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SEDA 2020 Year in Review

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On January 13, SEDA held its annual board of directors meeting virtually. The meeting included department highlights from 2020 and a review of the 2021 business plan and budget. Below is a summary of the meeting.

Business Development
In 2020, SEDA’s business development team worked 16 announcements/expansions that includes 1,218 new job opportunities close to $316 million in investment. Companies announcing included Amazon, Port City Logistics and Rolls-Royce North America Inc., who spoke about why they chose Savannah.

Despite COVID-19, the SEDA team worked 75 new projects and had 60 prospect visits. Business retention held 52 existing industry visits and had 434 referrals.

In addition, SEDA completed the inaugural Economic Development for Educators program, partnered with the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority and continued to advance the Workforce Initiatives Fund. In 2020, the grants, which are given to childcare centers with CAPS scholarships, gave 38 mini-grants totaling $54,401. The initiative will continue into 2021. Click here to hear from one child care center that benefited from the grant.

SEDA also made many advances on product development in 2020 with the completion of and ribbon cutting for the Savannah Chatham Manufacturing Center, entered into a public-private partnership for Rockingham Farms, began a comprehensive drainage study and spearheaded the creation of a master plan for West Chatham development which includes 1,810 acres. For more information on these projects click here.

Creative Technologies
In June 2020, SEDA announced the Savannah Technology Workforce Incentive, which reimburses individual moving expenses for qualified technology workers. The incentive was picked up by more than 60 media outlets including Southern Living, New York Times, FOX News and others. To date, more than 150 people have inquired about the incentive with 22 currently going through the application process.

SEDA and The Creative Coast also worked with Tribal Enterprises Africa, Inc. to locate to Savannah with 33 new tech workers. The company focuses on black technology founders and workers. You can learn more about them here.

Georgia Southern University’s Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER) completed a multifaceted study that green lighted moving forward with a Logistics Innovation Hub, and SEDA announced its partnership with Plug and Play Ventures, to bring a First-Mile Logistics Innovation Hub to Savannah. Hear from Keyan Karimi about Plug and Play.

Savannah Regional Film Commission
Savannah again was named number one “Best 10 Small Cities and Towns to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” by MovieMaker magazine. Savannah has been named number one in 2020, 2019, 2017, 2016 and has been in the top three for the past six years. Production highlights include Savannah’s first network series, Council of Dads and The Glorias. Due to COVID-19 impacts, the economic impact of entertainment production was limited to $21,377,2017. Hear from Council of Dads and their experience in Savannah.

World Trade Center Savannah
World Trade Center Savannah (WTCSav) provided value and services to support their partners, 16 economic development authorities as well as the City of Savannah as their Founding Investor. Learn how WTCSav supported Savannah Global Solutions in their international efforts.

In an outdoor ceremony, WTCSav recognized Brodie International of Statesboro as the 2020 WTCSav International Business of the Year. Foreign-Trade Zone 104 expanded to include Burke County and WTCSav continued to expand TradeBridge and shepherd partnerships with and around Southeast Ireland.

WTCSav was also thrilled that their nominee, Foster Beelief, won the World Trade Centers Association Foundation student-led competition beating out 23 other global nominations.

And it wouldn’t have been a SEDA Annual Board Meeting with out our Top 10!

  1. Every dollar invested and every retained or new job that SEDA helped facilitate. Includes 1,218 new job opportunities and close to $316 million in investment.
  2. Completed the development of the Savannah Chatham Manufacturing Center.
  3. Entered into a public-private partnership with Rockingham Farms and spearheaded development of a master plan for West Chatham.
  4. Creation of the Savannah Technology Workforce Incentive which reimburses individual moving expenses for qualified technology workers. The incentive was covered by more than 40 media outlets including Fox News, Bloomberg, Wall St. Journal and Southern Living.
  5. Plug and Play, an international innovation platform, selects Savannah as its newest location for a startup accelerator focused on supply chain.
  6. For the second year in a row, SEDA received Site Selection magazine’s “McKinley Mac Conway Awards for Excellence in Economic Development.”
  7. Savannah again named number one “Best 10 Small Cities and Towns to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” by MovieMaker magazine. Savannah has been named number one in 2020, 2019, 2017, 2016 and has been in the top three for the past six years.
  8. Business Retention and Expansion was the winner of International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award in Excellence in Economic Development, Multi-year Economic Development Program.
  9. World Trade Center Savannah managed 81 trade service projects for partners for a total of 506 research hours, 16 Global Education Programs and Events with 685 participants in 120 cities and four countries, hosted 23 inbound delegations with 123 delegates from nine countries and expanded Foreign-Trade Zone 104 to include Burke County.
  10. Launched new redesigned SEDA website.