Santee Cooper is leading the way in innovative product development strategies. In 2012, Santee Cooper launched a low-to-no interest loan program for product development. The loan program was one initiative out of a strategic planning process for the utility’s economic development program.
To date, twelve loans of more than $24 million have been made across the state. Laurens County was approved for a $1.5 million loan for a spec building in Owings Industrial Park. Newberry and Florence Counties also have spec buildings under construction funded through the loan program. Dorchester County received a $2.1 million loan to extend infrastructure to an industrial park. The loans are strategic investments making a difference in local economic development efforts.
As the economy heats up and available building inventories dwindle, communities are refocusing on product development. A significant hurdle in product development is funding. Traditional funding sources are still limited coming out of the recession. The Santee Cooper program was established at just the right time to provide critical funding when communities need it most.
Director of Economic Development Josh Kay said, “The loan program has been able to assist our partners in furthering their economic development goals and objectives. It is also one way to meet our statewide mission to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.”
At Creative EDC, we believe the economic developer’s number two challenge is product development – right behind workforce development. The Santee Cooper loan program is one innovative, utility-driven product development initiative that is making an impact where it really counts.
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