City of Greenville employs ‘Moneyball’ strategy to grow business

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – What do the city of Greenville and the movie “Moneyball” have in common? More than you might think.

The movie tells the story of a baseball manager facing a limited budget who developed a sophisticated strategy that still allowed his team to win. The city of Greenville says they are pursuing the same approach.

“We personally call that ‘Moneyball,’” said Roger Johnson, the city’s economic development director. “The world calls it economic gardening.”

The idea is to start small and build from the bottom up, or in this case, build local.

“We’re helping small businesses grow, and we’re going after the single and double hitters which may not be producing jobs in large quantities but are producing a small number of jobs that are adding up to a large quantity of jobs,” said Johnson.

The approach has three separate parts that work to the overall success of the program.

The first is SEED, which stands for Supporting Economic & Entrepreneurial Development.

The city and East Carolina University have partnered to help entrepreneurs.

“I do a lot of work out of my house and my kitchen, but now I have an address for $50 a month,” said Justin Cobb, a local entrepreneur. “I have workspace. I can send employees here.”

Small business assistance comes next.

“It helped us to develop the facility,” said Carol Wright, with Wright School of Music.

Thanks to thousands of dollars in grant money, small businesses in Uptown Greenville could expand their services.

The last component is reusing buildings, which is what Benjamin Self, co-owner of Uptown Brewing Company did.

“It had been vacant for over 30 years, and it’s a 110-year-old building of some historical significance,” said Benjamin Self, co-owner of Uptown Brewing Company.

The approach helps grow Greenville one business at a time.

“The $60,000 or $65,000 dollar grant that we got really helped us get the ball rolling on some of our early purchases,” Self said.

Twenty-five percent of all jobs in the United States are produced by small businesses.

Johnson said that’s why they are so important to the community’s growth.

“The overall strategy is to bring wealth in our community,” said Johnson. “This is our strategy to do that.”

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