Development Authority to expand global reach

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The Development Authority of Richmond County is thinking global for 2011.

The group plans to travel to Germany next year and translate its Web site into other languages, including German, possibly French and a dialect from China.

"We are going to be more aggressive internationally," said Walter Sprouse, the executive director for the authority.

"When we look at visits to our Web site, the No. 1 country for hits is China and No. 2 is Germany and No. 3 is the U.S."

The development authority, which helps recruit companies to Augusta, increased its budget by about 22 percent for next year to $645,250, mainly because of upgrades to its Web site and more money in its recruitment fund for the trip abroad.

The Web site improvements also will include adding more data and better search functions, Sprouse said.

"We're going to focus really hard in the coming year on companies in Europe, primarily because I think we're very attractive since we're East Coast," he said.

The budget approved last week by the development authority's board of directors calls for a $35,000 Web page support budget, up from $3,250 last year. That will help the group hire a company to add more local data for each of its potential sites.

"We want to make sure that we're one (of the communities) that's doing this, so other communities say, 'Geez. I wish we had the kind of data Augusta does," Sprouse said.

The authority's recruitment budget will increase to $50,000 from $27,000.

The marketing budget also is increasing from $28,000 to $45,000 next year.

"This is aggressive. There are a lot of economic development organizations that are cutting their budgets," Sprouse said.

The development authority is not technically a part of county government, but it does receive about 10 percent of its budget -- or $63,000 a year -- from the county. That amount didn't change for 2011.

Most of the authority's budget is funded by fees from industrial revenue bonds.

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Junket831 12/24/10 - 12:19 am
Good luck, I hope this

Good luck, I hope this results in increased business opportunities in Augusta and not just a free trip overseas. Lets make sure no Augusta Richmond County Commissioners are part of the delegation.

Riverman1 12/24/10 - 09:22 am
You HAVE to be kidding me.

You HAVE to be kidding me. The GROUP plans a trip to Germany and later to other places so they can put up websites in other languages? These trips are going to cost a fortune. Are they actually going to be the ones to translate the site? Heck, no.

Of course Sprouse and company will have a blast traveling all over the world at our expense. All this could easily be handled over the internet and phone. In addition, most of the world speaks English today. The vast majority of people who are going to visit Augusta have a working knowledge of English, I'll bet. This trip is ill conceived. No, that's being too nice, it's ridiculous and someone needs to stop it.

countyman 12/24/10 - 10:34 am
I think this is a great idea

I think this is a great idea in order to attract new companies. About two weeks ago the authority had lunch downtown at Frog Hollow with trade reps from 11 diffrent countries(France, Brazil, Germany, Chili, Great Britain, Canada, China, etc). Last week a delegation from France was in town with a life sciences group. Lastly the authority had a major french project in town with a german consultant.

The Development Authority did a EXCELLENT job in the year 2010.

Convergent, Caraustar, Solo Cup, Miller Motte, Teleperformance, Knology, Procter & Gamble, Rural Sourcing Inc, Bennett International, EZ-GO,etc.

If we can land both Bottletek and South Georgia Tissue, it''ll take us over the top in job growth.

Riverman, the Columbia County taxpayers aren't paying for anything.....

Riverman1 12/24/10 - 11:41 am
"Lastly the authority had a

"Lastly the authority had a major french project in town with a german consultant."

Now that's kind of funny.

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