Small Business & Rural Development

South Carolina recognizes that time is money. That is why South Carolina is committed to getting businesses moving quickly. The state understands speed to occupancy and sites that are shovel-ready are critical elements when any business is looking to begin or expand operations.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce works with counties and rural communities throughout South Carolina to plan and develop industrial parks and sites that will suit the needs of businesses looking to locate or expand in the state. The agency also works with local communities to address water, wastewater, infrastructure and more.  

Click here to learn more about Conferences & Events related to economic development.

Existing Industry

The Existing Industry Division helps South Carolina companies both large and small achieve peak performance by bringing together professionals who offer a wealth of experience in key areas and provide a dynamic approach that helps businesses and communities prosper.

Small Business Development

The Small Business Development team operates with one guiding purpose in mind: "More business for small business." This mission is being achieved through hosting one-on-one business consulting sessions; providing small businesses with access to potential contracts through outreach events; and managing the Buy South Carolina program which connects small companies with new business opportunities. In order to help meet the financial needs of small businesses, the team coordinates Lender Matchmaker events which introduce businesses with local and statewide financing options.

Community Development

The Community Development Division assists local leaders in achieving success for their communities with primary emphasis on the development of industrial parks and sites, enhanced available industrial buildings, leadership development, downtown revitalization, technical assistance and strategic planning. 

For access to the speaker presentations from the South Carolina Rural Summit 2014, please click on the links below:

Community Development Corporations

Community Development Corporations (CDCs) are community-based, non-profit organizations created for the purpose of developing and improving low-income communities and neighborhoods through economic and related development. They have a primary function of developing projects and designing activities to enhance economic opportunities of the people in the community served, including efforts to enable them to become owners and managers of small businesses and producers of affordable housing and jobs. 

Community Development Financial Institutions

These specialized financial institutions are created for the purpose of promoting community development by providing credit, capital or development services to small businesses or home mortgage assistance to individuals including, but not limited to, capital access programs, micro-lending, franchise financing and guaranty performance bonds. The community development financial institution was created with the goal of providing a majority of its services to low-income individuals, minorities, females or rural areas and maintains, through representation on its governing board, accountability to persons in need of the institution's services.


The Division of Community & Rural Planning and Development makes available the Certification Application Guidelines for the certification process of both CDCs and CDFIs to include Organizational Management & Capacity, Community Involvement & Partnerships, Fiscal Accountability and Resource Development.

The S.C. Department of Commerce has awarded more than $1 million to certified Community Development Corporations across the state. 

For additional information regarding CDCs, contact the CDC Program Manager.