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Sunday, December 21, 2014
 News Archives

The Southern Auto Corridor

It's down to the Southern Auto Corridor and Mexico for automakers

Mississippi Enters Second Decade of Assembly

BMW in South Carolina: Two decades and thriving

Nissan and Tennessee: A 30-year partnership unlike any other in North America's automotive sector

20 years of Mercedes-Benz in Alabama: A defining moment in the Heart of Dixie

The tremendous success of the Hyundai-Kia model in the Southern Auto Corridor

Ford's resurgence in Louisville

2013 Motor Vehicle Parts Supplier Guide

Community preparedness is about vision

20th Anniversary Edition

The Incentives Debate

A New Day in Paradise

The Birth of a Louisiana Super Region

Arkansas: A Real Approach to Economic Development

Southern Mega Sites

Manufacturing Rules!

Virginia: The American South's Crown Jewel of Smarts

Infrastructure supporting business and industry in ROVA (the rest of Virginia)

A semiconductor plant for Martinsville, Va.?

Roanoke: A smart, shining star

2012 Person of the Year: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear

Watch out world: The Palmetto is back

Green Solutions for Red States

Ten Southern markets that are manufacturing location no-brainers

Ten megasites in the South for the next 'Big Kahuna'

Ten small Southern markets that are seeing their economies soar 

Automotive Hot Spots in the Southern Auto Corridor

Sumter, S.C. wins big – beating the odds by getting into the game

Florida's inland port strategy could result in thousands of new jobs

Rural unemployment rate in Virginia dropped a point in 2011

Clean Tech is growing in an automotive industry-like way in the South and North Carolina is joining in the fray

No Southern state's rural regions benefited more from the recovery in 2011 than Kentucky's


Where in the World would the South's economy be without Foreign Direct Investment?

Rural Virginia Lands Microsoft; Deal Represents Largest in Southern Virginia History

Florida Rural Broadband Alliance, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport: Access and Opportunity in the Florida Panhandle

Harnett County, N.C.: Where Preparation Plus Proximity Equals Opportunity

Boeing's Move to Charleston is already Benefitting Rural South Carolina

Arkansas' Rural Regions Fared Better than any Southern State in Recent Recession

New Intermodal Port in Rural Northwest Tennessee Draws Interest from Top Corporations

Consolidating to a Rural Tennessee Location in Order to Save Money and Grow

Texas' Massive Agribusiness Sector Makes for Huge Bioenergy Potential

Creating Quality Communities in Alabama: The Alabama Communities of Excellence Program


Georgia Reaches out to Entrepreneurs

When it comes to nurturing small businesses, Georgia "gets it."

Scott Rudd and Joey Johnson (l-r) of J&S Produce benfited from Georgia's Enterpreneur Friendly (EF) Program, which launched in 2004. The program is benefiting many of the state's rural communities.In 2004, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a small business owner himself, helped launch the Entrepreneur Friendly program. Hosted by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), it helps Georgia communities foster their existing small businesses and potential startups.

"The economic activity created by small businesses and entrepreneurs brings prosperity and opportunity to every part of Georgia," Governor Perdue said. "By championing these businesses, we are investing in a stronger future for communities throughout the state."

The Entrepreneur Friendly program, which is now in Phase II, designated 129 of Georgia’s 159 counties. Each community—represented by a locally formed committee— worked with GDEcD Small Business & Innovation regional project managers to develop customized strategies to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. They also underwent a review by a team of economic development professionals in their region. For a list of Entrepreneur Friendly communities and the support programs they developed, visit

The results speak for themselves. In September 2008, Georgia was ranked third in the nation on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. The state has also garnered top rankings in entrepreneurship by the Kaufman Foundation, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation as well as non-employer business growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. Georgia’s overall business climate has also improved—in 2008 it jumped from No. 15 to No. 5 on Forbes’ Best States for Business list.

GDEcD’s 10 Small Business & Innovation regional project managers, who work with communities and companies around the state, have also noticed a change. In one year, the conversion of project announcements to new jobs and investment growth has increased from 29 percent (fiscal year 2007) to 68 percent (fiscal year 2008).
Athens, Ga. small business Fire & Flavor Grilling is just one example of a company that has benefited from the entrepreneur-centric environment. The company, which provides products for at-home cooks including cedar grill planks, was founded by Gena and Davis Knox in 2003. In 2005, regional project manager Ryan Thornton identified Fire & Flavor as a high growth company and sought to help it grow efficiently and effectively.

"A big asset to doing business in Georgia is its many educational institutions and the talent that stems from them," Thornton said. "I introduced the Knoxes to the Georgia Tech Innovation Institute, which helped Fire & Flavor with their warehouse layout and racking." Thornton also provided market data and research to assist Fire & Flavor.

"Through the state, we were able to get connected to local resources and expertise that enhanced our marketing and operations," said Davis Knox, chief financial officer of Fire & Flavor Grilling Company.

The results? In 2008, Fire & Flavor was named No. 8 on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America – Food & Beverage category. The company has emerged from its humble garage origins to occupy a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility with 17 employees.

Georgia’s communities have embraced the Entrepreneur Friendly program, which continues to support companies in those communities. It’s no surprise in a state that counts more than 95 percent of its businesses as having fewer than 20 employees.

"One cannot overlook the importance of small business in today’s economy," said Perry Swanson, president and CEO of the Peach County Chamber of Commerce. "Large industry can create a large amount of jobs and be a staple of the community, but it is small businesses that define the culture of a region; the flavor of a community. A large number of small businesses in a concentrated area help diversify the investment in a local economy. Only with that investment can a community hope to survive the many different economic trends occurring over time."

Southern Business & Development

Corporate and Industrial Sites in the World’s Fourth-Largest Economy

Southern Business & Development

 Southern Auto Corridor

Southern Auto

Steering the Automotive Industry to the World's Fourth-Largest Economy

 Bonus Issues

101 Great Locations in the Southern Automotive Corridor

250 Best Places in the South to Locate Your Company

Southern Business & Development Southern Auto Corridor Small Town South Randle Report