The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping small businesses. Whether it’s working to welcome and market your business, connecting you to state and national resources or promoting your business through our Shop Local campaign, the Florence Chamber gives small businesses unparalleled opportunities to grow. You can read more about several different resources below and simply click on the pictures next to each description to visit the associated website.

Resources and Links:

Click on the image next to each description below to visit the associated website.

The U.S. Small Business Administration

color-sba-jpgThe U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

South Carolina Small Business Development Centers

For more than thirty years, entrepreneurs have turned to South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) for help expanding an existing business or starting a new enterprise. Through free consulting, low-cost seminars and links to resources, the SC SBDC helps jumpstart start-ups and makes existing businesses thrive. SC SBDC consultants work with companies in all stages of development – from a person with an innovative product but no idea how to move forward to the owner of a company looking to capture new markets.

A statewide organization, the SC SBDC has 21 area centers in communities across South Carolina, serving both urban and rural business needs. The SC SBDC helps more than 6,000 clients each year. Since 2006, the SC SBDC has assisted the startup of more than 500 new ventures and helped generate more than $383 million in capital formation. In the past five years, SC SBDC consultants have assisted in bringing more than $1 billion in government contracts to small companies in South Carolina.

Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification

smbcclogoThe mission of the S.C. Division of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification is to promote the interest of small and minority-owned businesses as a part of the free enterprise system; thereby, enhancing economic growth and development in South Carolina.

SMBCC certifies that a South Carolina business is owned, controlled, and operated by a socially and economically disadvantaged minority who is a United States citizen. There are no loans, grants or guaranteed award of contracts associated with obtaining certification. Businesses are encouraged to participate in any agency’s bid process. Agency solicitations are advertised in the SC Business Opportunities (SCBO) publication issued by the Materials Management Office.

SCORE Mentorship Program

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce works in partnership with Grand Strand SCORE organization to support the Pee Dee Branch for the SCORE mentorship program. The partnership is meant to develop additional resources for small businesses in our Pee Dee communities through mentoring and education programs.

SCORE is a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration dedicated to the formation and growth of small businesses in the United States. It provides free business advice and mentoring, offering low or no-cost business training and sharing free business templates and resources. Whether you’re just starting out, in business, or ready to sell, you can get FREE, confidential business advice from expert advisors committed to helping you succeed. Mentors are available to participate in remote mentoring sessions via phone, email, & video. If you have any questions, please call the Florence Chamber at 843-665-0515. Or click this link to go directly to the SCORE Pee Dee Branch page

Francis Marion University’s Kelley Center for Economic Development

Francis Marion University’s Kelley Center for Economic Development has been dedicated to the economic growth of the Pee Dee Region through small business support, incubation, and various regional economic development initiatives since 2016. The Kelly center’s goal is to provide small business support initiatives and services to cultivate business growth that makes a lasting impact on economic development. The FMU Business Incubation Program offers businesses a place to cultivate growth within a collective community of support and resources. Incubation provides a one-year support system that accelerates the successful development and/or growth of start-ups and existing companies. At any given time, the Kelley Center’s Incubation Program has up to 10 total businesses within the program and works with more than 200 external clients each year. In the 5 years the Kelley Center has been operating, 15 companies successfully complete the Program and went on to create 12 new jobs in the region.

SiMT (Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology)

SiMT (Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology)

The SiMT, a division of Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), provides area and future industries with access to emerging technologies while advancing the region’s ability to provide a highly skilled workforce. The facility boasts a 800-seat auditorium, a configurable conference center that accommodates up to 1,200, and various meeting spaces and classrooms. The Additive Manufacturing Center (aka 3D printing) features metal and multiple plastic and thermoplastic printing capabilities. The Social Media Listening Center provides consulting and social media monitoring services to businesses of every size. The Corporate & Workforce Division offers open-enrollment, on-site, and customized training.

The SiMT’s Gould Business Incubator provides small businesses and startups with access to the SiMT and additional resources, in a clean, modern and reasonably priced facility. The 22,000 square foot facility offers multiple, flexible spaces: eleven co-working offices, eight two-person offices, and an office suite. Eighteen large rooms range from 545 to 990 square feet, and three have roll-up shipping doors. All spaces are linked to allow for expansion. Amenities include access to two AV-equipped conference rooms, and common break area, WIFI, phones, and 24/7 security.