The Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE), organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC), is a six-day, high-level tour that showcases successful examples of entrepreneurship, innovation, strategic investments and public-private partnerships from a specific region/country that contribute to the economic development at the local, national, and regional levels.

This year, the North-Central Florida region has been selected for the 8th ACE exchange on December 3-9, 2018, which will bring 50 economic and political decision makers from across the Americas and beyond together for a tour of the innovative hubs, leading firms, and educational and research institutions in six Florida communities: Orlando/Orange County, Space Coast, Flagler County, St. Augustine, Gainesville, and Tallahassee-Leon County.

In Orlando/Orange County, participants will experience the area’s thriving tourism and hospitality industry, as well as booming industries in the life sciences, innovative technologies, advanced manufacturing and simulation through visits to Guidewell Innovation Center, University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering, BRIDG, Disney, and Lockheed Martin.

A tour of Florida’s Space Coast will expose ACE attendees to ground-breaking innovations in U.S. space technology and manufacturing emerging from organizations such Groundswell Startups, the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design at Florida Institute of Technology, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Flagler County will highlight the educational pipeline and Flagship Academies that offer hands-on learning for students in Agriculture, Aerospace/Aviation, Green Technology, Health Science, Engineering and Computer Science, Marine Research, Finance and Business, Leadership, and the Arts, as well as opportunities for businesses looking to establish U.S. headquarters and/or manufacturing facilities.

In St. Augustine, attendees will experience the city’s most famous tourist attractions and the inventive ways that private industry conserves its historic past with successful commercial ventures.

Gainesville will connect ACE participants with assets such as UF Health, Sid Martin Biotech Institute, University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which collectively drive the area as a mecca for business incubation, agriculture, and highly educated talent.

The tour closes in Tallahassee-Leon County, where attendees will discover how research and development, university commercialization, investments in public-private partnerships and placemaking, and a focus on the talent pipeline and inclusion, have catalyzed economic vitality in the community.

Throughout the ACE 8 tour, decision-makers to explore local and regional economic development models, share experiences and knowledge, build networks between the local and visiting stakeholders, and establish long-term collaborative partnerships to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems of the Americas and beyond.

Community Contact:

Cristina Paredes, Deputy Director

Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality


Website/Social Media:

ACE 8 website:

Hashtag: #ACXchange

Organization of American State/Organización de los Estados Americanos

T: @OEA_oficial / @OAS_official

FB: @OEAoficial / @OASofficial

OAS Development/OEA Desarrollo

T: @OAS_Development / @OEA_Desarrollo

FB: @OASDevelopment / @OEADesarrollo

Inter-American Competitiveness Network/Red Interamericana de Cooperación (RiacNet)

T: @riacnetorg

FB: @RIACnet


Past ACE Locations:

Tour 1: Georgia and North/South Carolina

Tour 2: Mexico

Tour 3: Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois

Tour 4: Province of Córdoba, Argentina

Tour 5: Arizona and Southern California

Tour 6: Canada: Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and the Niagara Region

Tour 7: Central Texas