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The Beaufort Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Beaufort's knowledge economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

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Beaufort Digital Corridor’s BASEcamp Renovation Underway

The Beaufort Digital Corridor is pleased to announce that the renovation of BASEcamp is underway. The approximately five thousand square foot facility at 500 Carteret Street is strategically located in Downtown Beaufort, a few blocks from Bay Street. The renovation project is beginning just over 30 days since the unveiling of the Beaufort Digital Corridor by the City of Beaufort and is expected to be ready for occupancy in November 2016.

BASEcamp will soon become Beaufort's premier business incubator and co-working office designed to meet the transitional professional office space needs of tech and tech-related entrepreneurs seeking adaptable, affordable office and conference facilities of the highest quality, while gaining access to the network of entrepreneurs and professionals in both Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina. Additionally, BASEcamp will support Beaufort's local creative arts community through the "BASEcamp Gallery."

"The development of BASEcamp represents a tangible and primary step forward as part of the Beaufort Digital Corridor's comprehensive long-term economic strategy in support of tech focused entrepreneurs," said Beaufort Redevelopment Commission member and City Councilman, Stephen Murray.

"Our goal with the development of BASEcamp is to create a modern, highly flexible, welcoming (and oh by the way, dog-friendly) workplace that allows entrepreneurs to focus on achieving their business goals while also being conducive to collaboration," said Project Manager and Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade.

BASEcamp will be available for occupancy this November. Contact us to learn more or reserve an office or co-working desk.

About the Beaufort Digital Corridor

The Beaufort Digital Corridor is a community-sourced business initiative to attract, nurture and promote the city's knowledge economy through an array of impactful programs, products and events while leveraging the city's renowned livability. More: beaufortdigital.com

Municipal Association of South Carolina Announces Hometown Economic Development Grant Recipients

Eight cities and towns across the state were recently awarded a Hometown Economic Development Grant by the Municipal Association of South Carolina. The grants are to implement economic development projects that will make a positive impact on the quality of life in their communities. The grant program also promotes and recognizes innovation in economic development practices.

The Municipal Association board of directors created this grant program last year to fund projects that will produce measurable results, can be maintained over time and illustrate best practices for that can be replicated in other cities.

Beaufort, Clinton, Gaffney, Manning, Ridgeway, Walterboro, West Pelzer and Pelzer, and Williamston are this year's grant recipients. Each municipality will receive $25,000 to implement a project ranging from community master plans and retail recruitment to downtown revitalization and tourism development.

Cities and towns receiving the grant must provide matching funds. Matching amounts, determined by a city's population, will range from 5 percent to 15 percent of the grant award. Cities can use in-kind contributions or other grant funds as their match. Seventy-six municipalities applied for the grants.

An awards committee comprised of former local government and state agency professionals evaluated grant applications. Cities and towns receiving a grant must submit reports about the progress and successes of each grant-funded project and provide financial details of how the grant funds were used.

"These grants will help our cities and towns continue to strengthen their economic development efforts to attract and retain businesses to downtowns," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association."

Program Manager Selected For Beaufort Digital Corridor Initiative

Charleston, South Carolina – The Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation is pleased to announce that Karen Warner has been selected as Program Manager for the Beaufort Digital Corridor initiative, the city's ambitious public-private business development effort to attract, nurture, and promote tech and knowledge-based companies in Beaufort, South Carolina.

The Beaufort Digital Corridor's main focus is the advancement of Beaufort's tech and creative economy. Innovative companies, as defined by the BDC, are businesses and entrepreneurs offering incremental and transformational approaches to their respective business models.

Karen Warner brings to the Beaufort Digital Corridor a broad level of professional experience including working in the tech industry, venture capital, and executive coaching, where she helped companies leverage their most important asset – people.

"The City of Beaufort expects to successfully develop its economy by applying the same innovative and transformative principles that have led neighboring Charleston to successfully diversify her economy with high-wage tech and knowledge-based companies," said Beaufort City Manager, William Prokop. "I believe we have selected the right candidate to lead the Beaufort Digital Corridor forward."

"Beyond Ms. Warner's terrific experience, her focus on creating tangible and measurable results combined with her communication skills made her our top choice for the role as Program Manager of the Beaufort Digital Corridor," said Ernest Andrade, Charleston Digital Corridor Director. 

Beaufort receives $150,000 grant toward Beaufort Digital Corridor work

Beaufort has received a boost toward readying a technology venture downtown.

Hargray Communications will provide $150,000 under the Rural Development Act for work on the Beaufort Digital Corridor. The new technology and economic development initiative, backed by the successful Charleston Digital Corridor, is renovating 500 Carteret St. for use as office space to draw tech startups and businesses.

Renovations on the building are underway. The space is scheduled to open in November.

‘Digital Corridor’ Illustrates InterDev as Trusted Advisor

Long an example of operational execution, Atlanta-based InterDev has pursued growth by hawking managed IT services to the public sector, securing key deals in suburban communities near Atlanta and Chicago.

A break-fix provider for most of its 36 years, InterDev now dedicates more than two thirds of its staff to its burgeoning government services division.

