Locate South Georgia Takes Economic Development to a New Regional Level

Barbara Kieker

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Leaders of Locate South Georgia, a newly formed regional economic development group representing 21 counties, were in Atlanta last week to promote the group to state economic development officials.  Launched at the beginning of 2015, Locate South Georgia combines the efforts of two previous groups – an older version of Locate South Georgia and the Southwest Georgia Chamber Council. 

"The launch this year is the culmination of a couple of years' work," said Justin Strickland, vice chair of the new Locate South Georgia and president of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.

"Combining the two efforts into one organization gives us a louder voice and will enable us to better compete as a region for economic development,” he said. 

Telling the South Georgia story

Previously, Locate South Georgia was focused primarily on maintaining an online listing of available properties along with marketing materials and a trade-show presence.  The Southwest Georgia Chamber Council was focused primarily on presenting the annual Georgia Quail Hunt as well as advocating for its legislative agenda. 

"The new Locate South Georgia will focus on marketing outreach to get the story out about the benefits of doing business in the region," Strickland said. 

"We'll hold different events throughout the year, including the Georgia Quail Hunt, one of the state’s premier economic development marketing events. In fact, we've already done some international marketing through the hunt, which is held annually in Albany.  And we plan to invite developers to Boggy Pond Plantation in Moultrie for a day of hunting in the spring." 

Selling the region first

From metro Denver to Milwaukee to East Bay in California, communities across the country are working collaboratively to promote regional economic development. According to Regional Agreements in Economic Development, a study by the National League of Cities, " When companies are choosing a place to do business, they usually don’t focus on a single city or jurisdiction; they usually target a region that has the components that make it the ideal fit, whether it is a highly educated workforce, a favorable tax environment, or some other combination of features." 

By acting as a region first, the counties in Locate South Georgia can better promote advantages such as convenient access to major highways and transportation hubs, affordable land, plentiful water, low cost of living and a pro-business regulatory environment.

Work is underway to update Locate South Georgia’s Web site, www.locatesouthgeorgia.com.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.