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ICYMI: 2017's Major Economic Development Announcements in SC: What They Mean for Growth & Measuri

Wednesday, January 3, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andrea Rawl
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2017's Major Economic Development Announcements in SC: 
What They Mean for Growth and Measuring Success

2017 was a year of growth in South Carolina. We asked the team at SC Commerce for a quick recap. 
1) Overall what kind of economic development success did South Carolina have in 2017?
As we begin to close out 2017, it’s clear that this has been a very strong year for economic development across South Carolina. Several manufacturers – Volvo Cars, BMW, Arthrex and Samsung – announced major, 1,000-job creating projects. The great thing about these is that they touched many different regions of the state; BMW and Arthrex in the Upstate, Volvo Cars in the Lowcountry and Samsung in the Midlands.

More than just manufacturing success, however, 2017 has been a year of economic diversity for the Palmetto State. We've attracted some major investments in corporate office operations this year. Back in January, Movement Mortgage announced an $18 million expansion and the creation of 700 new jobs in Lancaster County. Subsequently, we’ve seen companies like BB&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and many others announce new and expanding office projects across our state.
Moving into 2018, we’ll aim to build on this economic diversity, which will hopefully allow us to ensure prosperity and continued job creation in South Carolina for years to come.

2) What is an example of success in a metro area?
We think you can point to BMW and Volvo as great success stories for their respective metro areas. Obviously, BMW has been a game-changer for the Upstate, and certainly the Greenville-Spartanburg Metro Area, for many years. In fact, the company celebrated 25 years in South Carolina last June. Their impact on that region and our state as a whole cannot be overstated.

A big win for the Charleston Metro Region, Volvo Cars announced an additional investment in Berkeley County in September. That announcement was significant for many reasons. Before a single car has rolled off the assembly line at the plant, before construction has even concluded, the company decided to increase its commitment to our state and add a new product line. That’s a testament to the workforce we have here and the pro-business climate we’ve cultivated across South Carolina.

3) What is an example of success in a rural area?
One of the biggest rural successes we experienced this year was the expansion of Harbor Freight Tools in Dillon County. Expected to create 500 new jobs, this project, which was announced just last month, is a direct result of Team South Carolina’s investment in the new inland port facility in Dillon. As the old saying goes, “If you build it, they will come.” As we continue to invest in our infrastructure – both from a transportation and logistics standpoint and a workforce development standpoint – we’ll continue to attract industry to communities of all shapes and sizes.

4) Were there any interesting surprises of 2017? If so, what?
It’s not really a surprise – because it’s been the case for the last seven years – but it’s always interesting to see just how well South Carolina does at attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). This year alone, companies from 15 different countries invested in our state. Obviously, Germany-based BMW, Sweden-based Volvo Cars and South Korea-based Samsung were among the major sources of FDI, but we also announced projects with firms headquartered in Austria, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and many more.
Secretary Hitt likes to refer to us now as a premier brand state. We have globally-recognized brands operating and continuing to invest within our borders. And, as a result, we’ve developed a brand of our own, and we think the world has taken notice. Looking ahead, as we seek to strengthen that brand, FDI and global connectivity will remain an important component.

5) Were there any lessons learned in 2017? If so, what?
Although not a new lesson, we believe communities having product ready has been confirmed this year as a best practice.  Many of our projects this year have been won because the county either had an industrial park or building already available and due diligence completed. With shorter decision time frames this year, having product ready has been even more critical.

6) What are the state's goals for 2018?
Generally, our goals remain the same from year to year – bring job opportunities and choices to the people of this state. We’ve found that the best way to do that is to empower the many members of Team South Carolina. As we move into a new year, we’ll certainly aim to do more of that.
From building and site certification, infrastructure improvement and international trade growth to supplier development, workforce development and statewide brand advancement, it takes all of us working together to position this state for continued success.

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