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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.5 Million to Establish New Business Incubator in Valdosta, Georgia, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.5 million grant to the Valdosta and Lowndes Chamber of Commerce in Valdosta, Georgia to fund the construction of a new business incubator. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.7 million in local funds and is expected to help create 81 jobs and generate $9.7 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is committed to the resilience of local economies by encouraging companies to grow in designated Opportunity Zones,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I look forward to seeing how the new Valdosta Area Business Incubator will help a wide variety of businesses prosper in the region.”

“It is important to provide American entrepreneurs with the workspace and technical assistance they need to achieve optimal success,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The incubator’s location in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will revitalize the area and make it even more attractive for new business development.”

“President Trump and Secretary Ross continue to deliver on their promise to make Georgia’s infrastructure needs a priority,” said Senator David Perdue. “This critical project will help create new jobs and encourage start-up businesses to open their doors in Valdosta. By designating this area as an Opportunity Zone, the Trump Administration’s investment will incentivize businesses to continue contributing to economic growth in the community.”

“As a former businesswoman, I know that when businesses thrive, so do the families they employ and the communities they call home,” said Senator Kelly Loeffler. “Opportunity Zones are a key way of helping companies invest and create jobs locally. As our communities face uncertainty, this grant to the Valdosta and Lowndes Chamber of Commerce comes at the perfect time to help grow more jobs in South Georgia.”

“For six years in a row, Georgia has been named the best state to do business, and that ranking comes from the hard work of countless Georgians in every corner of our state,” said Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08). “This project will be yet another resource for South Georgians to start and grow businesses that innovate and contribute to our state and national economy, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts it will have in South Georgia for years to come.”

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. 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, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here.

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC). EDA funds the SGRC 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.

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.

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