For Immediate Release
BDI, Partners Receive “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) Grant
Carolina Textile District uses Value Chain Approach to Revitalize the Textile Industry
BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (September 27, 2013) – Burke Development, Inc., in partnership with the Manufacturing Solutions Center and Opportunity Threads, have received a $163,800 “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” grant from the Department of Commerce. The grant will support the Carolina Textile District, a Value Chain network that connects textile manufacturers and strengthens the competitiveness of the regional textile cluster.
The body of work being carried out by the Carolina Textile District is based on the WealthWorks approach to economic development that centers on the creation of a regional Value Chain. Key to the concept is the mapping and identification of a region’s current infrastructure and underutilized assets. These local assets are then used to meet demand from outside the region to create various forms of wealth within a community.
The IMCP is an Obama Administration initiative that will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States. The funding phase rewards communities for creating globally competitive environments that attract, retain, and expand investment in manufacturing and spur international trade and exports.
“Burke County’s focus on the textile industry, which is one that is prevalent all across western North Carolina, is an exciting endeavor to create synergy around new manufacturing opportunities in our communities,” said Pat Mitchell, Assistant Secretary for the Rural Development Division of the NC Department of Commerce.
The Carolina Textile District works to meet the large demand for textile production in Western North Carolina in a way that capitalizes on local assets, people, environment, and heritage to bring sustainable manufacturing to the Carolinas. The organization’s vision is to revitalize the textile industry in a way that creates positive social, environmental and economic impact.
The funds will be used to develop a fast track design and production incubation system; create a program that transitions, recruits and grows manufacturers to expand the network and bolster the value chain; and grow an ecosystem that fosters a new generation of textiles including outreach to workers, support entities and government organizations.
Partnering organizations came together in early 2013 and were funded in May by the NC Rural Economic Development Center with a grant that allowed them to build the structure and systems necessary to develop the Value Chain and network, which was named the Carolina Textile District.
“At Burke Development we often take an ‘out of the box’ approach to economic development and this project definitely goes against the grain from the traditional type of economic development strategies based on recruitment and retention,” said BDI President Scott Darnell. “We are lucky to have a lot of very intelligent and innovative people here like Molly Hemstreet and Dan St. Louis. We’re thankful to be involved in the project and hope to use it as a model that we can apply to other sectors in the region.”
Several Burke County companies are already benefiting from the work being done and the relationships being built as a result of the Value Chain network. Opportunity Threads is currently working on some shared contracts with other local cut and sew companies Action Sports and Catawba Creations.
“There’s no other way,” said Action Sports Owner Nand Thaper. “If you’re out on your own you have nothing. If you’re working together and sharing things then everybody has something and everybody wins.”
Instrumental to the project is Rural Support Partners, a social justice organization that develops impact networks across the rural Southeast. The IMCP grant was also administered and supported by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.
“We’re really thankful for the work that Leah Martin and the staff at the COG did to help us with this grant,” said Dan St. Louis, Director of the Manufacturing Solutions Center. “The Carolina Textile District has the potential to create a new level of collaboration amongst our textile companies that will strengthen the sector and set us up to be the leading region for textile production.”
About Burke Development, Inc.
Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.