The Clearwater area is truly a business hub with diversified business activities. In the Downtown Clearwater area including its immediate surroundings, there are over 1,644 active businesses with 19,208 people paid a cumulative payroll of $695,644,000. Studies reveal a 25% increase in the business activities of the city in just over the past two years. The range of businesses at Clearwater includes high tech industries, financial firms, hospitals, restaurants, light industrial, and retail outlets. In the core downtown area alone over 4,500 people are employed with business firms.
The travel infrastructure of Tampa Bay is among the biggest and best in Florida regarded as the key to business development in the region. With 21 carriers and more than 17 million passengers served every year, Tampa International Airport is the largest in the region. Additionally, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport play a significant role in catering to the air traffic needs of the region.
The port of Tampa has played a vital role in the economy of Tampa Bay area. Hosting a strong shipping industry in the area, the Port of Tampa caters to over half of Florida’s cargo in the modes of container, refrigerator, ro-ro, bulk, and break bulk, employing over 130,000 people. The Port of Manatee, and The Port of St. Petersburg are also very near to Clearwater area.
In addition to the extensive roadways in the area, a $1.8 billion improvement plan is under progress targeting some of the most important interchanges, connectors, overpasses and express highways. In addition, a rail service in this area connects with more than 166 inter-modal distribution terminals.
Being a popular tourist destination, there is a great deal of development in the Clearwater area amusement industry. The region boasts of many amusement and theme parks, gardens, zoos, libraries and museums.
Avionics, Marine and Defense Electronics
Tampa Bay region is a reputed support center in the fields of homeland security, avionics and marine electronic industries. The Center for Ocean Technology at the University of South Florida is one of the champions of research and development in MEMS used for gathering bio-chemical data for supervising water quality. In addition, the miniature robots of the USF’s Center for Robot-Assisted Search are finding increase interest and uses. The United States Central Command is housed in Tampa Bay and manages military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle East countries.
Business and Information Services
More than one fourth of the Florida state’s business and information service companies are hosted in Tampa Bay. The diverse interests of these firms extend into financial services, informational technology services, and professional services like law companies, accounting firms, engineering companies, consulting firms and others. In addition, Tampa Bay is the gateway to the High Tech Corridor of Florida with a range of information technology companies and business service firms assisting the companies in the region with advanced information technology needs.
Considering the scope and size of the financial services industry in the region, Tampa Bay is a significant financial center in the southeast. The financial services cluster of this area is the largest in the state of Florida ranking 20th in the U.S. with regard to domestic employment. Several reputed and leading global players in the field of financial service have established their presence in the region like JPMorgan Chase, Progressive Insurance, Raymond James Financial, Citigroup, Deposit Trust & Clearing Corporation, Metlife, USAA, State Farm, and Franklin Templeton to name a few.
Education, Technology and Research
Clearwater area is a home for cutting-edge educational and research activity in the field of technology. A number of research centers in the region have engaged themselves in scientific research and transfer of technology for commercial usage and application in the market place. An extensive online distance education, technical institutes, healthcare training institutes, and industrial training firms are engaged in extending the scope of education in to several applied fields across industry verticals.
Nanotechnology and Microelectronics
Some of the top research firms in the area like the University of South Florida's Nanomaterials and Nano-manufacturing Research Center (NNRC), the Center for Ocean Technology at USF's College of Marine Science, and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center have accomplished great feats in the areas of drug dispensing, customized laser microchips, mechanized microsurgery, solar power production, water purification, cancer treatment, design and development of marine sensors using micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), and nanotube hydrogen storage.
The high tech manufacturing cluster of the Tampa Bay region is diverse and versatile. The major manufacturing activities of the region extend into food processing and packaging, defense and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and microelectronics. The region ranks among the 20 leading medical device manufacturing clusters of the country. This segment has employed over 10,000 people producing more than $2billion worth of goods and services. Clearwater area proudly houses hundreds of medical device manufacturers and suppliers, producers of health-care related components, pharmaceutical firms and medical device manufacturers and suppliers.
The Tampa Bay region proudly has more than 50 hospitals, 15 clinics and ambulatory care centers. More than 9,200 physicians and 53,000 nurses provide personalized medical care in the area. BayCare Health system is dedicated to providing quality medical care assisted by five top regional hospitals. Morton Plant Hospital is highly reputed for its excellent service and facilities. Florida Blood Services is one of the largest blood transfusion service firms in the region.
As a popular tourist destination, Clearwater has several important shopping malls like Northwood Plaza, Boatyard Village, Countryside Mall, Clearwater Mall, Bay Area Outlet Mall and The Pier. Also, the festive events, Pier 60, social gatherings, Clearwater Beach Walkway, and other places of visit have developed a range of extensive business activities.