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Michael Porter applauds S.C.'s push to increase competitiveness

Speaking at New Carolina's 7th anniversary event, Porter declares "we will

Harvard professor and internationally lauded economic development guru
Michael Porter visited Columbia yesterday to cheer South Carolina's progress
toward strengthening its knowledge economy. Porter was in the state to speak
at the 7th anniversary celebration for New Carolina-South Carolina's Council
on Competitiveness.

Widely considered the world's foremost economic development strategist,
Porter gave a notable presentation at an Economic Outlook Conference hosted
by the University of South Carolina in 2003. At that time, he made eight
recommendations for improving South Carolina's economy.

Among his suggestions were activating and upgrading industry clusters,
increasing support for startups and local firms, and investing more in
workforce development and education. New Carolina was created the following
year to tackle those recommendations.

At the New Carolina celebration, Porter complimented the organization's
successes thus far, noting that it has established 15 cluster committees and
counts more than 1,000 state leaders from the business, non-profit, and
government sectors as volunteers. He cited major victories in recruiting
companies and suppliers to the state and winning three federal grants from
the Small Business Administration and the Economic Development
Administration. He also praised New Carolina for building an effective
Education and Workforce Task Force, initiating statewide business
incubators, and developing a strategic plan for distressed areas.

Porter expressed fondness and admiration for the place he considers his
"home state." He was born in Michigan ("just a technicality"), but spent his
summers in South Carolina as a boy.

The crowd of more than 200 responded warmly as Porter used the first-person
plural in his remarks--"we will succeed."

As Porter lauded South Carolina for "the sheer determination to make this
work," he emphasized New Carolina's critical role in implementing measures
that will increase the state's competitiveness.

New Carolina Chairman of the Board Ed Sellers remarked, "In the past seven
years, we've made great progress toward reaching many of the goals we set
for our organization and our state. There are many people who are dedicated
to giving South Carolina a stronger, more competitive, and more dynamic
economy--we've achieved so much, and we're on the verge of realizing so much

"We're celebrating seven years of hard work and achievement in a variety of
areas, from implementing an overall cluster strategy to specific
accomplishments within our various clusters and focus areas, including
tourism, entrepreneurship, nuclear, creative, and workforce/education," said
New Carolina Executive Director George Fletcher. "We look forward to
continued work toward a stronger state economy with an ever-growing focus on
innovation, education, and collaboration."

Along with Porter's speech, the New Carolina event included a panel
discussion on the future of South Carolina featuring Porter and Sellers
along with prominent Lake City businesswoman Darla Moore, Boeing South
Carolina Vice President Marco Cavazzoni, and South Carolina Research
Authority CEO Bill Mahoney.

Also during the event, Sellers, who has served as New Carolina's chairman
since its launch, was presented with the Order of the Palmetto for his
contributions to South Carolina as a business leader and humanitarian.

Sellers recently retired from his position as CEO of BlueCross BlueShield
South Carolina, which he had held since 1987. During his tenure, Sellers
grew BC/BS by 8,000 employees and built it into a $3.8 billion company. His
past and present community involvement includes serving on the boards of the
Palmetto Institute, the S.C. Governor's School for Science and Technology,
the Spoleto Festival, Columbia College, and the U.S. and S.C. Chambers of
Commerce, among other civic groups.

About New Carolina

New Carolina--South Carolina's Council on Competitiveness is a public-private
partnership working to increase South Carolina's economic competitiveness
through a cluster development strategy. Its focus is to:

1) Strengthen core industries through clusters

2) Foster innovation in business and education through initiatives

3) Connect the dots across efforts

Building and supporting clusters was the top recommendation of Harvard
Professor Michael Porter, who presented his analysis of South Carolina when
he came to South Carolina in 2003. New Carolina is the go-to organization
for cluster development, bringing leaders of companies within the same
industry together to facilitate, define and implement industry-wide

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