2017 Annual Report
The South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) advances the stateâ€™s economic development by providing entrepreneurs world-class consulting services, access to a wellspring of resources and affordable training programs. At the tactical level, the SC SBDC operates as a cohesive network, offering clients at every stage of the business lifecycle (from pre-venture and early stage to established and mature) confidential access to the combined wisdom of nearly 50 professionals located in 21 centers throughout the stateâ€™s 46 counties. This collaborative approach establishes the SC SBDC as the preeminent provider of pro bono consulting services including business and strategic plan development, cash flow management, access to capital, loan packaging, diversification strategies, marketing/promotion and succession planning, to name a few. Underpinning these core competencies, the SC SBDC operates specialty programs fostering exporting, technology commercialization, government contracting and manufacturing.
South Carolina Small Business Development Centers by region Gr
Clemson Greenville Spartanburg Greenwood
Florence Myrtle Beach Rock Hill Georgetown* Cheraw* Union*
Georgetown Orangeburg Barnwell
SC State Region Orangeburg Walterboro*
Center includes a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) *Part-time Satellite Center
Aiken Beaufort Charleston North Charleston Columbia Hilton Head Newberry Sumter Lexington*
Thank you to our host universities.
The Citadel Coastal Carolina University Florence-Darlington Technical College
Lander University Newberry College Spartanburg Community College
From Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce, SC DOC
From Michele Abraham, State Director, SC SBDC
From Dr. Barbara Adams, SC SBDC Consortium Chair
SC SBDC News and Awards
Seminars and Sponsors
In appreciation of Frank L. Roddey for his leadership and support in the creation of the SC Small Business Development Centers
Visit us! SCSBDC.com
Secretary of Commerce, SC Department of Commerce
Dear South Carolina Small Business Development Centers, Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” In South Carolina, we’re successful because of our ability to work hand-in-hand, across the state to support businesses of all shapes and sizes. Recognizing that, I am pleased to once again commend the contributions of the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) to our economic growth. Since 1979, this organization has been assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs in all 46 counties of our state. An increasingly vital partner, the SC SBDC acts as our boots on the ground, connecting businesses to important resources and conducting private business consulting and coaching. The SC SBDC has been working closely with SC Commerce since 2012 to identify the particular needs of small businesses in specific rural areas in order to increase and improve the amount of consulting and training provided. In the last five years alone, the SC SBDC team has assisted 4,644 entrepreneurs in these rural counties, helping them start 85 new businesses, create 665 jobs and obtain close to $18 million in financing. The SC SBDC also added a technology commercialization program three years ago, which assists entrepreneurs as they develop new products, build their business cases and sell their products in the marketplace. Since 2016, the SC SBDC helped South Carolina innovators obtain more than $7.6 million in SBIR/STTR grants, other government research and development contracts. This service is paramount to our ability to promote the growth of South Carolina’s knowledge community. SC Commerce is fortunate to have a proven partner in the SC SBDC. Statewide, in 2017, they assisted 5,834 small businesses and entrepreneurs — allowing them to create and retain 1,174 jobs, obtain $52.9 million in capital, start 136 new companies and win $4.5 billion in government contracts. We look forward to further expanding our partnership with the SC SBDC. Working as a team, we will continue to ensure that the Palmetto State remains ‘Just right’ for all businesses that choose to call South Carolina home. Sincerely,
Robert M. Hitt III Secretary of Commerce SC Department of Commerce
This 2017 annual report offers a snapshot of our key initiatives, affirms that the entrepreneurial spirit is thriving throughout the state and showcases eight successful South Carolina businesses that have grown and prospered with SC SBDC assistance. As noted in messages from Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt and SC SBDC Consortium Chair Dr. Barbara Adams, the SC SBDC made a significant economic impact statewide in 2017 by providing clients a robust portfolio of private consulting, educational programs and access to valuable resources. Our network helped entrepreneurs capture over $52 million in capital, the largest amount we have achieved since the recession. We also were awarded the highest level of national re-accreditation based on the strenuous Malcolm Baldrige quality standards â€” an accomplishment that affirms the SC SBDC is an efficient, world-class organization continuously seeking improvement. At the same time, the rapidly evolving marketplace is presenting new opportunities and challenges. While numerous incubators and service providers, including the SC SBDC, assist entrepreneurs with launching companies, it is equally important not to overlook businesses that have moved beyond the initial startup stage. For this reason, the SC SBDC has dedicated attention and resources aimed specifically at helping established businesses scale their operations, gain traction in new markets and attract more clients. This focus spans both rural and urban communities, all industry segments, young entrepreneurs, veterans, minorities and more. We also are developing new programs to help small-to mid-sized businesses address the burgeoning cyber-security threats.
From the deep water ports of Charleston to the rolling hills of Greenville and all points in between, small businesses are transforming South Carolina. Whether reviving Main Street in rural communities or fortifying new industry clusters in urban areas, enterprising entrepreneurs are integral to sustaining a robust economy, reducing unemployment and enriching the lives of South Carolinians.
