Target Industry Study
Target Cluster Strategy for the Lowcountry
The Target Cluster Strategy for the Lowcountry is an economic development study released in 2012. That study is the framework for Lowcountry business recruitment as it recommends targeting four industry clusters which would be ideal for the Lowcountry’s pro-business environment while balancing the needs of the region’s natural resources. Those clusters are healthcare/biomedical, administrative/information technology, light manufacturing/assembly, and logistics/distribution.
The study indicated Beaufort and Jasper Counties were strategically positioned for strong economic growth due to the region’s ideal geographic location, pro-business/entrepreneurial climate, educated workforce, proximity to universities and technical colleges and its fast-growing population. Beaufort and Jasper Counties are also close to transportation hubs such as I-95, airport, train service, ports, and major cities.
In addition to recommending specific industry clusters, the study also recommends the following to continue the region’s economic growth momentum:
- Regional investments to enhance infrastructure.
- Collaborate with the University of South Carolina at Beaufort (USCB) and the Technical College of the Lowcountry to target curricula to deliver specific workplace skills to specific industries
- Advance workforce development initiatives to enhance and target skill sets of young professionals and high-skilled former military employees.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The creation of this Targeted Economic Development Strategy involved three core steps:
STEP 1: Competitive Assessment
The Competitive Assessment report marked the completion of the first step of the planning process. It contains a thorough evaluation of the Lowcountry’s competitive position, differentiating assets, and critical weaknesses. The Assessment balances in-depth economic analysis with public input received through interviews focus groups and surveys.
STEP 2: Target Cluster Selection
The Target Cluster Selection report identified target clusters that will be the future economic drivers for Beaufort and Jasper counties. A series of analytical tools, such as cluster analysis, were utilized to understand opportunities within the Lowcountry’s current industry base as well as emerging sectors that could expand and thrive in the future. A refined list of target clusters and sub-sectors were recommended as the focus of future economic development and workforce development initiatives.
STEP 3: Cluster Strategies
During this final step of the project, a Cluster Strategies action plan was created that informs the Lowcountry of steps to take to prepare for and grow the target clusters. Recommendations address workforce development, community development, and marketing. Step 3 also includes an implementation calendar, task assignments, and performance metrics.