What is Economic Development?
Economic development is an activity undertaken by local governments in cooperation with business and industry to increase local revenues and retain and/or create local, permanent jobs.
About the Economic Development Division
Working closely with local government, economic development organizations, businesses and citizens, Upper Savannah’s Economic Development Division assists the development and implementation of projects that create permanent jobs and stimulate private sector investment.
The assistance generally comes in the form of helping prepare and submit grant applications to fund infrastructure improvements (water, sewer and roads) feasibility studies, strategic plans, training facilities etc. Upper Savannah also operates small business loan programs that help small businesses start up or expand.
Upper Savannah helps eligible entities access funding for economic development related projects through the Economic Development Administration (EDA). EDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides grants to local governments, water & sewer providers, technical colleges, nonprofits and other eligible applicants whose projects result in job creation or retention and private sector investment.
Examples of funded projects include:
Greenwood Metropolitan District and Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works were awarded a $2.62 million EDA grant to construct sewer and water infrastructure to serve the site where Teijin Holdings USA, Inc., will locate a carbon fiber plant in Greenwood County. The estimated project cost is $3,325,500. The industry has committed to the creation of 220 jobs and $600 million in capital investment.
Piedmont Technical College was awarded a $1.5 million EDA grant to fund a portion of the Upstate Center for Manufacturing Excellence. This 45,000 square foot state-of-the-art industrial training center will benefit workers and industries in the college’s service area. The project is expected to cost approximately $12 million and will create 86 jobs and leverage $16,300,000 in private investment.
Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission was awarded a $3,100,000 grant to upgrade a waterline along Stagecoach Road and to construct a water tank at Milam Road. Both project components will enhance the LCWSC’s water system operations and help maximize the benefits of the new water plant. The damage and impacts of Hurricane Irma resulted in a presidentially declared disaster in South Carolina which made this project eligible. The anticipated total project cost is $3,875,000.
City of Abbeville was awarded a $2,554,000 grant to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant on Long Cane Creek. The grant was awarded under EDA’s supplemental funding in response to natural disasters occurring in 2017. The damage and impacts of Hurricane Irma resulted in a presidentially declared disaster in South Carolina, which made this project eligible. The total project cost is $3,192,500.
Greenwood County was awarded a $208,000 Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to fund three studies to determine the feasibility of certain infrastructure improvements at a major industrial site known as the Greenwood East Rail Park. The project will study transportation access, the feasibility of raw water line to serve the site, and a safe yield study to model and recommend water withdrawal limits on Lake Greenwood.
Signature regional projects include:
Saluda County Water & Sewer Authority Regional Sewer Collection System – This project was funded by a $1,500,000 million EDA grant to construct a sewer collection system to serve Amick Farms, Gentry Poultry Company and other Saluda County employers, creating 226 jobs and saving 312 jobs. This project connects to the Edgefield County Regional Sewer Collection System.
Edgefield County Regional Sewer Collection System – EDA provided a $2,000,000 grant to the Edgefield Water and Sewer Authority for the construction of a regional sewer collection system that transports wastewater to the Horse Creek Valley Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Aiken County. Job commitments from Stevcoknit Fabrics, Martin Color-Fi, Reigel Consumer Products, Federal Bureau of Prisons and the SC Department of Corrections totaled 520 new and 339 retained jobs.
Small Business Development
There are several resources available to small businesses, but the maze is often difficult to navigate. Upper Savannah helps small business owners understand their options and offers information and referrals as needed.
Upper Savannah COG Small Business Loan Programs
Upper Savannah operates three small business loan programs that serve the region. Some of the details of each are shown below.
Upper Savannah CARES Revolving Loan Fund (CARES RLF)
Funded by the CARES Act, this locally controlled source of small business capital was established to help the region recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Loans for working capital and fixed assets are available at below-market rates. The maximum amount for a working capital loan is $50,000 and $100,000 for a fixed asset loan. Collateral requirements vary depending on the type of loan being made. Loans of $10,000 or less can be secured with the personal guarantees of all owners. Businesses in the following counties are eligible: Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Saluda, Newberry and Lexington.
Upper Savannah Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)
The Upper Savannah RLF is a locally controlled source of capital used to assist in financing start-up and expanding businesses. To be eligible, a potential borrower’s project must result in the creation of permanent jobs and leverage private sector investment. The program is designed to fill the gap between the financing available from traditional private sector sources (i.e. bank loans and equity) and the total financing need. Although the program has an economic development purpose, loans are intended to be repaid. Therefore, potential borrowers must be creditworthy, submit financially sound proposals, and provide adequate collateral to secure all lenders. Businesses in the following counties are eligible: Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Saluda, Newberry and Lexington.
Sudden & Severe Economic Dislocation Loan Fund (SSED)
The Upper Savannah SSED program was created to provide financing to help manufacturing, service and hospitality businesses create or retain permanent jobs. Businesses that are expanding operations or facing imminent threat of job losses because of economic downturns in their industry are eligible. The program is designed to fill the gap between the financing available from traditional private sector sources (i.e. bank loans and equity) and the total financing need. Although the program has an economic development purpose, loans are intended to be repaid. Therefore, potential borrowers must be creditworthy, submit financially sound proposals, and provide adequate collateral to secure all lenders.
Small Business Development Center
One of the most valuable resources available to small businesses in our region is the Greenwood Area Office of the Clemson Region Small Business Development Center. Their services include counseling, training, planning and financing assistance. Read more about the South Carolina SBDC program at https://www.scsbdc.com. To find contact information for the Greenwood Area Office click here: http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/sbdc/contact.html