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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.

When we are young, we are taught that setting, monitoring, and achieving goals is a key factor in finding success in life.  

As we grow into adults our goals change and evolve. They become increasingly difficult to define and monitor as we begin juggling a full-time job along with family responsibilities. Many of these goals also have a price tag attached.   

A financial planner will help you define, prioritize, and simplify the process of achieving your goals by constructing a comprehensive financial plan. They will analyze your situation and develop solutions that will help you achieve your goals in a financially responsible manner. 

A question that is likely on all small business owners’ minds lately is this: How do you capture the limited attention of your target consumer through marketing when they are constantly being bombarded with more advertising and distractions than ever before? 

Also, how do you compete with established corporations that have seemingly unlimited resources?  

The answer is not in marketing, but instead through best-of-breed branding.  

LOWCOUNTRY CELEBRATION PARK DESTINED TO BE A HILTON HEAD ATTRACTION

Located on the south side of Pope Avenue between Circle Center Shopping Center and Coligny Beach parking lot, the much-anticipated Lowcountry Celebration Park is destined to be a sought-after attraction.  

The park includes a sprawling lawn, a small pavilion on a lake, a stage for events, walking trails, exercise stations, boardwalks and The Sandbox Children’s Museum.

THAT PERSEVERES DURING TOUGH TIMES

These past few months have been a very challenging period for all of us. Our health has been threatened, our freedom restricted, and our activities diminished.

However, in the category of silver linings, many people report that this period has also caused them to rethink and reprioritize what really matters in their life. Spending quality time with family members in a home you enjoy is an old-fashioned recipe for happiness that seems to have made a big comeback during the pandemic. Hopefully, there have been some silver linings for you and your family as well.

WHY RELATIONSHIPS ARE CENTRAL TO SUCCESS

Are you thinking of finally starting your own business or pivoting an existing one?

Whether your pursuit is traditional —like my husband, who’s launching a veterinary practice — or more out of the ordinary — like my business supporting modern mothers — one thing remains: relationships will be central to your success.