State Director, SC Small Business Development Centers
Dear Fellow South Carolinians,
Entrepreneurship is about following your dreams and fulfilling your passion. This holds true for our consultants as well. The SC SBDCâ€™s staff of nearly 50 professionals not only shares the ardor and tenacity of our clients, but they also are the key ingredient that makes our organization distinct. With creativity, vision, enthusiasm and time-tested business insights, our consultants help transform small-to mid-sized enterprises into hallmarks of success, thereby contributing to an ever more robust South Carolina economy. Thanks to the SC SBDC team for their dedication and commitment to excellence, and congratulations to our awesome clients on their successes. Sincerely,
Michele Abraham State Director SC SBDC
SC SBDC Consortium Chair
Dear Clients, Friends and Stakeholders, First, let me say I am honored to have been selected in 2017 to serve as the SC SBDC Consortium Chair. The Consortiumâ€™s role is to provide oversight for the SC SBDC network, which assists small business startup ventures and the continued growth of established small businesses across the state of South Carolina. My goal is to continue in the tradition of Dean Roger Weikle, the outgoing Chair, who did an excellent job in providing leadership for the consortium. I have been associated with the SC SBDC network at various times over the past 15 years and thus know the importance and value of the service provided in the communities across the state. Congratulations to Michele and the entire SC SBDC network on maintaining ASBDC accreditation, without conditions. The accreditation visit took place in November 2017 with a final report issued in February. Accreditation is important for the SC SBDC network to continue SBA funding; and it is confirmation that the network provides quality services that result in measureable economic development throughout the state. I commend all of the centers for their commitment and dedication to their clients in providing expertise and support in whatever areas are needed. In addition to assisting and supporting the business community, the SBDCs add value to the four universities in the consortium. Students have the opportunity to engage in consulting services with the SBDC staff and participate in internships provided by clients in the community. This also allows them to apply what they are learning and strengthen their competitiveness in the job market after graduation. Faculty have the opportunity to collaborate on projects that impact the community. Thus, the SBDC centers play a major role in helping to fulfill the outreach mission of the universities. As we move forward, the SC SBDC network will continue to be a valuable resource for enhancing the economic development of the state. Sincerely,
Barbara L. Adams, Ph.D., CPA Interim Dean Professor of Accounting SC State University
Advisory Board Jason Premo, Chair, President & CEO, Premo Ventures Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes, Vice-Chair, Owner, Thee Matriarch Bed and Breakfast Steve Bailey, CEO & Chairman, Merus Refreshment Service Cynthia Blair, Blair Cato Pickren Casterline, LLC Gary Breit CLP, Director, Technology Business Development, City of Charleston R. Cal Bruner Jr., Realtor, Century 21 The Moore Group JoLee Gudmundson, President & Owner, Gudmundson Consulting Alonzo Johnson, President & CEO, Agape Health Services Frank Knapp, President & CEO, SC Small Business Chamber Neil Rashley, Senior Vice President and Counsel, SC Bankers Association Ray Reich, Downtown Development Manager, City of Florence Jim Rohrer, Senior Credit Team Lead, TD Bank Ashely Teasdel, Director of Business Services Division, SC Department of Commerce John Walter, President & CEO, Clemson Cleaning Rob Youngblood, President, York County Regional Chamber of Commerce Honorary member, Gregg White, District Director, Small Business Administration
SBIR & STTR Growth Accelerator Programs: “America’s Seed Fund” Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide the small business community financial capital and R&D funds to develop commercially viable innovations. The SBIR/STTR Programs have four objectives: 1) Strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal R&D needs 2) Increasing private-sector commercialization of innovation derived from federal R&D funding 3) Stimulating technological innovation in science and technology 4) Fostering participation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons in innovation and entrepreneurship Applying for Awards is a Gated, 3-Phase Process: Phase I Concept Development 6 Months >$150,000
Phase II Prototype Development 24 Months >$1,000,000
Phase III Commercialization No SBIR Funding**
**Phase III is the ultimate goal of the SBIR program in which small businesses are expected to obtain funding from the private sector or government sources outside the SBIR program to bring their product to market. Led by SC SBDC Technology Commercialization Business Consultants Jim Wasson in Charleston and Allen Jones in the Upstate, the SC SBDC launched its Technology Commercialization program in January 2015. As entrepreneurs themselves, both Wasson and Jones have introduced their own innovative products to the marketplace. The consultants leverage this expertise to demystify SBIR/STTR programs for clients and host workshops throughout the state teaching attendees how to apply for and win these and other federal R&D awards. In 2017, the SC SBDC has helped seven clients apply for and win Phase I, II and III awards and contracts totaling $7,582,000. Their innovative products range from filtration systems and bio-resistant boat paint to a variety of medical applications including dental adhesives, prothesis and medical simulators for infectious diseases.
