The annual summit has attracted leaders in rural development and planning across the state for the last 30 years. The Commerce Department estimates that 120 attended this year.
“The Rural Summit provides a unique opportunity for leaders from across the state to share best practices and learn more about resources available to communities, leadership development, rural education and planning for the future — all with one goal in mind — to advance the efforts and promote economic activity within our state’s rural communities,” Alex Clark, communications director at the S.C. Department of Commerce said.
Visiting speakers included Gov. Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, Hartsville City Manager Natalie Zeigler, Barnwell Mayor Marcus Rivera and Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt. The Rural Infrastructure Authority, WCNC in Charlotte, the Commerce Department and Columbia-based technology consulting firm Revolution D Inc. also hosted presentations on rural development issues.
“From an economic perspective, with around 14% of our total population living in rural areas, South Carolina’s smaller communities are an integral part of our economy,” Hitt said in a statement released last month. According to the release, more than $506 million in rural capital investment was raised through Commerce Department’s recruitment efforts in 2019.