JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A lot of eyes in Jacksonville are on London this week where the Jaguars will be playing two games in a row.
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan is already there and has been since Saturday, not only for the game but recruiting businesses to come to Jacksonville. And she is working on a special way to do that.
One of the things Mayor Deegan is doing on the trip is trying to get a direct flight from Jacksonville International Airport to England. She said that could bring more business to town.
For years now, city leaders have been pushing the assets of Jacksonville to businesses in London.
But something has been missing to make that happen: a direct flight between the two cities. Now Deegan is trying to make that connection happen with the help of British companies and the government.
“They’re helping us with what we think is going to be really a primary thing that we need to get done. And that is a direct flight from Jacksonville to London. And that’s really one of the friction points that keeps people from making that transition, right when they have a big global company, and they want to move a headquarters to Jacksonville or they want to have a big presence in Jacksonville. They want that direct flight,” Deegan said.
Deegan has been very busy this week. She is meeting with 50 companies and agencies to promote the city. Most of it deals with financial technology, known as “Fintech.”
“Primarily here to recruit business back to Jacksonville, especially. More Fintech. You know, we’ve become really one of the Fintech hubs of the entire country. There are a lot of people coming from London, that are now choosing Jacksonville more often than they’re choosing New York City or Silicon Valley,” Deegan said.
Deegan said the previous administrations have laid the groundwork and now she hopes the city will now see a benefit from this.
“People recognize us, you know, we walk into rooms, and they say, you know, ‘Oh, you know, it’s great to see folks from Jacksonville.’ You’re building those relationships. So, I do think it’s very successful,” she said.
She hopes the success will show up in Jacksonville soon.
Deegan plans to be in London for the game this Sunday as the Jaguars take on the Atlanta Falcons.