The SC SBDC Earns National Accreditation In 2017, the SC SBDC underwent a national re-accreditation review; and in Feb. 2018, the ASBDC Accreditation Committee announced its award of full accreditation to the SC SBDC without conditions—the highest rating possible. The network further distinguished itself by receiving three performance excellence commendations and recognition of four innovative best practices. Commendations: • Leveraging local and statewide advisory boards that advocate for SC SBDC and assist the SBDC in nurturing its relationship with legislative contacts. • The removal of silos was widely recognized as a leading factor in both employee satisfaction and network effectiveness. Additionally, the emphasis on co-consulting as well as improved communications between the regions and lead office foster a more cohesive, high-performing network. • The Senior leadership team is commended for creating an open, collaborative, and mutually supportive environment. Best Practices: • The success story template deployed by the Lead Center has allowed for more frequent and higher quality success stories, and a more efficient use of consultant time. • The verification and attribution process of client data greatly helps to ensure the quality and integrity of the network’s impact data. • The Graduate Assistant training manual is viewed as a great tool for onboarding and managing graduate student interns. • The use of webinars to share information learned at conferences to those that could not attend, or that attended other sessions. America’s SBDC Accreditation is a continuous improvement assessment process conducted by trained accreditors who utilize a set of quality standards founded on the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The standards are used to assess and identify opportunities to improve program performance based on critical factors proven to drive organizational success. The accreditation standards examine six key organizational areas: Leadership, Strategic Planning, Customer and Stakeholder Focus, Workforce Focus, Performance Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management, and Operations. America’s SBDC Accreditation is mandated by the Small Business Act. To secure funding, each state SBDC program is required to achieve successful accreditation every five years.
In 2017 the SC SBDC helped 5,834 clients:
**Primarily generated through PTAC program
The SC SBDC Releases Results of “America’s Voice on Small Business Study” The SC SBDC released results of a national survey that reveals the entrepreneurial mindsets of three generations. Jointly sponsored by America’s SBDC and the Center for Generational Kinetics, the study looked at Millennials (born 1977-1995), Generation Xers (born 1965-1976) and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) to better understand how different generations view entrepreneurship. The study cites that 41 percent of Americans would quit their job and start a business in the next six months if they had the right tools and resources. This number is higher for Millennials, with more than half of those surveyed stating that under the right circumstances (i.e., with proper guidance and easy access to resources), they would be willing to take the entrepreneurial leap in the next six months. “It is clear that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well,” said South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) State Director Michele Abraham. “This presents the SC SBDC a wonderful opportunity not only to help bolster the state’s economy, but also to provide South Carolinians, regardless of generation, the tools and services they need to build their dream business.” Additional highlights of the study include: • One third of Americans (34 percent) have worked or are currently working for a small business • Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of both Millennials and Generation Xers own or have owned a small business • Fifty-nine percent of Millennials say that with the right resources they would start a business within a year • All generations cite not having access to capital as the biggest barrier to starting a business Like the rest of the nation, South Carolina’s economic health is tied directly to the wellbeing of its small businesses. In fact, there are nearly 400,000 small businesses currently operating in South Carolina employing more than 740,000 of the state’s residents**. Millennials comprise 27 percent of the state’s workforce, outnumbering Baby Boomers by a very narrow 2.5 percent margin and Generation Xers by a margin of five percent. For the complete study results visit: www.AmericasSBDC.org/SBDCGenStudy **Data is based on The Small Business Profile produced by the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Small businesses are defined as independently owned and operated companies with fewer than 500 employees.
SC SBDC Consultants Offer Help and Hope to Victims of V.C. Summer Shutdown
When SCE&G abandoned its $14 billion project to build two new nuclear reactors at its V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, Spartanburg Area Small Business Development Center Manager Beth Smith heeded this as her call-to-action. Smith wasted no time in joining forces with SC Works Greater Upstate and SC Works Midlands to host a trade skills career fair at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Chapin on August 22nd for the 5,600 employees affected by the V.C. Summer construction shutdown. Prior to the event, Newberry Area SBDC Consultant Nancy Williamson hosted a “career readiness” workshop devoted to helping job seekers make a positive impression on the more than 77 participating employers. Nancy also provided valuable assistance to Beth and organized volunteers to ensure the job fair ran smoothly. Columbia Area SBDC Consultant Earl Gregorich also lent a hand by hosting a workshop devoted to helping small business owners assess their financial, operational and mental preparedness for the likely economic challenges arising during the recovery period. Approximately 900 former V.C. Summer employees attended the job fair. Photo: Beth Smith with State Representatives Chip Huggins (left) and Nathan Ballentine (right)
