Gov. Brian Kemp is launching a new statewide initiative to promote Georgia-made products and bring new business to rural parts of the state.

At Faircloth Forest Products in Swainsboro, midway between Macon and Savannah, Kemp said he was fulfilling another campaign promise: to showcase economic opportunities available to companies that choose to invest in Georgia outside of the metro Atlanta area.

“While Atlanta is our capital, and serves as our logistics hub and jobs magnet, 74% of our total economic development announcements in 2019 were made outside the perimeter in Atlanta,” he said. “I want you to know that I’m laser focused on bringing projects of regional significance to communities that want to grow.”

Thus begins the “rural strike team,” a group that will create an economic development plan to market sites for large-scale development, attract businesses to rural Georgia and work with existing partners and organizations to better grow the state’s economy.

But Kemp said the focus on bigger companies does not take away from smaller, homegrown businesses.

“We also believe that 25 jobs from a local business expanding in Twin City, plus 50 new jobs in a place like Metter… those things add up, and they move the needle for rural Georgia,” he said.

Enter the “Georgia Made” tour.

The governor will be crisscrossing the state in coming weeks to places like Faircloth Forest products, a new family-owned business midway between Macon and Savannah, to raise awareness for Georgia-made products.

The first stop will be in Monroe, where Kemp and other officials will tour Hitachi Automotive Systems’ facility, which was built in 1997. In May of this year, the company announced a $100 million expansion that would create 100 additional jobs.

It’s a continuation of Kemp’s pledge to focus on parts of the state that have not flourished as much as the Atlanta region.

“Rural Georgia is right for economic investment, and economic growth companies large and small agree,” he said. “We are proud of our worldwide appeal, and our partnership with countries across the globe.”