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ATLAS SURVEYING AND ITS EVER-PRESENT ORANGE TRUCKS ENJOYS GROWTH 

As a professional land surveyor, Billy Gray was skilled at sizing up projects large and small — from farms to neighborhoods, and office buildings to shopping centers. 

But his business found its true direction when he took the measure of his leadership and corporate culture. 

What he determined, Gray says, was that his company needed to expand, and his management style needed to evolve to attract and retain top talent. 

SHOULD YOUR BUSINESS CONSIDER A PHILANTHROPY PROGRAM?

Some companies proudly publicize their charitable programs. It’s a great public relations effort, but does a business that includes philanthropy as part of its corporate culture reap any benefits? 

According to a 2018 study by Mintel, a London-based market research firm, 73 percent of Americans say that a company’s charitable giving influences their purchasing decisions. In that same study, 84 percent believe it’s important for companies to support charitable causes, and 65 percent think it’s a company’s responsibility to give back. 

YOUNG CULINARY ARTIST LAUNCHES IN-HOME HILTON HEAD BAKERY

Italian-meringue buttercream cakes, sweet cinnamon rolls, key-lime-pie cupcakes, triple-chocolate chunk cookies, delicate brioche, and more scrumptious treats are made-to-order and ready for delivery or pick up from Sea Pines’ new Hearthwood Hull Bakery.  

Katie DeVries, chef and 23-year-old owner, has been creating toothsome standards and delicious surprises from her home-based kitchen since August of 2020.   

WHY PRO VIDEO CAN BOOST YOUR BUSINESS

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, then a good cinematic video is worth 1,440,000 words a minute. Twenty-four frames per second means more communication, more storytelling and a more complete picture of what you and your business have to offer.

WHEN YOU FIRST START A BUSINESS, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.

This can be especially true when tax time rolls around. Many business owners aren’t aware of the abundant number of small business tax deductions out there that can take the sting out of tax season. Like most tax laws, the rules around deductions change all the time. The most recent business tax deduction act, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, took effect in 2018 and started impacting tax returns filed in 2019. Use this as a guide as you prepare your 2020 return and always consult the IRS guidelines on small business tax deductions for the latest information. 

ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES IN THE NEW YEAR

As investment managers, we believe the purpose of investing is to expand what is possible financially so that you can align your life with what matters most to you. Therefore, the first step to developing a successful investment strategy is to get greater clarity on your life priorities. Once your priorities are clear, then you can create a financial plan and an investment strategy to bring your priorities to life. The beginning of a new year is a great time to sort out your priorities  – especially a new year that holds great promise for seeing the end of a pandemic and a return to life as we once knew it.

AGRICULTURAL CAMPUS PROJECTED TO BE LOWCOUNTRY GAME-CHANGER 

South Carolina’s newest “hotspot” — a 1,000-acre tract drawing international attention from as far away as Japan — is about an hour’s drive from Hilton Head. 

In rural Early Branch, a few miles from I-95 in Hampton County, futuristic-minded farmers, scientists, techies, environmentalists and government leaders are cooking up the farm of the tomorrow. 

They intend to deliver a farm “under glass” that will combine greenhouses, processing, packing and distribution for an array of products — from peppers to pesto. 

The results, they predict, will be thousands of jobs, increased market opportunities for the state’s traditional farmers, and enhanced food security for America’s East Coast. 

The project’s ripple effect is expected to stir economic development along the I-95 corridor through Jasper and Beaufort counties to the Port of Savannah.  

Economic development pros in the Lowcountry and Columbia say the project – the Agricultural Technology Campus — is a vital part of an expanding mosaic of technology, manufacturing, agriculture, life sciences, logistics, warehousing and shipping. 

Taken together, the initiatives form a potentially potent economic supplement to South Carolina’s pandemic-vulnerable tourism and hospitality industry.

“The sheer size of this project in terms of capital investment, wages and job creation will have a game-changing impact on this entire region, and the project is already attracting interest from other agribusiness companies engaged in both research and development,” said Danny Black, president and chief executive of the Barnwell-based Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance, serving the counties of Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale, Bamberg, Colleton and Barnwell.

The project is a target of interest among farming, engineering and technology companies in the U.S., Europe and Japan, said Kay Maxwell, vice-president of marketing for the Alliance.

SCORE SC LOWCOUNTRY HELPS SMALL BUSINESSES GET GOING

SCORE SC Lowcountry is a small business’ resource dream, and for 31 years it has successfully connected volunteer mentors to clients with an impressive outreach model. 

SCORE was founded in 1964 and established locally in 1989. Nationally, 2020 saw more than 140,000 business clients receive assistance from more than 11,000 mentors. The Lowcountry SCORE chapter is one of 250 nationwide, with 45 active volunteer mentors serving Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton counties. The nonprofit was named 2019’s chapter of the year for the small business market. 

With 2020 now in the rearview mirror and vaccine distribution on the horizon, the year ahead holds promise for our Lowcountry economy. 

We continue to navigate a unique time in history, and in the Lowcountry we’ve once again risen to the challenge. We’re proud of our community and how we supported each other throughout 2020. 

DON RYAN CENTER EXPANDS OPPORTUNITIES FOR STARTUPS AND GROWING BUSINESSES

When Louise R. Hodges entered the inaugural class of Bluffton’s Don Ryan Center for Innovation in 2012, it was like taking Business 101, she said.

The lessons paid off for Hodges’ Greenbug, Inc., and now the business owner is back with DRCI as a member of the Growth Program for businesses seeking assistance in the growth phase.