Myrtle Beach Area SBDC Recognized by the SBA at State and Regional Levels The Small Business Administration (SBA) named the Myrtle Beach Area Small Business Development Center both the 2017 South Carolina and Southeast Regional Center of Excellence and Innovation. The SBA Southeast Region IV includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Presented during ceremonies honoring National Small Business Week held May 3rd, this award honors an SBDC service center for excellence in providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management through innovation. Among other achievements, the Myrtle Beach Area SBDC was recognized for partnering with Coastal Carolina students and faculty, including employing a Latino student to develop tools and conduct outreach to the Hispanic community. The event was hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration-South Carolina District Office, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Department of Commerce, the SC SBDC and South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership. “We are proud to be a vital resource for local small businesses and are humbled to have been recognized at both the state and regional level for the success we’ve helped our clients to achieve,” said Janet Graham, Myrtle Beach area manager since 2004. “It’s a testament to the efforts of our team and the passion they show for their work that has allowed the center to earn this award.” Photo: Tara Lightfoot - Administrative Assistant, Janet Graham - Area Manager, and Bernita Platt - Business Consultant
The SC SBDC Names 2017 State Star Darrell Jones as New USC Region Director Charleston native and 2017 South Carolina State Star Darrell Jones is the new director of the University of South Carolina (USC) Region which covers 13 counties. Jones replaces Martin Goodman who stepped down from the post after a successful 11 year run. Fortunately for our clients, Martin continues to provide outstanding service as a business consultant at the Beaufort Area SBDC. Michele Abraham has the utmost confidence in Darrell’s ability to lead and inspire his team. “Darrell goes above and beyond in everything he pursues. As his State Star Award indicates, he consistently operates at the highest echelons; I call it ‘productivity on steroids.’” Jones, who joined the Charleston Area SBDC in 2014 and began managing the center in 2016, will now be wearing two hats: he will continue to manage the Charleston Area SBDC while simultaneously overseeing the eight area centers comprising the USC region. Jones says he has the following three priorities: (1) providing clients the high-quality tools and resources they need to succeed, (2) increasing the SC SBDC’s footprint by promoting the no-cost, confidential services provided by knowledgeable consultants, and (3) maintaining an ongoing dialog with stakeholders to ensure they value the SC SBDC for its positive impact on the state’s economy. In addition to his endeavors to bolster the Charleston business community, Darrell leads numerous workshops, is active in civic organizations and has been a guest speaker on several occasions at Charleston Southern University. Despite these demands on his time, Jones’s priority is providing individualized attention to his list of clients—which happens to be one of the largest in the state.
Tim Waters had a mission: to build a grocery store in North Florence where he was raised. He said there are plenty of convenience stores where local residents can buy tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets. But not one of the 15 stores stocks fruit, produce or fresh meat. From the onset, Tim’s journey was fraught with obstacles. “I started working on this project in 1997. Nearly 20 years later the only thing I had to show for my Industry: Retail Grocery efforts were loan rejections from 28 banks.” Challenge: Client had been turned down for loans on 28 prior occasions. He contacted the SC SBDC for assistance making himself more credible in the eyes of lenders. Approach: Conducted research, revised the client’s business plan and pro forma accordingly. Encouraged client to apply for government and specialized grants. Results: • New Business Started • Jobs Created: 22 full-time • Capital Formation: $1.2 Million • Total Sales: $2.2 Million • Sales Increase from 2016: $850,000
Dismayed by the glacial pace of his progress, Waters contacted the Florence Area SBDC where he met with business consultant Eddie Watson. “I made a promise to do everything within my power to help Tim obtain the financial backing he required to open his grocery store,” said Watson. “Eddie’s market research ensured that my financial projects were detailed, authentic and convincing,” said Waters. “At long last my appeals for funding were taken seriously---and I was taken seriously.”
In October 2017, good news finally began to trickle in: the SC Community Loan Fund approved a $500,000 commercial loan. The Feeding Innovation initiative awarded Waters his first government-sponsored grant for $12,500. From there the Services Provided: trickle of money became a torrent. The Save-A-Lot corporate awarded Waters an incentive grant for $275,000; the Palmetto Housing Board > Accessing Capital $1 million; the City of Florence awarded Waters three separate grants: $975,000 to purchase the land on which his store will sit, $700,000 to build > Loan Application Preparation a public parking lot and a $300,000 TIF loan to purchase equipment. In > Business Plan Development total, Waters received nearly $4.1 million in 2017 to support his dream. > Financial Projections Waters has some advice for others interested in starting a business: Do not > Cash Flow Projections quit. Failure is often the first, necessary step to success.
Save-A-Lot Grocery Store
Warning: Reading the following story may inspire you to never again accept ‘no’ for an answer.
Florence Area SBDC Client
Sometimes it Takes More than 18 Years to be an Overnight Success
“Harriet Beecher Stowe says it much better than I can: ‘the power to hold on in spite of everything, to endure— this is the quality of a winner. To endure is greater than to dare. The difference between the impossible and possible lies simply in a person’s determination.’” “Eddie was as committed to the project as I was. He was constantly looking for ways to assist me.” Tim Waters Owner, Save-a-Lot Grocery Store
Waters broke ground in November 2017. His goal is to hold the ribbon cutting ceremony in March 2018. “I plan to invite all the people who helped me along the way. That’s a lot of invites.” In addition to being a beacon in a blighted neighborhood, Waters said his Save-a-Lot store created 22 jobs.
