CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Last year was a rocky year for the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Each year, local municipalities give the corporation hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring jobs to the area.

CEO and President of the MBREDC Josh Kay told News13 last month the corporation brought one company to the county in 2017 and another closed days after opening.

However, only two months in to 2018, Kay says this year is looking better.

“We’ve announced 169 full time jobs in calendar year 2018 already and over 23 million dollars in capitol investment. So, we’ve already exceeded our capital investment goal,” said Kay.

Tuesday, the corporation announced Encompass Health Corporation and Tidelands Health were advancing plans to build and operate a new 46-bed rehabilitation hospital in Little River.

The new hospital will be located off Highway 9 and will hire up to 134 employees over the next five years.

In Wednesday’s MBREDC meeting, Kay told members they planned to focus on medical device manufacturing and boat manufacturing in 2018.

He says they now have a more aggressive marketing approach to bring businesses to the county.

 “Either myself or one of our staff members will go to Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Toronto, an actual location and we’ll spend time calling on companies while we’re there. We’ll set anywhere from 8-15 appointments over a three day period to try to talk with those companies and those CEOs,” said Kay.

The corporation launched its new website Wednesday that can be translated in over 100 different languages to reach businesses world-wide.

Kay says that’s one of their biggest tools attracting businesses this year.  

 “We’ve got to evaluate to find out how to get people to that site and how to convert people to that site to getting in touch with us or us getting in touch with them and then converting those into actual projects and then converting that into announcements,”   said Kay.

Kay says once they have an announcement from a company to bring jobs, it can take up to five years for the company to fulfill that promise.

He says they’re also still looking at ways to bring “spec buildings” to the county because businesses are more likely to come if there’s already a building ready for them.