a successful marketing plan.”

Interested parties may review and download the request for participation by visiting the OEDE website, http://uwf.edu/offices/oede/funding-opportunities/nwfl-avms-program/.