Community & Economic Development Strategy

Grow Smarter St. Pete

Grow Smarter is an economic development strategy with a focus on equity.

They operate as a cross-sector initiative with the mission to reduce gaps by race and place by creating equitable economic growth.

Mission is to build an inclusive, multi-sector initiative to create equitable economic growth in St. Petersburg.

Vision is that St. Petersburg will grow equitably and have a vibrant, diversified economy that benefits all.


Grow Smarter began in 2014 as a partnership between the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of St. Petersburg to enhance the city’s ability to support diverse economic growth.

The Grow Smarter Strategy identified five target industry sectors primed for growth and development in St. Petersburg: Marine & Life Science, Data Analytics, Specialized Manufacturing, Creative Arts & Design, and Financial Services. The strategy also led to the creation of the Economic Development Corporation and St. Petersburg Innovation District 

In 2018, a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg allowed Grow Smarter to hire staff and bring an equity lens to these economic development efforts.  

What They Do


The Grow Smarter Alliance includes business, government, and nonprofit representatives that guide action and strategy around six focus areas: Culture & Community, District & Corridor Development, Coordinated Education & Training, Entrepreneurial Growth, Targeted Job Creation, and Housing. We also host community events, including our annual Grow Smarter Summit.


Many organizations are already working toward our mission of equitable economic development, and we strive to get them at the same table to align efforts, discuss challenges, and identify solutions. We also educate the community using data and serve as a community connector. 


Success for Grow Smarter happens when new connections and conversations lead to action in the community. One example is the St. Pete Pitch Night, which was born from conversations in our Entrepreneurial Growth working group. Another is the Branding House program currently underway.

Equity & Grow Smarter Investors

Click here to learn more about opportunities to become an Equity & Grow Smarter Alliance investor and support our Programs of Work for 2021.
Contact Grow Smarter Manager: Jocelyn Howard |