SC SBDC Named as “Spoke” Organization in SBA Community Navigator Program for South Carolina

South Carolina SBDC Network Headquarters (Columbia, SC) – The South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs, is pleased to announce the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED) was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to serve as the “hub” organization for South Carolina’s Community Navigator Pilot Program (CNPP). As part of the CNPP, the SC SBDC has been designated as one of the state’s eight participating “spoke” organizations responsible for better connecting historically underserved entrepreneurs with critical resources.

According to the SBA, the CNPP is part of a $100 million American Rescue Act initiative to help reduce the barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs face in accessing the programs and services that they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses.

“The historic Community Navigator Program catalyzes trusted community partners across America to support the smallest-of-small businesses at this pivotal juncture,” said Mark Madrid, Association Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development.

“The financial fallout from the pandemic hit small businesses in rural and underserved areas particularly hard,” said SC SBDC State Director Michele Abraham. “Empowering marginalized entrepreneurs is a top priority for the SC SBDC. Before we can turn the page on this crisis, we must first level the playing field and create a more equitable small business economy.”

Employing a “Hub and Spoke” model with SCACED serving as the state’s ‘hub,’ the Community Navigator Pilot Program relies on organizations such as the SC SBDC, to operate as ‘spokes,’ providing critical resources and assistance to underserved small businesses, including micro and rural businesses.

“The SC SBDC is honored to be a trusted partner of SCACED and serve as an outreach ‘spoke,’” said Abraham. “With our extensive statewide network, the SC SBDC is well positioned to better reach—and serve—under-engaged communities across the state and complement the main programmatic thrusts of SCACED—the ‘hub.'”

As the ‘boots on the ground’ for this grassroots campaign, the SC SBDC will connect small businesses in minority, rural and other underserved sectors of the entrepreneurial community to critical resources and assistance, including:
• Financial assistance and access to capital
• Contracting and procurement
• Business development, marketing, operations and exporting
• Industry-specific training

“It is estimated that during the height of the pandemic, over 40% of minority businesses were shuttered,” said Rebecca Blackburn Hines, the SC SBDC’s CARES Act program manager. “The SC SBDC aims to help close historic and current resource gaps and advance equity by providing marginalized and underserved businesses access to our strategic support services and resources.”

The SC SBDC is currently looking to hire three additional business consultants to be strategically located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston. For more information visit https://uscjobs.sc.edu/postings/110479.

For more information on the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, please visit https://www.scaced.org/south-carolina-community-navigator.

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About the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC)
Twenty South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) located throughout the state’s 46 counties offer no-fee individual, confidential business consulting. Highly trained consultants assist both existing and startup companies by providing a variety of services including business plan development, fiscal and operations management, human resources, financing options, marketing strategies and much more. In addition, the SC SBDC conducts a variety of affordable educational workshops and connects clients with useful business resources. Specialized services include government contracting, exporting, technology commercialization, veterans’ business assistance, cybersecurity and minority outreach. Visit SCSBDC.com to find a center and make an appointment. Follow us at facebook.com/SCSBDC and on Twitter @SCSBDC.

About the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED):
SCACED is a coalition of over 150 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. SCACED works to build the capacity of local community development organizations and financial institutions to create individual and family wealth as well as grow economically sustainable communities. Throughout its history, SCACED has helped to funnel millions of dollars from regional and national foundations, as well as private capital into under-capitalized communities in South Carolina. Visit www.scaced.org


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