Its Economic Development Week!

What is Economic Development?

In 2016, the International Council for Economic Development (IEDC) established Economic Development Week to recognize the economic development profession, economic developers, and communities for the work done to promote business growth, trade, and job creation.  This is due to the fact, many people like to reference economic development, but often do not understand it.  As a result, the role economic development plays in the growth of a community is often left out of the story.  Economic development requires a collaborative partnership between the local economic development, the business community, and local government. So, what is economic development?

According to IEDC, “Economic Development is the intentional practice of improving a community’s economic well-being and quality of life.  It includes attracting, creating, and retaining jobs, and fostering a resilient, pro-growth tax base in and an inclusive economy.  The practice of economic development is a collaborative effort involving industry, government, and community stakeholders.”

The Role of the Development Authority of Columbia County

In May of 1971, the Development Authority of Columbia County (DACC) was established to facilitate and lead economic development efforts for Columbia County, GA.  As a result, a structured plan for growth began.  Over time, the role of DACC has evolved from industrial recruitment to a broad range of activities that include: business recruitment, business retention, marketing, finance, real estate development, workforce development, and so much more.

As the economic development organization for the County, DACC is responsible for holistic economic development through:

  • Promoting strategic economic growth through business recruitment and business retention programs.
  • Marketing Columbia County to attract new companies and talent to the County
  • Assisting with project financing utilizing tools like Industrial Revenue Bonds
  • Fostering the development of new real estate product to locate businesses
  • Fostering an entrepreneurial environment
  • Identifying ways to reduce the cost of project financing
  • Identifying workforce training opportunities
  • Promoting tax incentives for companies considering relocation
  • Providing key research/demographic data
  • Developing the economic development strategic plan to serve as a road map
  • Serving as a government liaison to our businesses, new and established

Proven Success

Since 2016, DACC has supported the completion of nearly 1,000,000 SF of industrial space and impacted more than 750 new jobs and $100 million in capital investment.

DACC’s efforts related to the development of business parks has supported many of our most successful companies. Some examples include John Deere, Serta, Club Car, Nutritional Resources, World Class Industries, and many more. Since 1990, Horizon South Industrial Park corridor has contributed to the growth of more than 2,700 jobs by more than 10 companies.

As previously stated, economic development once was focused on large scale industrial development.  However, the role of economic development has evolved to include more than just industrial recruitment.  As a result, the Development Authority of Columbia County has expanded its focus to include retail development, office/commercial development, and entrepreneurship & small business.  This is important for success because the current growth trends indicate Columbia County has the potential and need to support the creation of more than 30,000 to 78,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.  The only way to grow the needed jobs successfully is through a collaborative, intentional, and inclusive economic development strategy.