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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Economic Development

Jan 10, 2024 12:37PM ● By Donna Walker

Spartanburg County Attracted $1.1 Billion In New Investment In 2023

In 2023, OneSpartanburg, Inc. landed 24 economic development projects on behalf of Spartanburg County and the city of Spartanburg resulting in $1.1 billion in capital investment and the creation of 1,146 new jobs.


This is the third-straight year Spartanburg County has recruited $1 billion or more in economic development projects.


“Our county’s 2023 economic development figures come out to a little over $3 million and 3 new jobs created, per day, over the course of the year,” said OneSpartanburg, Inc. President and CEO Allen Smith.


Smith added, “The ultimate beneficiaries of our success are the people and families who call Spartanburg home, and I’m excited to see what our Spartanburg County’s 2024 turns out to be.”


Statewide, South Carolina recruited $9.2 billion in capital investment, with more than 14,000 jobs announced. It was the second-highest capital investment total in state history.


New Spartanburg County projects announced in 2023 included:


$425-Million Downtown Development: A consortium of public and private partners including the city of Spartanburg, Spartanburg County, the state of South Carolina, OneSpartanburg, Inc., The Johnson Group, and Diamond Baseball Holdings, an organization that owns and operates select minor league clubs affiliated with Major League Baseball, announced in May that a Minor League Baseball stadium, along with residential, retail, and office space, would come to the Grain District on the western edge of Downtown Spartanburg. Fifth Third Park will have 3,500 fixed seats and a 5,000+ square foot Club room, and will be available year-round for public and private events.


TIME Bicycles: A leading carbon fiber bicycle manufacturer, TIME announced plans to establish a facility in Landrum, along the soon-to-be-developed Saluda Grade Rail Trail. TIME is an international cycling leader, manufacturing bikes that have won Olympic gold medals, world championships, and numerous stages of the Tour de France. The investment totaled $6.5 million and is expected to create 105 new jobs.


Milo’s Tea Co.: The well-known beverage company announced it would invest $130 million, creating 103 new jobs, in a Moore facility where its teas and lemonades will be brewed and bottled.


Taylor Enterprises: Efforts to attract corporate headquarters to downtown Spartanburg continued when Taylor Enterprises moved C-suite operations downtown.

Expansions announced in 2023 included:


Cytiva: With an extensive bioprocess product portfolio, Cytiva invested $63 million to expand operations in Spartanburg County.


Keurig Dr. Pepper: KDP announced it will continue the development of its state-of-the-art coffee roasting and manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County. The company will invest $100 million into the work, creating 250 new jobs by 2027.


Toray: Having previously paused manufacturing at its carbon-fiber facility due to the pandemic, Toray roared back in 2023 with a $200 million expansion that will create 125 new jobs at its Composite Materials Plant in Spartanburg County.


Lockhart Power: The utility provider invested $14 million toward key infrastructure expansions in Tyger River Industrial Park North and in Pacolet.


“There is a lot on the horizon that Spartanburg County has to be excited about, and many of our county’s successes wouldn’t be possible without a long list of public and private partners working hard to bring economic opportunities to Spartanburg,” said OneSpartanburg, Inc. Chief Economic Development Officer Katherine O’Neill.

Study Estimates Over 400,000 South Carolina Residents Caught in a Cycle of Debt from Predatory Loans

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, Republican Sen. Tom Davis (District 46) of Beaufort introduced Senate Bill 910 to curb predatory lending practices in South Carolina.


“In South Carolina, there are lenders that offer payday, installment, and auto-title loans that mine and use personal data to identify, target and then trap vulnerable South Carolinians in a cycle of debt,” Davis said.


Davis added, “These lenders’ cynical business model is to make loans to people who cannot afford them, collect interest payments from them at obscene interest rates – often more than 150 percent per annum – and then refinance the principal repeatedly so the payments of ‘interest’ – or what illegal loan sharks would call the ‘vig’ or ‘vigorish’ – never stop coming. And in doing so they often use unscrupulous marketing tactics such as mailing live checks that, once endorsed and deposited to someone’s account, become very expensive loan obligations.”


And he said, “These business practices intentionally prey upon South Carolina’s most economically vulnerable citizens and need to be stopped.”


Davis’s effort is backed by the South Carolina Fair Lending Alliance, a coalition of faith leaders, non-profits, former payday and installment loan borrowers, and other citizens. The Alliance has been working to get consumer protections enacted since 2020.


“We know that these high-cost, predatory loans not only impact borrowers but also their families, employers, non-profits and the state economy,” said Alliance Lead Organizer Susan Stall. “Data shows that these loans are causing extreme financial distress from delinquent debt, loss of the family vehicle, and bankruptcy.”


A recent study by Coastal Carolina University’s Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy estimates that in 2022 more than 400,000 South Carolinians had installment loans that were more than 60 days past due.


