A Dynamic Collaboration

    Several agencies collaborated to plan and execute The Minority Financial Summit.

    The following individuals were instrumental in delivering a webinar that was well-received by attendees:

    Brenton Brown, presenter, SC Commission for Minority Affairs

    Tammie Greene and Sonja Barkley, presenters, SC Department of Commerce

    Natasha Pitts, City of Spartanburg

    Jalitha Moore, One Spartanburg

    Katrina Meeks, SC SBDC

    It is common for small businesses and start-ups to need funding to operate or expand their business. Unfortunately, many of these owners and entrepreneurs do not know where to find financial assistance, nor how to apply for it. A key function of the SC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is connecting clients with funding options unique to their business needs and helping them apply for these programs. With small businesses floundered in the wake of COVID-19, Spartanburg Area Manager Katrina Meeks decided to take this initiative one step further with the Minority Financial Summit webinar training.The Minority Financial Summit was designed to advance and foster lender relationships and connections, specifically for minority-owned small businesses. The webinar educated attendees on funding options available within the community and discussed the criteria lenders look for when deciding to fund various projects. It also addressed the disparities that minorities often experience when working to secure small business funding.

    Meeks developed the curriculum not only for those seeking a business loan or grant, but also for anyone interested in understanding how the SBA supports small businesses or how each of the “4 C’s” (customer, cost, convenience, and communication) factors into the longevity of a business. The event was promoted through the SBDC’s extensive network, as well as through each participating member’s social media account and through each participating agency’s resource partner database.

    Over 300 people from throughout the state of South Carolina submitted interest in the webinar, and 127 people attended. The summit featured a lineup of panelists including Community Development Loan Officer Joseph Dukes, Dixon Woodward of United Community Bank, Lee Belcher of Synovus Bank, and Frank Anderson of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The speakers talked about how businesses can strengthen their financial impact, and also provided financial information for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business. The collaboration between speakers from different agencies offered a dynamic variety of perspectives and was applauded by attendees—many of which encouraged the SBDC to host the event again in 2022.

    “Your program was excellent,” said Erin Ouzts of Ten at the Top. “The guest speakers were knowledgeable and covered topics relevant to the audience. Thank you for making this happen.”