walkerind.com/emulsions/orangebug-sc Orangburg Area SBDC Client
Walker Emulsions Wins USDA Grant with Help from the SC SBDC “The devil is in the details.” That’s what Scott White, the facility manager for Walker Emulsions [USA Inc.], would tell you about his first encounter preparing a federal government loan application. The events leading up to White’s epiphany date back to 2014; the Industry: Manufacturing year Walker Emulsions established a site in Orangeburg. The company is unique in that it Challenge: Addressing the extensive technical and not only takes pride in manufacturing superior supporting data requirements inherent in applying for a asphalt and industrial emulsions; it is equally USDA-sponsored Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) proud to be an environmental steward. grant. Approach: Create a detailed project plan that converts a In fact, to enhance the efficiency of its 53,000 formidable undertaking into three manageable phases; sq. ft. facility, the company installed 261 LED each phase comprises a list of action items, the individual light fixtures and added automated timing responsible and a deadline for each deliverable. and dimming features to the existing system. Whereas the original impetus driving this Results: initiative was to conserve resources, Jim • USDA Grant Awards: $17,579 Johnson, director of the South Carolina State • Financing Obtained: $70,319 University region for the South Carolina Small • Jobs Retained: 7 full-time Business Development Centers (SC SBDC), identified a benefit unforeseen by the Walker Emulsions leadership team. Having attended a presentation by the USDA’s State Director for Rural Development, Johnson was well-informed about the agency’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). So when Jim learned that Walker Emulsions was self-funding initiatives to create a more eco-friendly work environment, Jim informed the company that it qualified for a USDA-sponsored REAP Services Provided: grant. > Project Management Jim’s revelation of this fortuitous funding opportunity galvanized Scott > Loan Application Preparation White, who was eager to apply for the grant; that is, until he perused the terms and requirements governing the process. “I was overwhelmed by > Financial Assessment what appeared to be an insurmountable mountain of paperwork. (By way > Access to Resources of comparison, I’m talking Mt. Everest, not the Appalachians),” White said. > Data Analysis and Interpretation Recognizing his own limitations, Scott contacted the Orangeburg Area SBDC. “During the intake interview,” said Jim “it was obvious that Scott was weighing the merits of receiving the loan versus the hassle of preparing the application.” Continuing the mountain metaphor, Jim essentially served as Scott’s Sherpa. “My goal was to help Scott scale the paperwork mountain, “Jim is the reason Walker Emulsions compile the received its funding. Throughout the required ordeal, while I was sweating bullets documentation and on the brink of throwing in the and prepare towel, Jim remained laser-focused and an application unflappable. He proved to be a firstthat was both rate Sherpa.” compelling and Scott White compliant,” Facility Manager, Walker Emulsions Johnson said.
“In Thai, the word ‘bodhi’ means ‘enlightenment’ or ‘wisdom,’” said Tipvaree. “I worked with Jim for over a year. Watching him calmly resolve all my headaches was like seeing ‘bodhi’ in action. Thanks to Jim, I was able to open the restaurant in October, which, unbelievably, was right on schedule.” Johnson says that Tipvaree gives him too much credit. “I received excellent support from Daquan Lyde, a SC State student who volunteered to help me produce professional-grade photographs of the food and create a video chronicling chef Tipvaree’s entrepreneurial journey. This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the SC SBDC collaborates with a host university,” he said.
> Digital Marketing > Loan Application Preparation > Operations > Business Plan Development > Commercial Photography
As the establishment’s executive chef and owner, Nivit Tipvaree wears many hats: his managerial cap when overseeing front-of-house operations and his toque when creating culinary magic. A native of Nakhon Sawan, Thailand, Tipvaree studied Hotel/Restaurant Management at the University of South Carolina and honed his culinary skills at The Art Institute of Charlotte. Industry: Restaurant While in the process of launching Bodhi, Challenge: Compiling the detailed information for a loan Tipvaree learned that a career in the food application and assistance with finding a lender. service industry is not for the faint of heart. In Approach: Modified client’s financial projections, helped addition to corralling a renegade contractor and the resulting scheduling delays, Tipvaree them develop a business plan and matched the client was struggling with his loan application. With with appropriate lenders. his dream in jeopardy, Chef Nivit visited the Results: Orangeburg Area SBDC where he met South • New Business Started Carolina State Region Director Jim Johnson. • Capital Formation: $120,000 “As a former restaurateur myself, I have • Jobs Created: 2 full-time and 8 part-time first-hand experience contending with the frustrations that were plaguing Nivit,” said Johnson. “Our first order of business was to secure the capital he needed to cover conventional start-up costs, operating expenses and the contractor’s cost-overruns.”
Bodhi Thai Dining
Exotic. Elegant. Excellent. These three words capture the essence of Bodhi Thai Dining, a world-class restaurant located in Lexington specializing in “modern Thai” cuisine.
Orangeburg Area SBDC Client
Food as a Fine Art
Now that Tipvaree’s restaurant is successfully up-and-running, Jim said he will continue to support the client by developing a social media strategy and tactical plan. “Bodhi Thai Dining is a boon to Lexington County. We need to spread the word that this is the place for authentic Thai cuisine with a modern flare.” As for chef Nivit, he says that food isn’t just something he cooks. “For me, it’s an opportunity to follow my passion, express my ingenuity and create a work of art painted with taste, texture and presentation.”