Data provided by the South Carolina Board of Financial Institutions (BOFI) reflects that in 2021 and 2022 over half of all installment loan volume came from loan renewals.


Officials said the harm in ‘flipping’ or renewing loans is that interest is highest at loan origination, so any payments made in the early months of the loan go entirely to interest.


When loans are flipped, they include new fees, insurance premiums along with the original loan proceeds thus creating a never-ending cycle of debt, the officials said.


BOFI data also shows that between 2019 and 2021 40 percent of all payday loan borrowers took out between six and 12 loans per year.

Modern Capital Tactical Opportunities Fund Changes Name, Moves To Monthly Distributions

Modern Capital Tactical Opportunities Fund (Ticker: MCTDX & MCTOX) is changing its name to Modern Capital Tactical Income Fund.  


Michael Pierce, head of Institutional Distribution, says, "The name change is a reflection of the true nature of the fund, which is to provide maximum distributions without abandoning the prospect of capital appreciation."


In addition, the fund is changing from quarterly to monthly distributions. Modern Capital officials say this optimizes and complements the fund's positioning as a best-in-class income solution across its strategy sector.


Modern Capital, based in Charleston, South Carolina, is an institutional asset management company with a focus on providing investment solutions for investment advisors, RIAs, and pension plans.


It caters specifically to investment advisors, institutional clients and high net-worth individuals and families.

SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Opens to Expand, Strengthen National Innovation Ecosystem

 Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s more than 33 million small businesses and startups, announced the opening of the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC).


The competition offers $50,000 to $200,000 in prize awards in two stages to organizations to join SBA’s national innovation support ecosystem to advance small business research and development (R&D) from ideas to market.


The Stage One application portal was scheduled to open Jan. 8 for five weeks, and the SBA will award up to $3 million in Stage One prize money by April.


“The SBA is committed to advancing America’s global leadership in innovation across critical industries by supporting entrepreneurs as they launch, grow, and manufacture across the country,” Guzman said.


Guzman added, “The SBA’s 10-year strong Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) strengthens the nation’s innovation ecosystem and builds local partnerships critical to ensuring all of America’s great ideas can thrive through the vast resources available through the federal government.”

Prizes Awarded in Two Stages

Stage One offers $50,000 in cash prizes awarded to organizations for ecosystem-building activities, including recruitment of new partners, and strengthening existing alliances among stakeholders (including public, private, non-profit, and academic partners). Contestants work collaboratively with chosen partners to bring additional resources, deepen network connections, and develop strategies to support STEM/R&D-focused entrepreneurs and small businesses.


The SBA welcomes Stage One submissions from a broad range of organizations with a collaborative vision to nurture a national ecosystem for equitable access to entrepreneurship.


Applicants are asked to align their application with one of the following GAFC Theme Areas:

National and Economic Security, including but not limited to: 

National Security and Defense 

Artificial Intelligence  


Advanced Computing and Software  

Quantum Computing 

Human-Machine Interfaces 

Other Critical and Emerging Technologies.


Domestic Manufacturing and Production, including but not limited to: 

Advanced Manufacturing R&D 

Supply Chain Resiliency 

Critical and Resilient Infrastructure 

AgTech and Agricultural Innovation 

Other Supply Chain, Infrastructure, and Manufacturing Technologies. 


Sustainability and Biotechnology, including but not limited to

Energy and Sustainability 


Climate and Environment 

Public Health 

Renewable Energy Generation and Storage 

Electric Vehicles 

Blue Economy 

Other Climate, Energy, and Life Science Technologies. 

Stage Two of the competition offers an additional $50,000 to $150,000 in cash prizes to eligible Stage One winners to provide direct assistance to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups that are looking to commercialize their innovation, from R&D to the commercial market.


SBA intends to announce winners for Stage Two by September. A federal agency partner may also elect to provide a bonus prize to one or more Stage One contestants focused on a priority area of the agency partner’s choice. Bonus prize winners are awarded from the pool of Stage One contestants.

“This year’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition builds on the success of last year’s competition, which successfully catalyzed bonds between local and national innovation ecosystem support networks. The competition Theme Areas aim to foster emerging partnerships around key innovation sectors. The prize awards will support entrepreneurs operating in undercapitalized and underserved markets with valuable resources in America’s innovation ecosystem,” said Bailey DeVries, associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation.

To access the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Guidelines and Application Portal, go to

Two information webinars will be held to support potential Stage One applicants. The webinars are free and open to the public.


GAFC Pre-Application Webinar: Goals, rules, and how to apply

Jan. 16, 2024, at 2 p.m. EST

Register at


GAFC Theme Explanation Webinar: A deep-dive into the tech themes with experts from relevant federal agencies.

Jan. 31, 2024, at 2 p.m. EST

Register at

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