Gov. Nikki Haley and the South Carolina Department of Commerce today launched a new service called South Carolina Business Network at SCBizNetwork.com. The service provides resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs interested in turning their business concepts into reality.
The governor announced SCBizNetwork.com during a press conference at the warehouse of one of South Carolina's small businesses -- Columbia Tool and Die at 301 Old Barnwell Road in West Columbia.
"We are constantly looking for ways to better serve the small business community and unleash the job-creating power of entrepreneurs. The South Carolina Business Network program grew out of that effort and we know it will be an asset to small businesses across the state," said Gov. Nikki Haley.
SCBizNetwork.com is a web hub of information and resources to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grow or establish their companies. From new market information and business financing options to workforce development and regulatory information, SCBizNetwork.com offers a variety of tools designed in response to feedback from small business owners and entrepreneurs from around the state.
Users will find a calendar of relevant small business events, searchable by zip code, as well as a comprehensive question and answer section. SCBizNetwork.com also allows business owners and entrepreneurs to send a question that will yield a customized answer based on the type of question and where the business is located. Most importantly, users of the site will be able to access the information any time of day or night.
"We heard from entrepreneurs across the state out there looking for information beyond "9 to 5'. For the first time, SCBizNetwork.com will give those people a central location for that information and direct them to the local organizations that can help," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
The Small Business Development Office at the S.C. Department of Commerce will maintain SCBizNetwork.com, which will also feature links to other Commerce programs such as BuySC.
The BuySC program helps link suppliers of goods and services with potential customers. Columbia Tool and Die presented to Boeing through BuySC and ultimately qualified as a supplier of perishable tooling for Boeing's facility in South Carolina.
"I'm always out gathering as much information as I can to help Columbia Tool and Die succeed. In the past, that has been pretty time-consuming. I'm looking forward to using this new program," said Jake Brackett, general manager of Columbia Tool and Die. "South Carolina Commerce's BuySC program was a key to us connecting with Boeing, and eventually becoming one of their suppliers."
"The success of small and diverse businesses is important to strengthen the local, regional and global economy," said Ray Healy, production engineering director for Boeing South Carolina. "Columbia Tool and Die was part of the Boeing showcase in September 2011, which is a successful collaboration between Boeing, South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Through this process, qualifying small businesses have a great opportunity to showcase their capabilities and establish a direct line of communication with Boeing."
In addition to programs such as BuySC and the new SCBizNetwork, South Carolina Commerce offers specific services to small business on a daily basis, from supplier development and financing support to export assistance and recycling industry counsel. The Small Business Development Office within Commerce and the recently-formed Small Business Advisory Council provide leadership in small business support efforts. The council is a collaborative group including the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Michelin Development Corporation and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Small businesses -- businesses with fewer than 50 employees -- make up 95 percent of all private employers in South Carolina. More than 645,000 people in South Carolina work for small businesses.
For more information about the South Carolina Business Network, please visit www.scbiznetwork.com.