“I worked with Jim for over a year. Watching him calmly resolve all my headaches was like seeing ‘bodhi’ in action.“ Nivit Tipvaree Chef/Owner Bodhi Thai Dining
allcleanfleet.com Clemson Area SBDC Client
All Clean Mobile Wash, LLC
The Pursuit of Happiness: Dare to Be Your Very Best In 2015, Juan Luvene needed guidance on government contracting and the procurement process. He received support from Scott Bellows and Sherry Pittinger, two consultants affiliated with the SC SBDC and its Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) program, who helped Luvene obtain his minority-owned small business certification -- a designation that would give him a distinct advantage when competing for Industry: Automotive Services, Fleet Cleaning government contracts. Challenge: A long-term client returned to the SC SBDC seeking guidance on how to grow his existing company. Luvene was so impressed by the support he received that he didn’t hesitate to reconnect with Approach: Recommended a two-pronged growth the SBDC when he needed advice on growing his strategy emphasizing (1) Market Penetration and (2) existing business, All Clean Mobile Wash, LLC, a Related Diversification. company specializing in fleet cleaning services for Results: commercial vehicles. • Capital Formation: $125,000 “This time around I was helped by Ben Smith, a • Jobs Created: 6 full-time and 2 part-time consultant with the Clemson Area SBDC,” said • Jobs Retained: 3 full-time Luvene. • Change in Sales: $32,900 Smith said that from his first meeting with Juan three years ago, it was obvious the ambitious entrepreneur was going places. “Not only was Juan driven, he had creative ideas, passion and a good head for business. Moreover, Juan is a military veteran who, after departing the service, lost sight in both eyes leaving him completely blind. As Smith will attest, however, this hasn’t slowed Juan down one bit. “I never wanted people to pity me or expect less from me,” Luvene said. “I was determined to never use my blindness as an excuse for not Services Provided: pursuing my dreams.” Luvene said he draws inspiration from a quote by Willis Whitney: “Some men have thousands of reasons why they can’t do > Needs Assessment something, when all they really need is one reason why they can.” Luvene > Feasibility Analysis says his reason is supporting his family. > Market Research To help Luvene achieve his goal of building a thriving, multi-faceted company, Smith recommended a two-pronged growth strategy involving: > Strategic Planning (1) Market Penetration (growing his primary service offering) and (2) > Government Contracting Related Diversification (finding opportunities to use the client’s existing equipment in a manner unrelated to automotive services). “I’m extremely grateful for the ongoing support I’ve received from Ben,” Luvene said. “And whenever I start straying from the path to chase new opportunities, as I’m inclined to do, he always reels me in.”
Smith projects All Clean Mobile will continue growing exponentially in the near furture. “Not only will this benefit Juan and his family,” said Smith “the 20-plus jobs it’s likely to create will benefit the Anderson community.”
“The SC SBDC has been supporting me since my first visit in 2014. I’ve worked with three consultants and each one has provided me very wise counsel, access to some great resources and their moral support. I still can’t believe I get all this and don’t have to pay one cent for the privilege.” Juan Luvene, Owner All Clean Mobile Wash, LLC
At the helm of this thriving operation is JoAnne LaBounty, president and CEO since SMP’s inception in 1999. Industry: Custom-packed meat products for food service and retail Challenge: With the goal of expanding her existing business, the client requested assistance securing additional funding to purchase property as well as suggestions for extending her customer base.
LaBounty said that when production first began SMP occupied a 15,000-square-foot plant. Today, the facility includes a 10,000-square-foot equipment warehouse, a 35,000-square-foot storage warehouse and a 17,000-square-foot processing plant.
Results: • Jobs Created: 33 full-time • Sales Increase: $26 Million
As JoAnne’s business ventures continue to grow so does her need for space. “I never imaged we would outgrow the 62,000 square feet we currently occupy,” she said.
To help her find new facilities, JoAnne, once again, reached out to Beth Smith. “I was considering not one, but two available buildings adjacent to SMP’s existing facility,” LaBounty said. Their next order of business was securing funding to purchase the space. Then, with the aim of increasing the company’s long-term development, Smith and LaBounty began investigating the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program to determine if SMP’s expanded complex would qualify. This initiative could mean a windfall of new, lucrative contracts for the company because it would enable it to bid on federal contracts “set aside” for certified businesses located in distressed urban and rural communities.
Services Provided: > Site Location Research > NxLevel Training Workshop > Government Contracting
Approach: Helped the client prepare and submit an SBA loan application to UCBI. To attract new customers, suggested the client consider additional export opportunities.
When LaBounty started tossing around ideas to expand her customer base she turned to Beth Smith, Area Manager/Business Consultant with the Spartanburg Area SBDC. “Beth suggested I begin exporting to Asia and then directed me to the USC’s Darla Moore School of Business where a team of graduate students analyzed export opportunities for processed meats,” LaBounty said. “Based on their recommendations, SMP recently exported its first order to South Korea.”
Spartanburg Meat Processing
Located in South Carolina’s upcountry, the iconic Spartanburg Meat Processing Co. Inc. (SMP) produces nearly 40,000 pounds of USDA-inspected/approved pork and chicken products per day.
