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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. EDA Promotes Manufacturing Jobs in North Carolina

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced an $800,000 grant to Bladen's Bloomin' Agri-Industrial, Inc. of Elizabethtown, N.C., to help build a business incubator that will foster the growth of upstart manufacturing businesses. The project is expected to create 210 jobs and generate $5 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

"Strengthening our manufacturing sector is critical to our ability to create jobs and remain competitive," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. "This EDA investment will help to establish a facility that will provide fledgling manufacturers with the critical technical and business assistance needed to capitalize on high-growth sectors of the global economy including in green technology and clean energy."

"We are very excited about this new small business incubator project and the impact it will have on Bladen County. In a very difficult economic environment, more and more of our success stories in our rural community are small businesses and entrepreneurs that want to start up or expand, but affordable, small industrial space is difficult to find," said Robert Hester, President, Bladen's Blooming Agri-Industrial, Inc.

This investment will fund construction of a manufacturing business incubator in Bladen County that will feature energy efficient concepts in its design and construction, including solar panels to reduce its carbon footprint. It will support economic diversification and address recent manufacturing job losses by providing growth-oriented, innovative start-up businesses space to develop markets and expand manufacturing operations. Importantly, start-up businesses will have access to loan capital and equipment leasing and financing.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.