For many of the same reasons that individuals and families are moving to South Carolina in droves, and for some added reasons, businesses from around the world and throughout the United States are finding the Palmetto State an attractive spot for expanding or relocating.
Understanding that a rising tide lifts all boats, individuals and organizations have worked to pave the way for the growth of business and jobs in the state including former governors, the State Department of Commerce, regional Chambers of Commerce, county economic development departments, regional development authorities and individual companies.
Elliott Davis Decosimo, an accounting, tax and consulting firm based in Greenville and with offices in Charleston, Columbia and throughout the Southeast, believes that aiding the expansion and relocation of business into South Carolina benefits both their firm and the communities in which they do business. They act on that belief by supporting efforts to entice new corporate entities and by offering their expertise on federal and state tax implications of a move here.
That expertise is provided gratis as part of the firm’s commitment to growing the state’s economy. It prepares modeling and projections for foreign companies that offer a snapshot of how a South Carolina operation would fit into their global structure.
“We try to be a good business partner to help them learn more about the area, and about tax and compliance issues,” said Tim Grow, the firm’s Charleston Office Managing Shareholder.
Kay Biscopink, International Services Practice Leader and Shareholder in the Elliott Davis Greenville office, says myriad considerations make the state attractive. Generally, foreign companies have a market in the U.S., often in the eastern half of the country, and want proximity to their customers and suppliers. The port of Charleston and the inland ports are a huge asset, she says, as are cost-controlling factors, such as the state’s right-to-work status, and inexpensive and reliable water and electricity.
For the manufacturing and high tech fields, which are fueling the economic boom in the state, the availability of talent is a major draw. The number of technical colleges that respond quickly to business needs and develop specialized training programs allow companies seeking specialized skills to enter South Carolina. Trident Tech’s aeronautical studies program feeds the massive Boeing plant in North Charleston.
For smaller companies, the importance of quality of life issues is magnified because the decision about where to expand may be personal to the owner, Biscopink says. Combine low property taxes with the Upstate’s mountains and the Lowcountry’s beaches, and the Palmetto State may have an edge over other areas in the Southeast.
Way down the list, says Biscopink, is the consideration that might get the most media coverage. “State incentives are very important but not as high on the list as one might think,” she said.
Behemoths like BMW and Volvo make the big splash, but much of the new employment comes further down the supply chain, as their vendors move here to be closer to a major customer. Boeing’s suppliers have been fueling some of the explosive growth of Charleston, as 48 people move to the Lowcountry every day.