December 11, 2020 - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, Statesboro, Georgia, to boost business growth and resiliency efforts by expanding the City Center Business Incubator. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $500,000 in local funds, is expected to create 300 jobs, and generate $40 million in private investment. 

“Hurricane Irma severely impacted Statesboro and Bulloch County by in 2017,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will strengthen the partnership between the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority and Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group and aid in their efforts to rebuild and reinforce the region’s economy. The Opportunity Zone designation will further transform the local economy.” 

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping American communities impacted by natural disasters build the modern infrastructure necessary to attract new businesses,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will provide Statesboro with the resources necessary to better serve businesses in the community, and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will drive additional investment to the region.”

“Statesboro’s highly successful City Center Business Incubator helps small businesses throughout rural Georgia, and this grant is a great example of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s “Opportunity Zones” are spurring economic growth in communities throughout the country,” said Congressman Rick Allen (GA-12). “After being impacted by Hurricane Irma, I’m especially glad to see Statesboro receive this investment that will further help economic growth and job creation in the region.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs. 

In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources page here. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report to President Trump.

This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

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