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Columbia Business Monthly

Small Business Development Centers, Host Universities Collaborate to Help Businesses

May 22, 2020 12:03PM ● By David Dykes
Staff Report 

The South Carolina Small Business Development Centers, the state’s provider of business assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners, is leveraging its partnerships with host universities to help mitigate the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on small business owners and the state's economy.

For more than 40 years, SC SBDCs throughout the state have worked alongside faculty and students of business schools at Clemson University, South Carolina State University, the University of South Carolina and Winthrop University. 

Congress has tasked America’s SBDC network with expanding services to help small businesses deal with the challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In response, the SC SBDC and its consortium of business schools say they have redoubled their efforts to implement programs that support the small business community while also benefiting faculty and students.

Supporters say some of the outreach initiatives include:
  • Hiring. The universities are helping facilitate hiring amidst hiring freezes and facilitating other administrative actions to expedite tasks needed to deliver critical services to small businesses.
  • Student Internships. Business schools are working with the SC SBDC to identify and recruit students to fill internships at SBDC Area Centers throughout the state. These internships provide jobs to students who lost internships due to the pandemic while expanding the SC SBDC network's capacity to accomplish its mission of helping small and medium-sized businesses recover and rebuild from the impact of Covid-19. 
  • Resource Sharing. By sharing talent, knowledge and resources with the SC SBDC, the network's service offerings are enriched, supporters say.
  • Statewide Reach. The combined capacity of the consortium members and SC SBDC Area Centers extends throughout all 46 of the state's counties. The unified effort ensures that even the most rural communities can access essential services and resources, supporters say.

"Although our state's small businesses have been greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic," said SC SBDC State Director Michele Abraham, "we are very pleased to be collaborating with our host universities so that we can effectively assist these companies with recovering and rebuilding. As we have done for 41 years, the SC SBDC is adapting and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the small business community and working to catalyze a gradual recovery of the state's economy one small business at a time."

SC SBDC officials encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to go to the organization's website (www.scsbdc.com) to access resources and information to help them keep their businesses afloat. 

The SC SBDC says its network of disaster recovery consultants is available via phone, email and online to assist small business owners with preparing and submitting loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
 
"As during any disaster, we are here to help businesses endure and recover," said Abraham. "Our team can assist small business owners with developing recovery plans and with other measures to safeguard their employees and customers, and ensure the continued operation of their business."

Twenty-one South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) located throughout the state’s 46 counties offer no-fee individual, confidential business consulting.

Services including business plan development, fiscal and operations management, human resources, financing options and marketing strategies. 

To find a center and make an appointment, go to SCSBDC.com.
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