The South Carolina Department of Commerce has established The Opportunity Zone Grant Fund under which South Carolina governmental entities (counties and/or municipalities) may request funding to offset the costs of obtaining an outside vendor to assist in the structuring of a competitive Opportunity Zone Project. The program also allows the third party vendor to assist the governmental entity in determining the best project to pursue.
Should any South Carolina governmental entity have an interest in applying for funding assistance, they may find a copy of the application on-line at SCopportunityzone.com. The entity must complete the application in full and attach a copy of the proposal from the vendor that the entity would like to employ. It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow their individual procurement process.
The selected vendor’s proposal MUST include the following:
(1) The vendor must demonstrate that they have expertise in the field of work directly related to the project or type of assistance that it will be providing the governmental entity and that they have a clear understanding of the local marketplace.
(2) The vendor must provide a detailed description of the process through which they will work with the unit of local government to achieve the required tasks.
(3) The completed document must reflect a clearly defined, aggressive package/plan that is acceptable to the applicant. If a project, the deliverable should also prove that the project has long-term sustainability to match the Opportunity Zone 7 –10 year investment window.
The Opportunity Grant Fund program is a competitive grant program. Limits regarding funding are as follows:
Targeted Rural Counties (Allendale, Bamberg, Lee & Williamsburg) - Up to 75% of proposal costs
Tiers 3 & 4 - Up to 50% of proposal costs
Tiers 1 & 2 - Up to 25% of proposal costs
(MAXIMUM Grant award for any applicant will be $25,000)
In an attempt to move quickly, we currently have identified three application submittal dates:
Round 1 Applications Due - March 1st
Round 2 Applications Due - March 15th
Round 3 Applications Due – July 1st
An Advisory Committee representing five entities will review and score each application. This Advisory Committee consists of representatives from The Council on Competitiveness, The South Carolina Association of Counties, The Municipal Association of South Carolina, The Rural Infrastructure Authority and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The Advisory Committee will provide the Secretary of Commerce a listing of recommended applications to approve. Grant awards will be announced as follows:
Round 1 Announced Grant Awards - March 15th
Round 2 Announced Grant Awards - April 1st
Round 3 Announced Grant Awards – July 15th