Spartanburg Area SBDC Client
Spartanburg Meat Processing Co.: A Savory Success
> Access to Capital
While the indefatigable duo decides on applying for a $1.7 million loan > Expanded Export Operations and HUBZone designation, SMP’s staff continues to grow exponentially. Up significantly from the original eight employees, the company’s current 85-person team serves 30,000 retail grocery stores such as Save-A-Lot, Safeway and Food Lion. LaBounty is justifiably proud of her company. “Last year alone we cooked 8 million pounds of product,” she said. But that figure alone is not what galvanizes the “Beth’s knowledge has helped me set high2016 South Carolina priority strategic goals. Thanks to her advice and Small Business Person of our maximizing opportunities, we are literally the Year. “I am pleased busting at the seams.” SMP has prospered while staying true to our core JoAnne LaBounty values: Honesty. Integrity. President/CEO Pride.” Spartanburg Meat Processing Co.
primpedandpolishedsalon.com Rock Hill Area SBDC Client
Primped & Polished Salon & Spa
Looking Good in Union In a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by family, friends and several public officials, Primped & Polished Salon and Spa held its long-awaited grand opening in June 2017. Located in Union, SC, Primped & Polished is owned and operated by Ashley Rainwater, a 10-year veteran of the beauty industry.
Industry: Professional Salon Services Challenge: Client needed assistance with applying for a business loan, finding a lender, preparing financial projections and developing a business plan.
Ashley’s trek to becoming the owner of Primped and Polished salon began when she and her family relocated from Florida to Approach: Helped the client with financial projections Union. After settling in, Ashley discovered the and preparing a business plan. Compiled required data community offered ample opportunities for and submitted the loan application to three local lenders. aspiring entrepreneurs willing to take a risk. Results: Having managed a salon and operated her • New Business Started own business in Florida, Ashley believed she • Jobs Created: 2 full-time was well-equipped to handle the demands • Financing Obtained: $50,400 of launching a startup. What she needed was • Sales Increase: $6,800 (<6 months) someone to guide her through the “business of opening a business.” Based on a referral from Katherine Pendergrass at SCWorks, Ashley contacted the Rock Hill Area SBDC where she was welcomed by Winthrop Region Director Larry Stevens.
Services Provided: > Needs Assessment > Business Licensing > Operations > Fiscal Management > Business Plan Preparation
“When we first met, Ashley was concerned about her ability to provide financial projections and a business plan with her loan application,” Stevens said. “Moreover, she wanted to ensure that, if approved, the commercial loan would sufficiently cover her startup costs. She also asked if I could recommend a financial institution.” Stevens said his first priority was assessing the client’s financial projections. As for finding a lender, he suggested Ashley contact all three banks in Union. “Ashley and I also discussed which business licenses she would require, how to obtain them and what legal structure she wanted to establish for her salon,” said Stevens.
Cheering her on throughout her journey and providing much needed support was Rainwater’s husband, James. “He has been by my side from the very beginning. It was James who encouraged me to purchase the building at 103 Sardis Road so I could make my dream of owning a high-end spa a reality,” said Rainwater. She added that despite working a 12-hour day at his regular “Larry Stevens helped make sure I was taking job, James often the right steps, in the right order, to stay on worked with her schedule for my opening.” until midnight making sure she Ashley Rainwater got everything Owner/Cosmetologist, accomplished. Primped & Polished Salon and Spa
Photo credit Charles Warner
“When we visited our first bank we were fortunate to have met with James Chatfield. He recognized that we were anxious and that our loan application was a total wreck,” said Sandra Wells, Co-Owner of Pete’s Mobile Auto & Truck Repairs. “Instead of rushing us out the door, however, James recommended we contact Cheryl to receive the guidance we needed to prepare a comprehensive loan application. Even better, we didn’t have to pay for the expert advice we received. It was a free ride.”
Industry: Auto Repair and Maintenance Challenge: Preparing loan application documents and developing financial projections. Approach: Identified missing data, confirmed accuracy of existing financials and taught the client how to calculate financial projections.
Salley said she’s had the good fortune of working frequently with James. “I’m grateful for his referrals because it not only reflects his confidence in my abilities; but it also grants me the opportunity to provide small business owners the clarity they need to achieve their vision.” After conducting an initial intake assessment with Sandra and her husband/Co-Owner Melvin Wells, Cheryl was confident the client had a specific destination in mind. “I was impressed by Sandra’s passion, ambition and business acumen. All she needed Services Provided: was some coaching…and a confidence boost,” said Cheryl. With a little help from her friend, Sandra worked methodically to fill the gaps, > Loan Application Preparation review the documentation and submit a finely-tuned loan application. > Financial Assessment “The packet definitely bore Cheryl’s imprint. As with all her products > Data Analysis and Interpretation the paperwork was 100 percent compliant,” said Chatfield. “On behalf of the SC Community Loan fund, it was my honor to approve Sandra’s > Project Management loan request.” > Training “Cheryl was a blessing,” Sandra said. “She rolled-up her sleeves, helped us tackle the perplexing paperwork and inspired and encouraged us throughout the ordeal. We actually became friends working together.”
