Community-Based Economic Development

Community-Based Economic Development

1717 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201  (803) 252-5733

Community-Based Economic Development

All economic experts agree that most new jobs created will be by small businesses.  Yet the South Carolina Department of Commerce continues to focus primarily on large business recruitment and development.  Commerce provides assistance at the local level for big business development but has no statewide program for doing the same for small business.  Other states, such as Georgia, have developed specific successful programs for helping local communities encourage small business and entrepreneurial growth.

The Small Business Chamber proposes that the Commerce budget include funding for Community-Based Economic Development (CBED).  This program can be administered directly by Commerce or passed through to a private economic development organization for program implementation.

The Small Business Chamber proposes that the CBED program consist of at least five Regional Project Managers.  Each Regional Project Manager would live and work in a designated service area consisting of a number of counties.  Every county would have one Regional Project Manager assigned to it.  The budget for this program is estimated to be $350,000.

The CBED program will create entrepreneur environments by building entrepreneur and small business strategy into the community’s overall economic development strategies.
The GBED Project Managers will take a community through proven, key success methods designed to establish an entrepreneur support program, help them better understand their existing entrepreneur environment and develop sustainable, effective local strategies.

Communities will be encouraged to achieve the designation of  “Small Busines Friendly”.  The steps to be taken include:

  • Identifying the local leadership group & champion who will lead the community in their entrepreneur and small business development strategy; Form the committee that will support the initiative.
  • Increasing community awareness of and support for strategies, needs and resources; Educate the community about the benefits of “homegrown” business development and fast-growth companies.
  • Enhancing relationships with state and federal resource providers, including SBDC and others, in educational sessions that help local leadership learn how entrepreneurs can be supported.
  • Mapping local assets that include:

Identifying all local entrepreneurs (potential, existing, growth)

Identifying unique local resources (start-up kit, niches/attributes)

  • Visiting and interviewing local entrepreneurs; reviewing and compiling results to determine appropriate strategies.
  • Scheduling a CBED Review Team visit. The Team will help assess current activities and make recommendations for possible new programs or strategies based on the community’s unique challenges and opportunities. Receive the “Small Business Friendly” designation!
  • Assistance and facilitation from the Regional Project Manager with implementation of strategies that resulted from the Small Business Friendly process.

For information about the Georgia program, contact:
Georgia Dept. of Economic Development’s Entrepreneur & Small Business Office
Mary Ellen or 404.962.4820