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Columbia Business Monthly

2021 Small Business Guide

Small businesses truly are the heart and soul of our local economies, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt has said.

He notes that in the Palmetto State, they account for more than 99 percent of all private companies.

Chambers of commerce play an important role as a resource and tool to help those companies succeed.

This month, we offer reminders that the Greenville Chamber is committed to serving the Upstate’s businesses and entrepreneurs and, as the business community recovers and rebuilds, it is positioned to help.

Read what Greenville Chamber CEO Carlos Phillips says of those efforts. And Jason Zacher, the Chamber’s SVP of business advocacy, talks about recent key legislative victories for small businesses.

We’re also offering a small business resource guide on where you can turn to grow your business.

Letter from the CEO

Our local small business community has long been heralded the signature ingredient in the recipe to building the vibrant Greenville region we love today. Small businesses not only have a huge impact on our economy, but directly affect the quality of life that makes Greenville one of the fastest growing communities in the nation. Small businesses have never been so critical to our collective success as they are today.

For more than 130 years, the Greenville Chamber has been committed to serving the Upstate’s businesses and entrepreneurs. As our business community recovers and rebuilds, we are uniquely positioned to provide the resources and connections needed during this challenging time.

In the past year, our team has worked tirelessly to support our business community as they weather the storm. Whether working hand-in-hand with our business leaders, or behind-the-scenes to shape the conditions needed for success, the Chamber team is dedicated to helping you achieve your business goals.

As the world around us changed in 2020, so did our value-delivery model. However, our commitment to helping businesses succeed and people prosper will never waver and in the past year we doubled down on those efforts that have the greatest impact on our small businesses.

We support small businesses on their journey to success through a myriad of ways, including the following:

  • Advocating for the needs of our business community at a local, state and federal level
  • Developing robust programming, training and leadership development opportunities
  • Providing targeted support to our high-impact and diverse entrepreneurs
  • Delivering exclusive bottom line savings opportunities on services businesses need most
  • Sharing critical resources and trusted information
  • Connecting our community - even in a time when “quarantine” was the word of the day

We remain dedicated to helping businesses recover from the hardships of the past year. We hope readers will use this Small Business Resource Guide as a helpful tool. If you are not already engaged with the Greenville Chamber, or would like to learn how to engage at a deeper level, please let us know if we can help you meet your business goals.

If you’re in business, you have a partner in us.

Carlos Phillips


How the 2021 Legislative Session Impacts Small Business

By Jason Zacher

SVP, Business Advocacy, Greenville Chamber

The General Assembly wrapped up the 2021 Legislative Session on May 13, the the Greenville Chamber scored a number of key victories for small businesses that should be on your radar screen. We’ll outline two of them here.

The Chamber’s top priority for small businesses this year was S. 147, the Covid Liability bill. This legislation provides temporary, targeted, and common-sense liability protections for businesses in responding to Covid-19. The General Assembly understood that providing businesses with reasonable protections from the risk and expense of lawsuits related to actual, alleged, or feared contraction of the Coronavirus would help in our state’s economic recovery.

A coalition of business groups were successful in extending a safe harbor for businesses provided the business is operating “consistently with applicable public health guidance.” Businesses are protected unless they engage in “reckless or intentional conduct” that must be proven with “clear and convincing” evidence for most businesses.

With mask guidance and other advice changing in early May because of the prevalence of vaccines, we encourage businesses to review the DHEC and CDC guidance on their respective websites, instead of following media reports. Recent public interviews have not always reflected published guidance. We recommend you speak with an attorney to ensure you remain covered until the pandemic is declared over.

One major tax change was the passage of S. 627 that allows S-corporations, partnerships and LLCs to deduct state income taxes from their federal tax returns. This legislation is a meaningful win for small business owners.

Many business owners remember that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposed a $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes South Carolina taxpayers may deduct on their federal returns. This cap hurt small employers organized as pass-through entities that pay federal taxes on business profits on their personal tax returns. That change put many Main Street employers at a major disadvantage compared to C-corporations who were still able to deduct full state and local tax payments.

Last November, the IRS announced that state taxes on business income imposed at the entity level on pass-through entities are permitted as a deduction. Several states quickly passed laws to bring their state laws into alignment. Now that Gov. McMaster has signed S. 627 into law it: provides these businesses the option to pay their state and local taxes at the entity level; includes an income exemption, so that owners of businesses making the election are not subject to double taxation; eliminates burdensome withholding requirements for non-resident shareholders and LLC members, and provides South Carolina business owners with a credit for business taxes paid to other states that have adopted similar SALT Parity reforms.

Pass-through businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy and many have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. This legislation will help our smallest businesses reduce their federal tax burden and keep revenue in our state.  

You can find out more about these bills and the other business community victories in our legislative report at

Small Business Resource List

BBB of Upstate SC


Charleston Digital Corridor


Charleston SCORE


City of Greenville




CommunityWorks Women’s Business Center


Grand Strand SCORE


Greenville County


Greenville Area Small Business Development Center


Midlands SCORE




Piedmont SCORE


S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce


SC District Office U.S. Small Business Administration


S.C. Division of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification


S.C. Small Business Development Center