Completion of the Small Business Innovation Center (SBIC) was one accomplishment. The announcement that a new industry was coming and a local industry was expanding was another.
The March 8 ribbon cutting at the SBIC represented a good-news event for the economic health and wealth of the County.
More than 90 people attended the ribbon cutting, including State and local business leaders and elected officials.
Located at the intersection of 401 North and Heck Norton Road, the SBIC is 4,800 square-feet of floor space housing business offices and conference rooms. The adjoining 8,000 square-feet of industrial space is already leased.
"We’re excited to be cutting a ribbon on something that will have such a big impact on our community as a whole," said Board of Commissioners Chairman Guy McCook.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson said, "The biggest asset in this community is the people. This center demonstrates that and shows the commitment this community made to ensure job creation."
Hudson added, "The majority of jobs out there are small business jobs. While we’re going to work hard to bring in industry and larger employers, it’s important to stay focused on keeping jobs we’ve got here, make sure the folks who are employers in this community continue to succeed and thrive."
Hudson said the SBIC would play a crucial role in helping people start businesses and create jobs in the County. "You’ve got my commitment to be a partner with you to continue to bring jobs to this community."
Creation of the SBIC was a collaborative effort that included Scotland County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC), the County, the City of Laurinburg, Richmond Community College and the Southeastern Economic Development Commission.
The RCC Small Business Center will be located at the SBIC, and career readiness certificate programs to ensure workers are job-ready will be conducted at the site.
The SBIC was funded by grants from the North Carolina Economic Developers Association, Golden LEAF Foundation and the Rural Center.
"Without all these people on the front end of this, we would not have been able to get to this point," said Economic Development Director Greg Icard.
He added that almost all the sub-contractors who worked on the project were local. "That was pretty improtant. We put people in this community to work."
"We’re going to create more jobs. We’re going to create more opportunities for our citizens, and we’re going to do it together," said Laurinburg City Mayor Tommy Parker, who praised the SBIC, which is a Butler building that was built by a local company and designed by the son of a local family.
"I’m excited that today we realize an innovative concept that began in 2009," said former Commissioner and immediate past Chair of the SCEDC Joyce McDow. "This is a beautiful building reflective of the history and heritage of Scotland County — a building we can show off with pride."
"We broke ground in the spirng of 2012, and now we are all here celebrating our success, which you can see throughout the building," said Icard.
"There’s a lot of symbolism in the building and history," Icard added. "Every single manufacterer will have an item in the building so a company or client will be able to see what we have currently."
"I’ll be able to show them where we’re headed," said Icard. "Everyone will be able to see there’s a reason for hope and there’s good things to come."
Icard said of the ribbon cutting, "This is not the end of the story. This is just the beginning."