Partnership Grand Strand Economic Growth Initiative was created to proactively address the Myrtle Beach area and Grand Strand’s biggest challenges facing its long-term economic growth and quality of life. This is the first in a series of four articles addressing the four key pillars which make up the PGS Initiative.
The region is less resilient than most communities due to a lack of economic diversity and an over-reliance on tourism, hospitality, and retail (72.5% of all employment), keeping per capita and average wages low and below state and national averages. The Myrtle Beach area also does not have a formal Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program targeting small and midsize companies – essential to retaining and supporting the growth plans of existing businesses.
Many regions are hard at work pursuing the same companies, jobs, and workers we want here.
Goals & Solutions
Partnership Grand Strand plans to launch a formal Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) model focused on identifying and addressing needs, challenges and opportunities faced by existing small to midsize businesses. This will support and strengthen the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation (MBREDC), North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), eMYRge and other’s efforts to diversify the economy.
Strategy #1: Develop a BRE Progam
Our goal is to implement a Business Retention and Expansion program in order to do the following:
- Conduct a formal business visitation program with a goal of conducting 100 one-on-one meetings per year with a focus on our target industries and potential high growth businesses
- Align BRE activities with prioritized target industries: aerospace, manufacturing, technology, healthcare, corporate headquarters, tourism and lifestyle services
- Establish a tiered rapid response system and team to engage in urgent business situations, such as expansion, potential departure or resiliency crisis
- Identify opportunities for business growth and connect local businesses with prospective customers, buyers and vendor contacts
- Collaborate efforts with contacts at the local, county, regional and state level to ensure that assistance is available when needed
- Share resources and industry data provided by regional and state partners like the S.C. Dept. of Commerce, MBREDC and NESA
- Leverage the Source SC list of services and support businesses/vendors needed by existing businesses; collaborate with MBREDC to recruit or grow these businesses
- Refer new business leads that arise during BRE visits to the MBREDC, City of Myrtle Beach, and all relevant local economic development partners and area municipalities
- Leverage MBREDC’s economic development software to document feedback from visits and track solution implementation progress
Strategy #2: Grow the area's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
- Secure grant funding from the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Program to further technology-based economic development initiatives that accelerate high quality job growth, create more economic opportunities and support the future of the next generation of industry leading companies
- Support for eMYRge’s efforts to secure new investments in growth businesses located in Myrtle Beach’s Opportunity Zone through Center on Rural Innovation
- Host events to promote angel fund opportunities & engage with venture capitalists
- Create a monthly program based on the Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups Program designed to educate entrepreneurs and build community
- Host events and initiatives like Techstars Start Up Weekend and Entrepreneur Pitch Nights to create and nurture a strong regional network of technical, creative, supportive and financial resources for idea stage (and beyond) business owners
- Create a more robust entrepreneurial program to provide programming and support to startups and small and growing businesses
- Research and apply best practices from established entrepreneurship programs
- Implement MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service Model in partnership with the SC Dept. of Commerce to create entrepreneurial mentoring program
- Encourage creation of more coworking and collaborative space for entrepreneurs, small business and startup.