The S.C. Department of Commerce and National Federal of Independent Business will host a Thursday morning breakfast in Columbia to celebrate Industry Appreciation Week. They’ll be joined by business leaders from around the state.
Special guest, Wayne Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine to discuss small business issues. Thursday’s breakfast begins at 8am at Columbia’s Clarion Townhouse Hotel.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce sponsored a panel discussion Wednesday night to hear from state legislators.
As part of Industry Appreciation week, the Commerce Department, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association and legislative leaders on Tuesday honored Ambassadors for Economic Development, from the private sector in every county in the state.
Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor says local business investment by people like the “Ambassadors” makes a tremendous difference. “In all this discussion about job creation, it’s important to get the local folks, whether it’s in urban communities or in small towns,” says Taylor. “I think it’s important to get these people to Columbia and say thanks.”
Commerce officials say there is a lot of attention to major industrial development, but small businesses are also a driving force of the state’s economy, employing almost 659,000 South Carolinians or about 46 percent of all people employed by private industry in the state. More than 4,200 manufacturers are considered small businesses, which represent more than 83 percent of all manufacturers in the state.
Commerce officials say during the past year South Carolina enjoyed numerous investments from companies such as Boeing, Verizon Wireless, Fujifilm, KEMET, GE Aviation, American LaFrance and many more. Commerce Department information indicates that nearly 212,000 South Carolinians are employed in the manufacturing sector, more than 11 percent of the state’s workforce. Manufacturing accounts for more than $25 billion in goods and services produced in the Palmetto State, which is 16.1 percent of South Carolina’s gross domestic product.
The Commerce Department says more than $13.5 million in capital investment has been made in South Carolina since 2006, adding up to more than 67,000 jobs. In 2009, 26% of total capital investment and 31% of new jobs recruited by the Department of Commerce and its economic development allies came from existing companies.
Five young entrepreneurs from around the state were also recognized. Taylor says they are really young, as in age 12 through their teen years.
(Taylor on entrepreneurs MP3 :24)