In his article, “The Next Generation of Live, Work, Play,” Charles Ruby discusses key factors for businesses choosing where to relocate or expand.
Ruby, who is the Director of Deloitte Tax LLP, writes that location means “less and less when it comes to office and industrial site selection.” Rather, the driving forces behind “corporate relocations and expansions […are] the four ‘Ts’: talent, technology, transportation, and taxes.
He explains that companies can make almost any parcel of land work (excluding environmental inadequacies) if these four critical pillars are fully understood and adequately addressed.” The I-77 Alliance counties exemplify these “four T’s,” providing industries and businesses with everything they need to succeed, thrive, and grow.
A skilled labor pool is incredibly important for a business’s success.
Ruby writes, “For years availability of labor has been driving not only the site selection process but also the success of companies worldwide. Today we are starting to see company-specific curriculum being addressed at the Associate and Bachelor degree programs, including co-ops and internships, to provide for a steady flow of highly trained candidates for corporate America. Collaborative approaches between government, colleges and universities, career technology centers, and companies have made major strides and are still evolving.”
The I-77 Alliance counties have a labor draw area of approximately 3.2 million people, providing top talent to businesses located in the area.
The area is also committed to maintaining and developing the excellence of its workforce; the South Carolina Technical College System provides top-tier training and education for employees in a wide variety of fields, from financing to manufacturing to transportation. Programs have also been established to assist companies that are moving to the area or growing in the region.
A program called readySC helps businesses recruit and train the employees that they need, a service offered at low or no cost. Apprenticeship Carolina is another South Carolina workforce program that helps companies establish apprenticeships within their organizations.
Clearly, the I-77 Alliance counties are committed to creating and maintaining an incredibly qualified workforce, and their hard work has paid off.
“Technology and the resources upon which it depends drive businesses forward,” Ruby notes, which means that an area’s commitment to technological advancement is critical for its businesses.
The article points out that “from traditional utilities such as electric, water, and sewer to high-speed broadband access, all provide a base upon which the ‘cooler’ technologies (known today, and under development for tomorrow) can flourish."
The I-77 alliance counties strive to be at the forefront of technology; York County’s Knowledge Park is even home to a technology incubator that supports the development of technology companies.
Additionally, counties such as Chester County pride themselves on providing high-quality utilities and service at low rates; in fact, Chester County offers one of the lowest utility rates in the country.
Together, the I-77 Alliance counties work to provide businesses in the region with all of the resources that are necessary for them to move forward and grow.
“Airports, roadway and rail infrastructure, and access to each other keep businesses and people connected,” Ruby comments, helping companies and entire economies to thrive.
The I-77 counties have access to a superb transportation network. Interstate 77 provides north-south access from South Carolina to Ohio, and the region offers access to air transport as well.
The Charlotte Douglas International Airport—the 7th busiest airport in the world—is easily accessible, as is the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. In addition, there are 3 major rail operators in the I-77 region: Norfolk Southern Railroad, CSX Transportation, and the Lancaster & Chester Railroad. The I-77 counties also have easy access to the Port of Charleston, the 4th largest port on the east coast.
Altogether, this transportation infrastructure provides businesses in I-77 Alliance counties with access to an incredible number of customers; there are 145,000,000 people in just a single day’s drive.
The term ‘taxes’ in the article refers to “the overall cost of doing business and the business-friendliness of the community, county, and state,” pointing out that “a location with high taxes, inferior transportation, outdated technology, and little available talent stands no chance in making a site selector’s short list — even if it’s the prettiest place on earth!”
Business-friendliness includes the increasingly important quality-of-life of a location and “the availability of services that make life easier and save us valuable time and energy.”
I-77 Alliance counties certainly meet the business-friendly criterion.
South Carolina has the 10th lowest corporate tax rate in the United States. Additionally, the counties provide a wide variety of living options that offer something to everyone, whether you are looking to live in a metropolitan area or a peaceful, country home.
The region is home to comprehensive, high-quality healthcare, including the Piedmont Medical Center, Chester Regional Medical Center, Fairfield Memorial Hospital, and Palmetto Health. The I-77 Alliance region also has a strong commitment to education, both at the K-12 and higher education levels. It is home to excellent private and public schools as well as a number of colleges and universities, including the University of South Carolina.
Clearly, the I-77 Alliance counties have it all: a talented workforce, a strong commitment to technology and the resources that support it, fantastic transportation infrastructure and access by road, air, and rail, and a business-friendly environment with everything from high quality education to healthcare to low corporate tax rates.
To discuss what makes our counties the best choice for corporate growth and expansion, contact us today!