By VICKI BROWN
Joe and Blanche Hamilton of SS Hamilton Farms in Green Pond recently hosted UNC Chapel Hill’s NC Growth-SmartUp SC Team for a tour and brunch at their certified tree farm in Green Pond.
Hamilton enrolled in the SmartUp Lowcountry, a program out of UNC-Chapel Hill’s NC Growth-SmartUp, which is designed to help Lowcountry businesses expand and create jobs and improve rural economies.
The NC Growth-SmartUp economic development center has been providing assistance to businesses throughout rural communities for a decade, and was awarded a grant in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development to support rural businesses and communities in the Lowcountry negatively impacted by the pandemic or the Colleton and Hampton County tornadoes of Spring 2020.
The program chooses growing companies in small communities like Walterboro and Hampton to provide a wide range of consulting services for those businesses. The goals are to connect rural businesses to high quality technical assistance, and help change struggling communities.
Hamilton was assigned to Jen Omoyemeh Ile, a forestry PhD student at NC State University and a NC Growth-SmartUp analyst and consultant with direct knowledge in forestry and natural resources.
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