Richland County records record economic growth

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from Richland County shows the past two years have been strong for jobs and capital investment.

COLUMBIA, SC – More and more businesses continue to locate in the Columbia area.

In the past month, seven small local businesses have opened their doors.

“We are doing better than we have been, there are signs of better things to come,” said Carl Blackstone, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve grown over the last five years in hospitality and retail. And I think the focus has been on job growth, when we really need to focus on career growth.”

Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann said the city is working to get more people to start their businesses.

“We are centrally located, we have 3 major highways that access 2 other corridors – which not every city can say,” the mayor said. “We have 60,000 students who are future workers and entrepreneurs right on our doorstep. We’re in the center of the state, we’re the state capital. I think we’re well positioned.”

Mayor Rickenmann also said the goal is to provide jobs where people can progress and have lasting careers.

“If we go to small and medium-sized businesses and welcome them, they’re going to grow here, they’re going to stay here, and they’re going to make it their headquarters and that’s what we have to aim for,” Rickenmann said. .

Jeff Ruble is the director of the Richland County Economics Department.

“The city is part of the county, so we’re working hand in hand with them to try to achieve their goals,” Ruble said. “We build the process, we put it in place. And that involves creating this strong team across the market; whether it’s our utilities, our elected officials, the whole system matters. We set up industrial parks, we create this team, and all of these things lead to the success that we have.”

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Ruble added that there are multiple initiatives to boost the local workforce, including building bridges between students and businesses, and trying to attract more people to start their own business in the market.

He said the county is working to finalize contracts to bring more big-name companies to the county in the near future.

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