Companies want to locate where they can be successful; and for any business, a critical component toward guaranteeing future prosperity is being able to efficiently connect to both, marketplaces around the world and to a deep pool of talented workers. Thanks to South Carolina’s robust infrastructure network – featuring one of North America’s most productive ports, more than 2,300 miles of rail lines and five major interstate highways – the Palmetto State offers exceptional global connectivity.
With one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the nation, highly-competitive wages for workers and low unionization, it’s no wonder South Carolina is consistently ranked among the most business-friendly states in the U.S. In addition, the state offers a wealth of opportunities so that businesses can maintain low operating costs including a five percent corporate income tax rate; no state property tax; no local income tax; no inventory tax; no sales tax on manufacturing equipment, industrial power or materials for finished products; no wholesale tax; and no unitary tax on worldwide profits. South Carolina also provides a variety of customized incentive programs to meet the needs of any company including corporate income tax credits such as job tax, corporate headquarters, research and development, investment, biomass resources and ethanol or biodiesel; discretionary income, license or withholding tax incentives; job development, job retraining, corporate income tax moratorium, international trade incentive and port volume increase; discretionary property tax incentives (negotiated fee in lieu of property tax); and other discretionary incentives such as readySC™, Apprenticeship Carolina™ and Foreign Trade Zones. South Carolina also keeps companies connected to each other through BuySC, a material and service locator program for South Carolina vendors and buyers. The result for the state has equalled controlled costs, a competitive environment and successful organizations.
South Carolina is strategically positioned halfway between New York and Miami. The state is centrally located on the U.S. East Coast, offering unparalleled transportation opportunities that make reaching any market an easy task. The South Carolina Department of Commerce’s commitment to helping international companies in their efforts to establish, relocate and expand business operations in the U.S. and North American markets is supported by the state’s international presence in three foreign countries. The state has had an official presence in Europe and Asia for decades, reflecting how the mutually positive relationships between the state and foreign countries have grown and solidified. Direct foreign investment continues to create jobs and opportunity in the state with more than 1200 international operations in the state. Some of the largest foreign firms that call South Carolina home are BMW, Michelin, Adidas, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo Cars and FujiFilm.
Deep Water Seaports
Port of Charleston has been at the center of global commerce and trade for three centuries. In addition to being one of the busiest container ports along the southeast and Gulf coasts, it is also recognized as one of the most productive – averaging 41 moves per hour per crane, well above the U.S. port standard of 25-27. The deep water and high bridges allow the Port to serve ships of more than 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs); in 2010, the Port handled 1.28 million TEUs. Each year, more than thirty different shipping lines serving 150 countries use South Carolina’s ports. The online Building & Sites Locator can help find available buildings and sites near the ports. www.LocateSC.com
A Trained and Skilled Workforce
As some of the world’s most recognized companies continue to invest in the state, opening facilities and expanding operations in all corners of the state, it’s clear this exceptional workforce has fueled a lot of this economic growth. With a reputation for making first-class products, the people of South Carolina are hard-working, loyal and dependable.
Recognizing the importance of providing industries with a large pool of well-trained workers, the state has many nationally-recognized workforce initiatives. Through the S.C. Technical College System, the Palmetto State offers readySC™, a world-renowned job-training program, which has trained more than 280,000 individuals for qualifying companies since its inception in 1961.
Apprenticeship Carolina™, another workforce program administered by the S.C. Technical College System, works to ensure that all employers in the state have access to the information and technical assistance they need to create apprenticeship programs. Since its launch in 2007, the number of apprenticeship programs has increased seven-fold, from 90 to 640 registered programs. Meanwhile, nearly 14,000 total apprentices have been served overall, up from a mere 777 in 2007. And, last year, Apprenticeship Carolina was recognized as the fastest-growing, most innovative program in the nation, averaging more than 120 new apprentices per month.
With more than 244,000 students enrolled in one of South Carolina’s higher education institutions, it’s clear that young individuals across the state are eager to enter the workforce. South Carolina’s ongoing effort to prepare that young workforce for the jobs of tomorrow is just one example of the state’s commitment toward cultivating a genuine, pro-business environment.
Landing Pad Program
The South Carolina Landing Pad program aims to assist established companies from around the world who are looking to enter either the U.S. or South Carolina markets for the first time.
Through this program, the Department of Commerce will encourage and enable global companies to put feet on the ground in South Carolina by streamlining what can be perceived as an overwhelming process in an unfamiliar market. From regulation and taxation issues to translation or office space, the Landing Pad program will connect businesses to the appropriate service providers through the state’s regional economic development partners, helping them get started in a reliable and cost-effective way.
The South Carolina Landing Pad program can help companies find the right connections to create a U.S. presence. Working closely with regional economic development allies, the state will direct businesses to partners and service providers that have the knowledge and experience for business startups in a cost-effective way. By helping businesses make necessary connections and navigate the requirements for doing business in the state, this program will allow companies to focus more on securing new North American sales and expanding existing customer bases.
South Carolina is ready help companies connect with people that can be trusted, reduce the learning curve of developing a business in the United States, and lessen the fear of establishing a business in this large but critical market. Through the state’s partners, companies can find reputable and reasonably priced services, including such as local employment and compensation, business regulations, taxation, translation and other need-to-know activities.
South Carolina: Strong Reputation
While it may appear that South Carolina’s global success happened overnight, those on the economic development frontlines know this growth has been hard-fought, crafted by the skilled and talented hands of the state’s workforce and created by the commitment to developing a business-friendly climate. More than just a leader in advanced manufacturing, South Carolina’s diverse economy continues to attract companies from all corners of the globe, further boosting the state’s reputation of being ‘just right.’
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/south_carolina_edo for local economic development office directory listings.