Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said in his State of the City address, he will make competitiveness of the city a priority, and presented a five-part focus plan for the continued growth of business in Columbia.

Benjamin shared a few of the highlights Columbia has earned this past year including receiving $13 million in federal, state and private grants and being named one of the Top 50 places to live by U.S. News and World Report.

Columbia also has the fourth-lowest startup cost at $232,541, 5.3% lower than Charleston.

Benjamin praised Columbia metro for its current unemployment rate of 3.8% which is lower than both the state and national unemployment rate, and represents a 58.2% drop in unemployment over the past six years.

During that time, Columbia has also created over 63,000 new jobs, including over 10,000 this year.

Benjamin has five major points that he says will make the city more attractive to businesses looking to start in Columbia.

Talent – Developing a strong pipeline, including a strong focus on skilled trades across the city that can give someone a good standard of living for a lifetime.

Entrepreneurial and Business Environment – Constantly investing and rethinking how business is done.

Innovation

Industry Cluster – Insurance Technology, Health Science and Future Fuels

Livability – Extending the Greenways, adding Railroad Quiet Zones, creating vibrant public spaces and promoting the arts.

The mayor also talked about connecting people with housing they can afford.

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