Small Business Seminars

Access to Capital Assistance

To assist South Carolina businesses with financing options, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) have produced “Access to Capital," an informative piece covering a variety of financing resources (loan and equity options) available throughout South Carolina. It covers topics such as SBA guarantees, the Capital Access Program (CAP), angel partner networks and venture capital. Contact information for each resource is provided.

Click here to view the seminar.

South Carolina Regulatory Resources For Small Businesses

While there are plenty of regulations, permits, licenses and registrations required for doing business, the good news is there is a strong support infrastructure in South Carolina geared toward helping small businesses with answers to regulatory questions. The South Carolina Department of Commerce and NFIB have teamed up to provide "Regulations, Permitting and Licensing – Regulatory Resources for Small Business.”

Click here to view the seminar presentation.

Click here to view the webinar.

For additional assistance, contact Commerce's Business Services Department at (803) 737-0222 or

U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Programs

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) loan programs enhance the ability of lenders to provide long- and short-term loans to small businesses that might not qualify through normal lending channels. To qualify for an SBA guaranty, the lender must certify that it cannot provide funding on reasonable terms through normal lending channels.

There are three major SBA loan programs:

Basic 7(a) Loan Guaranty

Serves as the SBA’s primary business loan program to help qualified small businesses obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. It is also the agency’s most flexible business loan program, since financing under this program can be guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes. Loan proceeds can be used for most sound business purposes including: working capital; machinery and equipment; furniture and fixtures; land and building (including purchase, renovation and new construction); leasehold improvements; and debt refinancing (under special conditions). Loan maturity is up to 10 years for working capital and generally up to 25 years for fixed asset.

Certified Development Company (CDC), a 504 Loan Program

Provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate or machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization. A 504 project typically includes a loan secured from a private-sector lender with a senior lien, a loan secured from a CDC (funded by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed debenture) with a junior lien covering up to 40 percent of the total cost, and a contribution of at least 10 percent equity from the borrower. The maximum SBA debenture generally is $1 million (and up to $1.3 million in some cases).

Microloan, a 7(m) Loan Program

Provides short-term loans of up to $35,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit childcare centers for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and/or equipment. Proceeds cannot be used to pay existing debts or to purchase real estate. The SBA makes or guarantees a loan to an intermediary who, in turn, makes the microloan to the applicant. These organizations also provide management and technical assistance. Loans are not guaranteed by the SBA. The microloan program is available in selected locations in most states.

South Carolina is here to help get businesses started and there are many financial resources in place to assist companies in accomplishing this task. South Carolina offers several financing tools to enhance the business and economic climate of the state.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program helps create jobs and stimulates rural economies by providing financial backing for rural businesses. The program provides up to 80 percent of a loan made by a commercial lender. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, machinery and equipment, buildings and real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing.

B&I loan guarantees can be extended to loans made by recognized commercial or other authorized lenders in rural areas (this includes all areas other than cities of more than 50,000 people and the contiguous and urbanized areas such as cities or towns).

South Carolina’s Financial Resources

BCI Lending Services

BCI Lending Services (BCI) is a not-for-profit, statewide development finance institution that provides innovative financial products and capacity-building services to promote growth and competitiveness of new and existing small- and medium-sized businesses in South Carolina. BCI complements private sector activities through a variety of lending programs to fill gaps in funding often faced by these businesses, especially in rural and distressed areas of the state.

Business Development Corporation

The Business Development Corporation (BDC) of South Carolina is a privately owned, non-banking financial institution organized for the purpose of promoting economic development within the state. It provides term loans to both new and expanding businesses that are unable to obtain financing through normal banking sources. Loans can be obtained for most business purposes and by various types of businesses, except for investment, speculative and eleemosynary ventures.

S.C. Capital Access Program

The purpose of the S.C. Capital Access Program (SC CAP) is to promote economic development and job creation through small businesses in South Carolina by providing financial institutions with a flexible and non-bureaucratic resource.

SC CAP is based on a reserve fund concept and is fundamentally different from traditional insurance or guarantee programs, which guarantee individual loans. Rather, SC CAP works on a portfolio concept. In other words, if a financial institution participates in SC CAP, a special reserve fund, which is owned by the state, but managed by Business Development Corporation of S.C., is set up to cover future losses from a portfolio of loans that the institution makes under the program. The SC CAP reserve fund is not specific to individual loans, but is used to offset losses on any loan in the participating financial institution’s SC CAP portfolio.

Job-Economic Development Authority

Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA) seeks to provide innovative financial direction and offer products and tools to promote growth and competitiveness among new and existing businesses, create jobs and improve living conditions in South Carolina. They accomplish this task through loans, investments, exportation and the promotion of services and capital revenue produced within the state. Created in 1983, JEDA has assisted with the creation of nearly 57,000 jobs for small and medium sized businesses and closed more than 750 loans representing more than $4 billion total.

Administered by JEDA, The New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program is a federal tax incentive program that was authorized by Congress in 2000, to help spur the investment of $15 billion of capital into businesses that are located in low-income communities.

InvestSC, Inc.

InvestSC, Inc. can best be described as a fund of funds and is committed to promoting economic development within the state. The program provides an invaluable resource for companies already located in South Carolina or for companies looking to locate here. Formed by JEDA, InvestSC, Inc.'s purpose is to assist the Venture Capital Authority (VCA) of South Carolina in meeting their goals and objectives. The VCA has partnered with four venture capital funds that are willing to invest in companies looking to locate or expand within the state.

For additional information, contact Harry Huntley, Executive Director of InvestSC, Inc.