This report on New Carolina, South Carolina's Council on Competitiveness, is a study on how private sector leaders in South Carolina embraced the cluster development concept to upgrade their region’s competitiveness. It provides insights into their motivation, explains what they did, discusses the impact they have had, and lays out the key lessons learned. "New Carolina” also offers real-world examples of how cluster-based economic development works as part of modern economic policy at the regional level. At the federal level, discussions about cluster-driven policies have long been focused on arguments as to whether cluster policies are tantamount to picking winners. This study clearly shows that real cluster development efforts do not necessarily need such interventions. However, each region must devise its own strategy for competitiveness based on its clusters and other strengths. This Policy and Impact Study is the third in a series of four developed as part of the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project, an effort supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
A set of four Policy and Impact Studies was developed by the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project to impart collaborative, real-world examples of how clusters have been used to improve regional economic growth. These studies are: Mobilizing Oregon Clusters (OR), the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Cluster Initiative (MN), New Carolina (SC), and the Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance (MA). By documenting cluster programs and amassing a set of best practices, they display how organizations can apply and leverage data from the U.S. Cluster Mapping website to improve their own regions. Each study tells a unique story, but all provide lessons learned that can be applied and extended to other regions.