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 completion of a competitive Opportunity Zone Prospectus. The program also allows the third party vendor to assist the governmental entity in determining the best project(s) to pursue or the financial structuring of same.
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 applicant 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 type of assistance that will be provided to the applicant. While copies of the biographies of those working on the project are good to have, this alone will not be an acceptable demonstration of the vendor’s expertise.
(2) It is important that the vendor also demonstrates an understanding of the local marketplace.
(3) The vendor must provide a detailed description of the process through which they will work with the applicant to achieve the required tasks along with the proposed timeline to complete same.
(4) The Opportunity Zone Prospectus must clearly define an aggressive approach to having the project(s) to become reality. It is important to note that long-term sustainability to match the Opportunity Zone 7 –10 year investment window is a must.
The Opportunity Zone Grant Fund program is a competitive grant program. Limits regarding funding are as follows:
• Tier III & IV Counties - Up to 50% of proposal costs
• Tiers I & II Counties - Up to 25% of proposal costs
MAXIMUM Grant award for any applicant will be $25,000
The Advisory Committee can waive match requirement
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 on or around October 15th and December 13th respectively.