New Public-Private Economic Development Alliance Forms
What began in the Spring of 2018 as a conversation among business and community leaders about how to be more efficient and successful in economic development has culminated with the launching of the Greenville ENC Alliance, a public-private partnership formed to promote economic development throughout the Greenville region.
“Two things happened that really put us on this path” said Michael Overton, Greenville ENC Alliance Board Chairman. “First the Committee of 100 brought in a firm to interview local business and community leaders to gauge their interest in a public-private partnership and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Around the same time, the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce sponsored an Inter-City Visit to the upstate of South Carolina, an area experiencing tremendous success in economic development. Through that trip we came to realize that communities who work together, which includes private sector employers, local governments, and private individuals – those are the communities that see the most success in recruiting, growing, and retaining businesses. We knew we needed to use that model to be successful in this arena.”
A diverse workgroup met for months to discuss how best to successfully work together moving forward – including how to structure the new entity. Best practices were studied and experts from the State and other regions provided information. The workgroup included private sector business leaders and representatives of the Pitt County Committee of 100, Vidant Medical Center, East Carolina University, Pitt Community College, the Greenville-Pitt Chamber of Commerce, the Pitt County Development Commission, the City of Greenville, Greenville Utilities, and the Towns of Ayden, Bethel, Farmville and the Village of Simpson. The establishment of the Greenville ENC Alliance is a result of that group’s recommendations.The Greenville ENC Alliance was formally established on July 1, 2019. The Alliance has created bylaws, elected officers, and is in the process of recruiting a President/CEO. They crafted a five-year plan to focus on:
- Attracting new businesses to locate in the Greenville region
- Help existing businesses grow here
- Create more industrial sites and buildings
- Develop a workforce that’s ready to meet the needs of current and future businesses
- Providing community benefit by creating more job opportunities
- Build a stronger relationship between our legislators and businesses and successful advocacy for the Greenville region’s business needs
Soon the Greenville-ENC Alliance will kick off a private sector fundraising campaign allowing business leaders and private citizens to invest in the region’s growth.
“Everyone should be excited about this. Every single person benefits from economic growth,” said Alliance Board Member and former Pitt County Committee of 100 Chair Spence Cosby. “It creates jobs, helps neighborhoods, and lessens the tax burden to build roads, parks, and other infrastructure. The economic progress of the private and public sectors is intrinsically linked. Working together, we can achieve so much more as we have seen other communities do.”
Successful communities which have taken this approach include the Charlotte Regional Partnership, the Upstate Alliance (the Greenville, SC region), One Spartanburg (Spartanburg, SC) and the Carolinas Gateway Partnership (Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County).
Overton said, “We have seen from best practices that this is the best way forward for our region. There is a real strength in unity. Working together, sharing resources, all moving in the same direction. This is just the beginning for us. It’s very exciting.”