BDI Secures Grant for Creation of Textile Network
For Immediate Release
Burke Development, Inc. Secures NC Rural Center Grant for Creation of Textile Network
Partners will Develop Value Chain System; Work to Revitalize Textile IndustryBURKE COUNTY, N.C. (May 1, 2013) – In partnership with the Manufacturing Solutions Center and Rural Support Partners, Burke Development has secured a $125,000 Research and Demonstration Grant from the NC Rural Center to create a Western North Carolina textile network, a cyclical value chain system that will revitalize and re-vision textile manufacturing in the Rural South. “The impact we could have with this project is huge,” said BDI President Scott Darnell. “We have a rich history in textiles in our region and what some people don’t realize is that there are still a lot of textile companies here and many of them are doing really cool, progressive things.” The goal of the grant is to retain the textile jobs currently in western North Carolina, develop new ones, and create a new generation of textile manufacturing. The Network will provide a centralized value chain system for both start-up and established companies, which will help them navigate and coordinate the complex pieces of textile production. Dan St. Louis is the Director of the Manufacturing Solutions Center, which is located in Conover. He sees the need for this type of system on a daily basis. “I get at least four to five calls per day from entrepreneurs who want to start an apparel company or have an innovative product idea, but they have no idea how to get their product to market,” he explained. “This system will allow us to capture those folks and bring them into the network, while also bringing the work that must be done for their product here to western North Carolina.” Rural Support Partners, a social enterprise working across the rural Southeast to help move sustainable economic development efforts to scale, will play a key role in the grant process and is a leader in value chain work. A value chain is a network of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and collaborating players who work together to satisfy market demand for specific products or services. “In a value chain, products and practices have a ‘triple bottom line’ of environmental, social and economic sustainability,” explained Rural Support Partners Executive Director Thomas Watson. “There is a great opportunity for us to promote and encourage these values amongst textile companies in our region. Similar to the way ‘Farm to Table’ and organic food movements have shaped new restaurants in our area, this network could shape the future of how we look at textiles in western North Carolina.” Other companies involved in the project are Morganton cut and sew operation Opportunity Threads and a Design Studio based in Yancey County called Sew Specialized. “We are excited to be able to support the efforts and growth of our local textile companies, as well as others in the region,” continued Darnell. “We look forward to working with many companies throughout this grant process. We have an opportunity for Burke County to take a leading role in the redevelopment of the textile industry and that is very exciting.” 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.
###Contact: Sara Chester 828.674.3141