IEDC has designated May 9-13, as Economic Development Week, and we thought we’d join in on the celebration. Economic Development Week gives economic development professionals a platform to showcase to their community the contributions made to their local economy throughout the year. All week we have been sharing posts covering topics on everything from what economic development actually is, to what we do as economic developers and how what we do helps our community. So, we decided to compile them all into one blog post for a full roundup that you can always come back to later. Read more below.
What Is Economic Development?
Economic development is the intentional practice of improving a community’s economic well-being and quality of life. It includes a broad range of activities to attract, create, and retain jobs, and to foster a resilient, pro-growth tax base and an inclusive economy. The practice of economic development comprises a collaborative effort involving industry, government and a myriad of community stakeholders.
View the What is Economic Development Brochure provided by IEDC for a basic overview of economic development, EDOs, and what economic developers do for our community.
Who Do Economic Development Programs Help and How?
Our EDO provides programs that help new industries with finding sites and workers, existing businesses expand, entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, partner organizations get data, and promote the county, to name a few. IEDC has provided a brochure that gives a higher-level overview of who and how economic development programs help, including examples of some of the services that EDOs typically provide.
Though our EDO and some others may not provide all of the services listed, economic development programs around the country impact many people’s lives in very different and consequential ways.
Who is Williamsburg County Development Corporation?
Williamsburg County Development Corporation is a quasi-governmental, private, non-profit, 501c(3) economic development organization. It was established in 1995, as the informal economic development arm of county government. The purpose of the Corporation is to promote and foster the growth and development of large, medium, and small businesses, to assist the expansions of existing businesses and industries, and to increase employment opportunities in Williamsburg County.
The principal objective of the Corporation is to benefit Williamsburg County by fostering increased economic development by enhancing employment opportunities and the attraction and expansion of new and existing industries.
Who is Williamsburg County Economic Development Board?
Williamsburg County Economic Development Board is the county government arm of the WCDC and WCEDB team. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Williamsburg County citizens and foster a favorable and desirable location for businesses.
We will accomplish our mission by:
• Implementing business retention, business expansion, and business development strategies and programs
• Identifying workforce development opportunities through academia and employment agencies
• Conducting research to identify, target, and attract future industries and markets
• Cultivating partnerships with local, regional, state, and federal agencies to obtain economic, workforce, legal, and political resources to promote and sustain economic growth
• Establishing a reputable “brand” through coordinated marketing strategies
What Do Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) Do?
The three main activities that Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) focus on are:
• Recruiting new industry
• Retaining existing industry
• Developing new industrial products (sites, buildings, and industrial parks)
However, there's also marketing and attraction, entrepreneur and small business development, workforce development, and strategic planning, and we do not accomplish all of these things on our own. We work with partners and allies who often lend their services, resources and funding for the common goal of the betterment of Williamsburg County.
Who Are These Partners and Allies?
Multiple organizations, both public and private, are involved in economic development in Williamsburg County. There are local, state, and regional organizations collaborating to attract new industries, expand existing industries, create jobs, and raise the standard of living for the citizens of Williamsburg County. We are fortunate to have an extensive network of professionals involved in economic development. They lend their expertise by working with prospects, offering technical assistance, and assisting with product development, project funding, and financing. While Williamsburg County Economic Development Board (public) and Williamsburg County Development Corporation (private) are the county’s lead EDOs, additional economic development allies include:
• Williamsburg Hometown Chamber
• Santee Electric Cooperative
• Farmers Telephone Cooperative
• Duke Energy
• Dominion Energy
• South Carolina Main Street Programs - Kingstree, Greeleyville, Hemingway
• North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA)
• South Carolina Department of Commerce
• Williamsburg Technical College
• Williamsburg County School District
• Williamsburg County Council
• Williamsburg County’s Town Councils
• Waccamaw Council of Governments
• SC Works Waccamaw – Waccamaw Workforce Development
• Apprenticeship Carolina
• Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
One specific partner we work with regularly is Charles Page. A consultant from the Small Business Development Center at Florence-Darlington Tech, he meets with clients in our office on the second Thursday of every month. Charles assists entrepreneurs on every level. From those who need guidance in turning their ideas into business plans and next steps, to those looking for guidance on future moves with their already existing business, Charles is here to help. Key items that Charles helps most clients with are writing business plans and financial literacy, and meeting at his Florence office is an option as well.
(To get on the list for next month's sessions with Charles, contact our Director of Business Development Beyonka Wilson.)
What Is This Product?
In general, “product” means industrial buildings, industrial sites, and industrial parks. Product may also include office buildings for headquarters and corporate sites. To be competitive, a county must have existing industrial sites, industrial buildings, and industrial parks. To be considered “ready,” product must be developed with appropriate infrastructure such as water, wastewater, stormwater, electricity, telecommunications, and natural gas. Funding for product, such as spec buildings often come from state and federal grants and other funding sources such as partners and allies. Williamsburg County has five industrial parks. Their location and acreage are listed below.
Williamsburg County Industrial Parks:
• Hemingway Commerce Center, Hemingway SC – 50 acres
• Tri-Area Business Center, Lane SC – 65 acres
• Williamsburg Cooperative Commerce Centre, Kingstree SC – 70 acres
• Williamsburg Cooperative Commerce Centre South, Kingstree SC – 111 acres
How Do You Market?
Economic Development marketing is an essential activity to generate interest in Williamsburg County. Marketing efforts should accentuate county assets and target both external and internal audiences. Most companies and site consultants begin their searches for new locations online. Therefore, the Williamsburg County Economic Development Board’s website is our primary marketing tool. Social media is another marketing tool, which is used effectively to promote Williamsburg County. Each marketing tool is used with a specific target audience in mind, and, because one size does not fit all, is curated with a specific message and goal for each.
Our marketing platforms include:
To keep up with the Development Board and learn more about what we’re doing, visit our website or follow us on social media.