In just one year of operation, SC Community Navigator Pilot Program (SCCNPP), powered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED), and eight partner organizations across South Carolina, has created over 700 jobs, provided over 1,870 hours of counseling to South Carolina entrepreneurs, and approved over $20 million in small business funding.
The SC Community Navigator Pilot Program is a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCACED, and eight partner organizations in South Carolina known as “spokes.” The program was launched in early 2022 with a $2.5 million grant from the SBA to SCACED, who serves are the “hub” administrative organization in South Carolina, to deploy the funding among eight partner organizations called “spokes” who provide small business resource support services.
In its first year of operation, the SC Community Navigator Pilot Program has seen incredible success, including:
• $20,557,707 in approved loans
• 1,870 hours of counseling provided
• 717 jobs created and retained
• 257 clients received training
• 102 total training hours
• 75 clients received loan or grant funding
The SCCNPP is part of the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, which is a $100 million nationwide initiative aiming to reduce the barriers that minority, women, and veteran-owned entrepreneurs face in accessing the services and capital they need to recover, grow, or start a new business. In South Carolina, SCACED works with these eight “spokes” to deliver a variety of small business support services:
• Increasing HOPE
• SC Small Business Development Centers
• CLIMB Fund
• Community Works
• Optus Bank
• SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
• Benedict College Women’s Business Center
• DESA, Inc.
Among the success stories of 2022 is Todd Corley, President of Corley Construction in Aiken, South Carolina. After unsuccessfully bidding on water and infrastructure projects with the City of Aiken, Mr. Corley enlisted the assistance of DESA Inc., a “spoke” in the SCCNPP, who connected him with City of Aiken officials to see how he could improve his chances of winning a contract. With the cost escalation of goods and materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Aiken decided to combine several projects to achieve economies of scale and save money on mobilization and buying supplies in bulk. After several meetings with City of Aiken officials, Mr. Corley was invited to submit a bid on the new opportunity.
Mr. Corley did so and won a contract valued at over $2 million, which included the two projects he had previously bid on and additional unrelated projects. On June 2, 2022, Corley Construction officially received the notice to proceed for the Water and Sewer Utilities Extension 2022 project, where he will install water and sewer lines to expand services throughout the City of Aiken, providing utilities to new residential and business developments. City of Aiken confirmed that this contract is one of the largest utility projects awarded to a minority contractor within the last five years.
“We are excited to have a successful first year of the Navigator Program in South Carolina. I encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state who are struggling to find the right resources and assistance to reach out to us,” said Chantelle Broughton, Program Manager of the SC Community Navigator Pilot Program at SCACED. “We look forward to continuing to be a resource and advocate for historically underserved businesses in 2023.”
The SC Community Navigator Pilot Program will officially close November 30, 2023.
About SCACED (www.scaced.org)
SCACED is a coalition of over 170 individuals and organizations who support the development of healthy and economically sustainable communities throughout South Carolina. For over 25 years, SCACED and its members have worked collaboratively to build wealth and create economic opportunity for all SC residents including a focus on minority communities and other groups who have been left out of the economic mainstream.
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