News | June 06 2012

FLORENCE On Wednesday, the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), an economic development organization encompassing South Carolina's northeast region, wrapped a three day consultant event focused on attracting agribusiness opportunities to the region. 
This is the first consultant event NESA has held this year, and is part of an ongoing consultant event series that the group started in 2010. The event, sponsored by Progress Energy, SCANA, and the SC Power Team, featured Frank Spano, the Director of Austin Consulting. 
Prior to attending the event, each county was asked to respond to a mock Request for Information; (RFI). Participants then went over their proposals with Spano who gave advice and critiques aimed at improving the county's ability to effectively respond to agribusiness oriented RFI's. 
Agribusiness is a central focus of economic development efforts in the area. In 2010, the NESA region was one of just seven regions named a Great Region; by USDA, and in the past, the region has received several grants from the federal agency.
I continue to be impressed with the cooperative spirit between the NESA organization and their member counties in working together for the common goal of attracting companies to the region, Spano said. These NESA member counties continue to provide a very competitive operating cost advantage for new manufacturing operations including the food processing sector. I am also impressed with the availability of labor and the training resources available through Florence-Darlington Technical College and ReadySC.
Each time we hold another in our consultant event series, developers come up and tell me just how important it is that the NESA region remain on the cutting edge of economic development best practices, said Jeff McKay, NESA's executive director. 
Id like to thank Austin Consulting and all of our local sponsors for making this event a great success, and Institution Food House for allowing us to use their wonderful facility, McKay added.

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