Economic Development

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Lancaster County Department of Economic Development (LCDED)

Nobody knows the benefits of running a company in Lancaster County better than the individuals who create its incentives and foster the area’s pro-business environment.

In 2016, the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development (LCDED) was established to build off the prior successes of third-party partners who had made significant strides in establishing the county as a premier place in South Carolina to relocate or start a business. The move followed a wider trend of economic development being done in-house by municipalities because they understand the permitting, licensing and approval processes better than anyone. This means they can help employers and entrepreneurs alike every step of the way—from site and building selection or development to demographic and research data, all the way to workforce development and recruitment.

“Our goal is to facilitate the creation and expansion of new jobs and investments, especially in our two key sectors—advanced manufacturing and corporate offices,” says Jamie Gilbert, director of the LCDED. “It’s really that simple.”

Gilbert says that Lancaster County is one of the most dynamic counties in South Carolina when it comes to incentives. And those benefits aren’t just for new businesses. The county also takes care of its existing businesses that are looking to expand, many of which are located in the numerous industrial parks located throughout the county.

Some of those incentives include Fee-In-Lieu-of-Tax (FILOT) agreements that range from 20 to 30 years and typically reduce the assessment rate from 10.5 percent to 6 percent, Special Source Revenue Credits (SSRC) that can reduce tax liability by 25 to 50 percent for five to 10 years, and Job Tax Credits that reduce annual state income tax liability for every new job created.

These incentives build off a solid foundation of infrastructure and resources in which any business can benefit. The Port of Charleston—the fourth largest port on the East Coast and the 10th largest in the country—is located less than three hours from Lancaster County. For air travel, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which is the fifth busiest airport in the United States, is less than an hour’s drive away. And last, but certainly not least, is road travel. Multiple highways and interstates connect the county with the region and beyond.

Another key to the area’s successful business climate is having a ready workforce, and Lancaster County has plenty of that as well. The region boasts a robust, educated talent pool of nearly 2.3 million people, boosted by a school district that is graduating students with the skills they need to join the workforce, as well as some of the top institutions of higher education in the state.

All of these incentives and attributes have caught the attention of businesses. Gilbert doesn’t expect the county’s business growth to slow down any time soon. In fact, he thinks they are just getting started, because, as the LCDED likes to put it, Lancaster County is “Where Business is Golden.”
— By April Corbin