Accelerate Greater Charleston

What is Accelerate Greater Charleston?

AGC is a dedicated blueprint to maximize our community’s ability to take advantage of a once in a generation set of economic development and community advancement opportunities.

Why do we need it?

Our region needs a well-defined, multipurpose strategy to successfully compete in the global market place. Accelerate Greater Charleston is that plan.

Why the Chamber?

Our business members expect us to lead the way by charting the community’s future course. We are the best organization to work across all sectors to deliver alignment and collaboration.

Why now?

It is simple – greater Charleston is an emerging player on the world stage. Accelerate Greater Charleston is a dedicated plan to assure that over the next five years, we can respond to and take advantage of this prominent new position.

How is this plan different from what the Chamber is currently doing?

Accelerate Greater Charleston features four specific deliverables that go above and beyond the Chamber’s current business plan in advancing our region:

  1. Build and strengthen a talented workforce
  2. Maintain and accelerate a positive job creation environment for small business, military, research and development and international trade firms and organizations
  3. Position greater Charleston as an advocate and attractor for globally competitive businesses
  4. Deliver a region-wide business platform that places a premium on ease of doing business and great interest in business success

Downloadable Version


Talent Development

  • Develop an interactive asset map, an analytical tool that identifies gaps and serves as a resource, to identify the number and type of services provided by organizations impacting the delivery of education programs in our region. Map to be updated annually.
  • Partner with all four school districts to provide 12 EDGE (Education and Development for Graduation and Employment) Academies, over five years, in three priority areas: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), hospitality/culinary arts and health sciences.
  • Graduation rate is eight percent higher for EDGE students versus non-EDGE completers.
  • Percentage of students entering post-secondary education is five percent higher for EDGE vs. non- EDGE completers.
  • By 2017, ensure the range of business partnerships established in each EDGE Academy meets the recommendations of the TIP (Trident Industry Partnership) Council business leaders
  • Increase by 25 percent the number of students able to obtain a two-year degree or certification from Trident Technical College.

Effective Business Climate

  • Provide proactive ability, through staff policy analyst, to address business climate issues, craft legislation and build a repository of knowledge on issues.
  • Identify and address at least one regionally critical issue each year (i.e., infrastructure).
  • Provide seed funding for surveying and executing a campaign for successful passage of critical referendums impacting regional advancement. (Only applied if demand for such a campaign is required.)


  • On a monthly basis meet with the Governor, state leaders, members of legislative delegation and their staff
  • Develop a pro-active annual legislative agenda and achieve goal of successfully passing 100 percent of the agenda each year
  • Identify business climate issues and develop legislation and successful action plan to address each issue
  • Significantly raise the private sector voice on issues at the local, state and federal level
  • Establish “Influence Profile” database of 300 largest business members to build grasstops lobbying network

Job Creation

  • Serve at least 200 new and prospective employees (and families) through providing community assimilation programs
  • Establish an electronic portal that connects businesses and students for internship opportunities
  • Provide micro-loans to at least 15 entrepreneurial endeavors annually
  • Maintain our position during BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) as strategic military transportation hub for the Department of Defense
  • Secure Africa Command – a $4.4 billion economic impact
  • Increase annual growth rate of export activity by at least seven percent over five years
  • Provide import/export trade leads and research information to 100 companies per year

Economic Impact

Economic Impact of New Jobs

$500New members with 1 - 9 employees
$1,000New members with 10 - 24 employees
$1,500New members with 25 - 49 employees

Income and Expenditure Impact




The following new program offerings and staff will successfully implement Accelerate Greater Charleston’s talent, business development and advocacy goals.

Talent Development and Readiness

  1. Education asset map
  2. Three career academy coordinators for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), hospitality/culinary arts and health sciences academies
  3. Financial assistance through removing barriers (books, transportation, etc.), for qualified students graduating from EDGE (Education and Development for Graduation and Employment) Career Academies to attend Trident Technical College in comparable fields of study – changing the conversation around the dinner table
  4. Talent to Employer Bridging and On-Boarding programs

Job Creation and Retention

  1. Micro loan program for entrepreneurial start-ups
  2. Fund BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) and Africa Command lobbying initiatives
  3. Effectively launch World Trade Center Charleston by hiring an executive director and building out the program

Advocate for Competitive Speed to Market Region

  1. Have a full-time, professional staff lobbyist in Columbia each day of the S.C. General Assembly
  2. Build a “grasstops” relationship lobbying network of our 300 largest business members

Ensure an Entrepreneur Friendly Business Environment

  1. Staff policy analyst to research top legislative and community advancement initiatives
  2. Public referendum campaign seed funding for conducting surveys and launching initiatives


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