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More businesses calling Columbia home

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from Richland County shows the past two years have been strong for jobs and capital investment.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — More businesses are continuing to move into the Columbia area. 

Within the last month, seven small local businesses have opened.

"We’re doing better than we have been, there's some signs of better things to come. " said Carl Blackstone, president of the Chamber of Commerce. "We have grown over the last five years in hospitality and retail space. And I think the focus has been on growing jobs, when we really need to focus on growing careers."

Columbia Mayor, Daniel Rickenmann said the city is working to incentivize more people to start their business. 

"We’re centrally located, we got three major highways that have access to 2 other corridors–which not every city can say," the mayor said. "We got 60-thousand students that are future workforce and entrepreneurs right in here our doorstep. We are in the center of the state, we’re the state capital. I think we are well-well positioned."

Mayor Rickenmann also said the goal is to provide jobs where people can advance and have a lasting career. 

"If we go to small and medium size businesses and bring them in, they’re going grow here, they’re gonna stay here, and they’re gonna make it their headquarters and that's what we need to be targeting," said Rickenmann. 

Jeff Ruble is the director of the Richland County Economic Department. 

"The city is part of the county so we work hand and glove with them to try to achieve their goals," Ruble said. "We are building the process, we’re putting that in place. And that involves creating that strong team across the market; whether it's our utility provides, our elected officials, the whole system matters. We’re putting industrial parks in place, we're creating that team, and all those things are leading to the success that we’re enjoying."

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Ruble added, there are multiple initiatives to boost the local workforce, including building bridges between college students and companies, and trying to get more people to start their own companies in the market. 

He said the county is working to finalize contracts to bring more big name businesses into the county in the near future. 

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