Results: • Financing Obtained: $192,000 • Sales Increase: $125,000 (< 12 months) • Jobs Created: 6 full-time
Pete’s Mobile Auto Repair & Trucking
Why take your car to the shop when the shop can come to you? Thanks to Pete’s Mobile Auto & Truck Repairs, car owners in the Midlands now have one less hassle to contend with when repairing or servicing their automobiles. In fact, thanks to the efforts of SC Small Business Development Centers consultant Cheryl Salley, Pete’s obtained the infusion of capital it needed to expand its core business.
Columbia Area SBDC Client
Hassle-Free Auto Repairs…..Really!
With the much needed infusion of capital, Sandra had the means to purchase a facility and transform it into a full-service repair shop. This business expansion now puts customers in the driver’s seat. They actually have the luxury of selecting which repair option “Thanks to Cheryl Salley’s oversight, expertise is most convenient and personal involvement we secured the for them. If they financing needed to expand our service offerings. prefer, the certified Today, our business is in overdrive and we’re technicians will meet working full-throttle to keep pace with demand.” them at their home, office or even a mall. Sandra Wells Let the good times roll! Co-Owner Pete’s Mobile Auto & Truck Repairs LLC
lowcountryfuneral.com Charleston Area SBDC Client
Simplicity Lowcountry Cremation Services
The Beauty of Simplicity When Charleston-area residents sought a way to spend less on funeral expenses while still receiving the same top quality services to pay tribute and say goodbye to their loved ones, Simplicity Lowcountry Cremation & Burial Services (Simplicity) answered the call. Industry: Funeral Homes and Services In 2012, when owner Jim Dobbins first launched his Challenge: Since 2012, the SC SBDC has helped company, offering affordable full-service cremation the client launch his business, access capital and or funeral services was an innovative concept. “Many times our service options far exceed that of traditional prepare a business plan. In 2017 client sought assistance with opening a second location. funeral homes. We just don’t charge their higher prices,” Dobbins said.
Five years after launching his innovative concept, Dobbins decided to keep pace with client demand he needed to expand. So, once again, he turned to Charleston Area business consultant Tom Lauria.
Results: • Jobs Created: 8 full-time and 3 part-time • Annual Sales Increase: $1.2 million • Charleston LDC Loan: $100,000
Lauria has worked with Dobbins from the very beginning; helping him launch Simplicity in 2012. Over the years, whenever Dobbins needed assistance with developing financial projections, securing a loan or writing a business plan, consultant Lauria heeded the call. In 2017, Tom worked with Dobbins to help him open a second home in Berkeley County. The new location features a large chapel with sophisticated audio-visual technology to provide families with photo, video and audio memories of their loved ones. The facility also includes a bright and relaxing lobby with upbeat music, a café for refreshments, catered meals and a full-service crematorium. To accommodate the expansion and customer demand, Dobbins added 11 employees to his staff. Dobbins is justifiably proud of his ability to provide grieving families superior, attentive service without compromising quality. He is quick to point out that his fees may be low, but he doesn’t cut corners. “My prices are competitive because I have Services Provided: eliminated excessive overhead costs, foregone a fleet of expensive new cars and maintained a lean staff,” he said. > Accessing Capital > Loan Application Preparation > Business Plan Development > Financial Projections > Business Expansion
Approach: Assisted client with logistics, updating information for a loan application and finding a suitable lender.
The appeal of reasonably-priced services combined with Simplicity’s ability to accommodate cultural and religious rites, has not only attracted a diverse customer base; but it also has sparked the interests of investors. Today, Dobbins and his investment partners are introducing the Simplicity business model to communities nationwide. Dobbins says budgetconscious households eagerly await the arrival of Simplicity. “Everywhere you go, from north to south “Tom Lauria was instrumental with providing the and east to guidance we needed to develop a business plan west, there are and obtain the capital necessary to fulfill our families choosing dream of making burial and cremation services to minimize cost-effective for families in the Lowcountry.” funeral expenses while still paying Jim Dobbins a respectful, Owner dignified tribute Simplicity Lowcountry Cremation & Burial Services to a loved one.”
The SC SBDC offered 236 workshops and seminars in 2017 Part of the SC SBDCâ€™s mission is to make vital training available to small business owners at a reasonable cost. In 2017, more than 2,700 entrepreneurs attended one of the 236 different series offered by SC SBDCs across the state. Some of the most popular seminars were: Steps to Starting a Business How to Grow Your Existing Business Government Contracting Boots to Business Vetrepreneurs IRS Tax Workshop Small Business Healthcare
QuickBooks Website and SEO Training Get Your Business on Google Maps NxLevel for Existing Businesses Financing Your Small Business Marketing Your Small Business
Each center maintains a list of its upcoming workshops and seminars at SCSBDC.com. Click on the Business Seminars tab on the left menu to view all educational opportunities.
Thank you to the generous sponsors of our 2017 annual statewide conference.
2017 South Carolina Small Business Development Centers Annual Report