With its latest move – the Beaufort Digital Corridor – the solutions provider appears to again be flexing the nuanced marketing tactics that have generated so much momentum to its public-sector efforts, including an April agreement to provide complete IT services to the city of Beaufort, S.C.

"As the managed IT services provider for the City of Beaufort, this is a natural extension of InterDev's relationship with Beaufort and an investment in its citizens and the local economy," InterDev CEO Gary Nichols said. "We're looking forward to having the same technology business growth for Beaufort that Charleston (S.C.) is experiencing with its digital corridor."

InterDev is the first company to contribute to the new Beaufort-area program, patterned after 15-year-old Charleston approach. The plan aims to stoke the local tech economy by attracting technology businesses, raising wages and keeping the best and brightest workers at home.

In addition, the corridor effort will help train a local technology workforce by establishing youth technology education programs and computer coding camps.

Beaufort, the state's second-oldest city after Charleston, recently hired InterDev to provide 24/7 monitoring and maintenance of servers, networks, employee workstations, backup systems and hosted applications.

The MSP also serves as the liaison between the city and other technology providers, like telecommunications vendors, and educates city officials about technology solutions in use at other municipalities, providing strategic guidance to help Beaufort modernize its IT environment.

During an interview about the company's public-sector initiatives this past spring, CEO Nichols expressed his view that "marketing is a critical component of growth and it's where I think a lot of MSPs fall behind."

Beaufort City Councilman and city redevelopment commissioner Stephen Murray suggested the corridor initiative is precisely the type of proactivity that InterDev was hired to achieve.

"Like Charleston, we are committed to incenting technology entrepreneurs to locate in Beaufort by providing the optimal business, education and social environment conducive to the success of high-tech businesses," he said.

Beaufort Digitizing Downtown Corridor

In addition to being known for its beautiful views, history and hospitality, downtown Beaufort could soon be recognized as a digital mecca for high-wage technology companies.

City leaders are delving into a public-private partnership to create the Beaufort Digital Corridor as a way to recruit and nurture small tech-related businesses to enhance economic opportunity for a generation that thrives on technology.

With many entrepreneurs working out of their homes in small spaces, the corridor can offer a setting to do business and collaborate with fellow tech-savvy small businesses.

The Beaufort Redevelopment Commission recently voted to use the same model that helped build the Charleston Digital Corridor, which has grown the technology economy from 18 companies in 2001 to more than 350 as of 2015.

An old banking building at 500 Carteret Street will soon undergo renovations to designate about 5,000 of 18,000 square feet for small, new tech companies. The costs are still being discussed, as the design remains in the planning stages, said Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop.

Prokop said the building should be renovated by mid-fall and the first participants could be working in the center by late December.

"Our goal is 10-12 companies by the end of this year, and 100 participants here at BASEcamp within five years," Prokop said. "There are a lot of strategies to put into play to make that happen, but we are ideally located to tap our talent bank, with the Marine Corps Air Station, USCB and the Technical College of the Lowcountry right outside the door."

The city will look to find financial partners while the Charleston Digital Corridor helps by creating a business development strategy.

Interested tech companies wanting to join the Beaufort corridor will go through an application process with the Charleston Digital Corridor, Prokop said.

Mayor Billy Keyserling said the goal is to expand the tax base by creating more jobs, help service members transition into civilian life and attract visitors who are looking to relocate.

City Councilman Stephen Murray, a Beaufort Redevelopment Commission member and key advocate of the project, said Charleston's Digital Corridor is a success story worth imitating.

"We have a lot in common with Charleston, including history, beautiful buildings and natural coastal environment, and a high quality of life that is appealing to young tech entrepreneurs," Murray said. "The secret is to provide the business, social and education infrastructure to get them started and to succeed here."

The Beaufort Digital Corridor will rely on participation from the community. Like Charleston, Beaufort attracts many new residents and visitors because of its rich history, preservation, charm and beauty.

In the 1990s the Charleston economy was heavily dependent on the tourism industry.

The cost of living was rising at a dramatic rate while per-capita wages were stagnant and a large percentage of college graduates were leaving the area due to lack of economic opportunity.

"The issues facing Beaufort are strikingly similar to Charleston's challenges in the 1990s, namely rising cost of living, dependence on military establishments, visitor-centric development, stagnating wage levels, and brain drain," said Ernest Andrade, executive director of the Charleston Digital Corridor.

Andrade said the project is a "business development initiative" because it will focus on helping homegrown and local talent create new tech-related businesses, rather than traveling to other states or countries to recruit existing companies to relocate to the Lowcountry.

Beaufort Council Stephen Murray speaks to invited guests

Beaufort Plans Digital Corridor Initiative In Hopes Of Replicating Charleston’s Tech Success

Young people in Beaufort are leaving en masse. The city's becoming more expensive, but pay isn't going up. It's a haven for tourists and outsiders, but locals have fewer options.

If that sounds familiar, perhaps it should. The way Beaufort officials see it, their situation isn't so different from Charleston's a few decades earlier.

They see two coastal cities dependent on big military installations, both long on historic charm and tourist appeal but relatively short on economic diversity. And in Charleston, they see one that shook its doldrums and emerged with a booming economy, thanks in part to a manufacturing renaissance and a burgeoning technology sector. Read More

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