Making Strides on a 5-Year Economic Development Strategy

By Maura Teynor

July 10, 2017

The Richland County Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved funding for economic development projects.

As part of the Foundation’s $1.1 million, five-year economic development plan, the board approved two scale-up loans to be managed through Braintree Business Development Center. The Phoenix Brewing Company received a loan to purchase additional equipment and supplies to maximize the productivity of its brewing systems. Market Brothers, a local brokerage firm, received a loan to add an executive sales director to its team.

The scale-up evergreen fund is a pool of money to help minimize a local company’s risk by fronting part of the cost of external services. Scale-up companies typically are at least three years old, make $2 to $50 million in annual revenue and employ 10-99 people. Target outcomes for the funding include increasing jobs, payroll and fixed asset capital investment in the region.

In addition, the board approved a grant request for a business attraction plan from the Richland Community Development Group. The plan includes training for the RCDG staff, data collection, architectural master plans of high priority business sites and fees to display at business attraction trade shows and events.

Foundation President Brady Groves said “Richland County is at a pivotal point in its economic evolution. The groundwork has been laid, key people have been hired, organizations are working together and we are now poised to make significant strides.”

A Strategic Review Committee comprised of Foundation board members and community leaders are tracking the progress and monitoring metrics of the economic plan to ensure positive outcomes in the county. The project will evolve and be adapted as the plan’s objectives are met, or not, over the next couple of years.

Highlights:

*The Foundation, Richland County Jobs and Family Services and private donors funded a director of workforce development and a director of business retention and expansion to work for the Richland Community Development Group.  

*A scale-up evergreen fund provides resources to companies that meet certain growth criteria to fund projects such as product development, improved manufacturing processes, and talent recruitment. 

 *An Entrepreneurial Alliance was formed and is led by the Braintree Business Development Center in cooperation with numerous other organizations. The alliance’s mission is to assist entrepreneurs in our community.

 *A new website, RichlandVitalSigns.com was launched to track the economic health of the local community. The goal of Richland Vital Signs is to inform and inspire economic growth and opportunities. It is a dashboard to provide data and statistical analysis to track outcomes.

*The Foundation published a Richland County Resource Guide for Entrepreneurs. Links to richlandvitalsigns.com and the resource guide are available on several community websites including richlandcountyfoundation.org.

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