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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Small and Minority Business Division

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The mission of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs Small and Minority Business Division is to identify key issues and services that are necessary for the development of minority, small businesses, as well as the best measures for sustainability, programmatic implementation, enhancement, and economic growth. 

Current Priorities:

  1. To deliver high quality professional development and training to business firms, with the focus being on enhancing growth and increasing economic prosperity.

  2. To effectively communicate with all stakeholders through intentional marketing and media coordination for increased visibility and awareness.

  3. To design strategic management systems and processes that improve information sharing with collaborative partners and governmental agencies.

  4. To actively seek out and secure available funding opportunities available to small and minority businesses.

  5. Raise and increase awareness regarding the benefits of partnering with the Commission for Minority Affairs through continuous governmental, community and civic engagement. 

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Access to Capital Through CDFIs

Are you looking for a way to start, grow or expand your business and need access to capital? Community Development Financial Institutions may be able to help! The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) plays an important role in providing access to capital and financing for small businesses. Click here to view a list of approved lenders statewide.

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SC Community Loan Fund Launches Entrepreneur Acceleration Program

The South Carolina Community Loan Fund has announced the implementation of the Local Entrepreneur Acceleration Program (LEAP). LEAP aims to support diversity in small business ownership across South Carolina by providing minority and women entrepreneurs with business plan development support, technical skills, and the chance to compete for a startup capital award. 

Important dates for this program are as follows: 

  • Cycle 1
    • Application Period: January 3 - February 4, 2022 
    • Decision Notification: late February 2022 
    • Classes: March 8 - May 10, 2022 
    • Pitch Nights: May 31 - June 2, 2022
  • Cycle 2
    • Application Period: April 25 - May 27, 2022
    • Decision Notification: mid May 2022
    • Classes: June 28 - August 30, 2022
    • Pitch Nights: September 20 - 22, 2022

For more information, go to:

USDA's Rural Business Development Grant Program Open Through February 28, 2022

The United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program through Friday, February 28, 2022 (4:30 p.m.). The program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. These funds can be used to fund business opportunities and business enterprise projects that serve rural areas (i.e., populations of 50,000 or below).  

The following rural public entities including, but not limited to, are encouraged to apply:

  • Towns
  • Communities
  • State agencies
  • Authorities
  • Nonprofit corporations
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Federally-recognized tribes
  • Rural cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation)

For more information, visit :

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Apprenticeship Carolina and the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs partner to increase the number of minority-owned businesses participating in apprenticeship

Apprenticeship Carolina™ and the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday, November 8, 2021 designed to increase the number of South Carolina's minority-owned businesses participating in apprenticeship programs across the state.

"The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs is excited to be partnering with Apprenticeship Carolina on this initiative," said Dr. Delores Dacosta, executive director of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. "We strive to provide innovative and constructive solutions in support of ethnic minority communities.  This agreement will help connect minority-owned businesses with the many opportunities available through Apprenticeship Carolina as well as direct them to grants and other funding opportunities to help offset training costs."

An apprenticeship is a time-tested method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education along with a scalable wage. Registered apprenticeship programs ensure that South Carolina's workforce has the skills needed to match today's in-demand jobs and jobs of the future.  Apprenticeships also provide a promising career pathway for participating apprentices who gain experience and the skills needed for the well-paying jobs that grow the state's economy.

"Apprenticeship Carolina has worked diligently for more than a decade to expand the use of registered apprenticeship in the state. We are thrilled to partner with the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs to drive further growth and diversity of programs across South Carolina,” said Dr. Amy Firestone, vice president for Apprenticeship Carolina. "We know that a registered apprenticeship program is an effective and proven workforce development tool. It's an opportunity to develop talent, enhance quality and build relationships that can benefit both the apprentice and the organization for years to come."

Since its inception in 2007, Apprenticeship Carolina has played a crucial role in growing apprenticeship participation across the state. As a result, the number of participating organizations has increased from 90 to more than 1,150 currently, and the number of apprentices has grown from 777 to nearly 37,000 total apprentices.

For more information on Apprenticeship Carolina, visit

The Bridge

The S.C. Commission for Minority Affairs (CMA) is collaborating with the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers, South Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), lenders and other partners to improve upon the economic impact of African American businesses and entrepreneurs. 

​This partnership focuses on expanding and enhancing services to (1) increase business growth and success; and (2) create economic growth and prosperity in African American communities.

​This new program created by the SC SBDC called “The BRIDGE,” stands for “Better Resources for Inclusion, Dialogue, Growth & Equity.” The overarching objectives of The BRIDGE are to: 

  • Expand outreach and awareness of small business services in underserved African American communities throughout the state of South Carolina;
  • Enhance and tailor business assistance to meet the needs of African American entrepreneurs; and
  • Engage African Americans in the challenge to pursue goals that advance both their own businesses AND local communities.

For more information, visit

B2B Supplier Conference flyer

South Carolina Automotive B2B Supplier Matchmaker Conference

Pre-registration is open for the 2022 SC Automotive B2B Supplier Matchmaker in Greenville, according to the SC Automotive Council and the SC Department of Commerce. The conference is an opportunity for automotive OEM and Tier I companies to connect with suppliers statewide. For more information, visit FLYER