by Teresa Cutlip
Spartanburg Community College unveiled an expansion and renovation to its Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development, located at the college’s Tyger River campus in Duncan.
The renovation and expansion adds 22,000-square-feet of space and 22 offices in the center. Twenty of those offices are now occupied, according to the college’s director of economic development Mike Forrester. The center now has a total of 363,000-square-feet of office and warehouse space for entrepreneurs and business start-ups.
“About 10 years ago the college purchased this facility with a vision for helping businesses with their start-up operations by providing short-term office, manufacturing and warehouse space,” Forrester said. “Since then it has morphed into a world-class operation offering soft landings, incubation, workforce services and special projects for entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies.”
Forrester cited a June 2016 an economic impact study that looked at the center’s impact. He said the report shows that since its inception, the center has helped to generate …
• 19,989 jobs and $1.2 billion in earnings;
• more than $863 million in taxable income;
• almost $19 million in sales tax and
• nearly $49 million in S.C. income tax,
• for a combined tax revenue of almost 69 million dollars, and,
• the Center has provided services to 61 international and domestic companies.
“The Center has proven to be a valuable resource for start-up companies, industry and our community,” Forrester said, who added that “economic development is not a destination, it is a journey. We must not rest on our laurels. We must continue to be innovative in our approach to remain competitive in the region, the state and the world, in order to continue to provide jobs for the citizens of our community.”
Spartanburg Community College President Henry Giles during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the center’s expansion and renovation that the college had a “vision to have a center for Spartanburg that was not a traditional academic building but was a facility that supports the area’s economic development initiatives through both quality educational programs and a facility that meets the needs of new and expanding industry.”Companies occupying the center include Toray, Agracel, OneGroup, Jeffreys, Project Apollo, Brose, International Mold, Senator and Tokyo Gas. During the ribbon-cutting event, Brose announced its plans to invest $6 million and created 60 jobs when it moves to its new location at 1171 Howell Road in Duncan this fall. Until then the company is operating out of 10 offices at the center.
Previous center clients include Adidas, BMW, DISH, Kobelco, Lear Seating, MAU, Michelin, Rite-Aid, Sitel and Timken, according to Spartanburg community College.
“This is a one-of-a-kind facility that is flexible and adaptable to any company’s needs. Wherever we go to recruit, we always talk about the community college,” said Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeffrey Horton. “The center provides us with a unique advantage when competing with other communities for foreign direct investments.”
According to the college, the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development is the fourth largest business incubator in the United States and serves small to large companies through a variety of specialized programs. The center offers start-ups and established companies assistance in four key areas: incubator services, soft landings, workforce employment services and special projects. Participating companies can utilize the center’s services or space for up to a year at no cost, other than utilities, if they agree to establish a permanent location within Spartanburg County. The center also offers companies office and warehouse space, specialized training, technical support, market research, industry expert mentors, and cultural support for international companies.