SC Appalachian Council of Governments

Serving 6 Counties and 42 Municipalities since 1965
• Anderson • Cherokee • Greenville • Oconee • Pickens • Spartanburg •

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(864) 242-9733

Planning Services Spotlight

ACOG Launches the Entrepreneur Friendly Toolkit

ACOG has developed The Entrepreneur Friendly (EF) Toolkit community planning program for supporting small business development. The EF Toolkit is a seven-month, seven-step planning curriculum for individual cities and

counties that is delivered through an interactive, password protected website. Going through the seven-step process will enable cities and counties to become more"entrepreneur friendly", or supportive of and attractive to entrepreneurship.

THE PROCESS:  The EF Toolkit calls for a local city or county public-private task force to work through "seven steps" on an interactive website,  A password protected feature enables the website to save and store the online work completed by the local task force.  That "work", or series of goals, objectives and strategies, ultimately populates the community's"Entrepreneur Friendly Action Plan" – which is a type of strategic plan generated upon completion of the seven-step process. 

WHAT ARE THE SEVEN STEPS?    The"steps" are local economic development topics for which the task force is asked to develop goals and strategies. There is a full task force meeting for each step/topic.  The steps are: (1) Market Research, (2)Business Planning Resources, (3) Business Capital, (4) Local Networks and Incubators, (5) Business Compliance, (6) Marketing and Promotion, and (7)Centralized Information.  At the end of each step (on the website), there is a blank "strategic plan table"that the task force "champion" (leader) is asked to fill in with feedback from the group.  The accumulation of strategic plan tables for each of the seven steps ultimately combines to form the final EF Action Plan.

For more information, contact David Shellhorse, Economic Development Services Manager, at (864) 241-4649 or

Current Projects

  • Anderson HOME Consortium Consolidated Plan Update & Administration
  • Regional 5-Year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS 2013-2017)
  • City of Pickens Planning Administration Support
  • Cherokee County Planning Commission Support
  • Community "Entrepreneur Friendly" Toolkit Development

Current Viewpoint Article

2014 Brings New InfoMentum Investors

For twenty years the ACOG InfoMentum program has served as an economic development data clearinghouse for the region in its efforts to recruit and retain employers. ACOG has received numerous national awards for InfoMentum,including eight Innovation Awards from the National Association of Development Organizations. The program includes a restricted log-in website which Upstate economic developers use to generate maps and economic data for business and industry.  The ACOG InfoMentum team also maintains a regional database of available sites and buildings currently being marketed for economic development.  That database is used to build custom available property flyers and websites for each county economic development organization in the region.


Regional Highlights

Progress Report for the CEDS 2013-2017: Building 21st Century Economic Development Capacity

The ACOG Planning Division recently completed the progress report for the region’s 5-year “Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy”, or, as most people refer to it – the CEDS.  ACOG updates the regional CEDS every five years and prepares annual progress reports for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). CEDS 2013-2017summarizes not only important regional and county-level economic data, it also emphasizes key areas of economic development including (1) Clusters, Target Industries and Innovation Capacities, (2) Workforce Development, (3)Infrastructure, (4) Available Sites and Buildings, (5) Entrepreneurship, (6)Access to Capital, and (7) Local Asset-Based Development. 

The second year of CEDS 2013-2017 was a tremendous period in the SC Appalachian Region.  Each of the strategy’s original Seven Areas of Emphasis saw exciting developments and capacity expansion. The cluster-based, target industry strategy is yielding outstanding results, with over $4 billion in capital investment (528% higher than last year); over 5,700 new jobs (177% higher thanlast year); and over 73 announcements since September 2013.  Other highlights for the year include the Inland Port, which opened less than a year ago, is only beginning to have its anticipated transformational impact on business logistics.  In coming months, thanks to federal economic development partners, the new Entrepreneur Friendly Toolkit will be complete—establishing a customized on-line planning tool for local communities to attract and develop local entrepreneurs.To learn more, download the 2015 CEDS Update here. For questions or comments, please contact David Shellhorse, Economic Development Planner, at (864) 241-4649 or