NCEast Alliance Approved for $167,496 Grant from USDA
July 16, 2019
(GREENVILLE, NC) – The NCEast Alliance announced today it has been approved for a $167,496 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support its economic development activities in rural, eastern North Carolina. The Enterprise grant will support technical assistance to serve local economic development organizations in small towns and rural areas as well as entrepreneurial retirees and companies interested in locating or expanding in these rural communities. This is the second year of funding received by NCEast from the USDA to support its mission of elevating economic activity – jobs, investment and wealth creation - in the region.
One of the primary goals of NCEast Alliance is to recruit and assist company executives that have expressed an interest or have made the decision to locate or expand in small eastern North Carolina towns and cities. Since 2017, the Alliance has facilitated the location of four entrepreneurial companies in the region, two from South Africa (automotive components and food processing), one from Australia (auto components), and another that was contemplating an investment in either eastern North Carolina or Mississippi. Another South African company has informed The Alliance of its decision to locate in the region as well. Current active prospects developed by NCEast include several generally described as advanced manufacturers, representing economic clusters such as life science, aerospace/defense, automotive, and marine trades. Several of those company executives have already scheduled visits to eastern North Carolina with plans to spend several days considering various sites, buildings and communities.
The USDA grant will allow the Alliance to more actively promote the reuse of vacant industrial facilities and historic commercial properties for redevelopment while supporting entrepreneurs in Inner Banks (IBX), Outer Banks (OBX) and Eastern North Carolina (ENC) communities. According to Vann Rogerson, The Alliance has been successful in identifying and attracting entrepreneurs and companies to the region.
“The great majority of our projects come from small to medium-sized, privately held companies and roughly 50% are foreign-based individuals or firms,” Rogerson stated, “and approximately 75% seek existing, vacant industrial buildings and roughly 90% are manufacturers,” he continued.
In addition to its corporate recruitment efforts, the USDA grant will allow the Alliance to continue working with area communities on posting available commercial properties less than 10,000 square feet that are available for sale or lease in their downtown areas. First year funding allowed The Alliance to create a searchable database as well as a new ‘Small Business’ tab on its website that contains a listing of services available to entrepreneurs. A rack card was also created for display at visitor centers, tourism,/economic development offices, Chambers of Commerce, B&Bs and other places throughout the region. Additionally, The Alliance signed a contract with a digital marketing group that will target anyone expressing an interest in locating in North Carolina, including young military, civilian and corporate retirees that may be interested in starting a business many of whom already work in or repeatedly visit the region for vacations. The ad campaign has already been successful in garnering the attention of those who identify as entrepreneurs or business owners online and driving them to the NCEast website.
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