Newberry’s Roadmap for an Innovative Digital Economy

The digital economy ecosystem includes technology education, job training and community planning to foster technology-based entrepreneurship and remote employment opportunities in rural communities like Newberry.

NEWBERRY COUNTY – The continued expansion of the Digital Economy Ecosystem (DEE) throughout South Carolina has come to Newberry. Funded by the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grant, the project helps South Carolina’s rural communities further embrace technological advances, foster economic growth and improve the overall quality of life for Newberry residents. District.

The project was initially introduced to the community through the NFT Museum Digital Mural Initiative with funding from SCORH. SCORH’s lead strategist, Paola Gutierrez, and Kim Bowman, founder and CEO of the SC Rural Innovation Network (SCRIN), both identified Newberry as an up-and-coming innovation and creative community in rural SC.

The digital economy ecosystem includes technology education, job training and community planning to foster technology-based entrepreneurship and remote employment opportunities in rural communities like Newberry. A successful digital economy ecosystem increases digital literacy, creates quality jobs and creates wealth in the local area.

„A DEE is an interconnected system of people, programs and structures that work together to help technology-based entrepreneurs, businesses and workers thrive,” Bowman said. „Each community embarks on a DEE revival from a different starting point, but we’ve seen how this process can inspire community buy-in, attract investors and create momentum for a new way of life.”

The USDA-funded DEE program launched in 2020 to establish digital economy ecosystems in Williamsburg and Barnwell counties. The following year, Orangeburg County was added.

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“With five locations across the state, we have successfully established a DEE network throughout South Carolina,” said Gutierrez.

For example, in Barnwell and Williamsburg counties, the DEE program resulted in new summer technology institutes for middle and high school students, co-working spaces, a program for schools to showcase STEM programs to business and manufacturing communities, new courses on drones, technology and web design at Williamsburg College of Technology, and expanded availability of telehealth.

Williamsburg’s DEE and Digital Lane are developing an agribusiness plan to introduce agricultural technology and tools, land management, access to new markets and farm-to-table opportunities.

With the help of our DEE Dream Team Committee organized by Michelle Long and Robert Matheson, Newberry is on track to complete our DEE Roadmap by the end of June, exploring potential innovation hub/coworking spaces while providing new digital programming to Newberry residents. District. The remaining members of the original DEE Dream Team are Jerry Alvin, Rebecca Clevenger, Alan Davis, Rick Farmer, Abby Fuller, Beth Jaeger, John W. Buck, Stephanie Sullivan, Jeff Wicker. As we come to the end of a year of creating a digital roadmap for Newberry, in many ways, we’re just getting started.

For more information or to get involved, contact Michelle Long at the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce at 803-276-4274.

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