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County receives $40,000 Small Business Assistance Grant Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

In a ceremony held on the front steps of the historic Bamberg County Courthouse on Thursday morning, September 12, it was announced by USDA Rural Development Area Specialist Cathy Shuler that Bamberg County has been awarded a $40,000 grant to provide technical assistance to new and existing businesses in Bamberg County.

“This grant will help stimulate the local economy and provide jobs within the county,” Shuler told a good crowd of city, county and state officials gathered outside the courthouse for the announcement. “This is indeed what the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program is meant to accomplish. We look forward to working with Bamberg County in the future.”

Shuler noted that the technical assistance the grant provided included the following: Marketing, research, production and or service improvements, feasibility studies, training of business staff, personnel, owners and problem solving activities. She noted that the USDA “has been instrumental” and involved in the new Denmark library and in Govan in the Middle Place Community Center. “Bamberg County is innovative and energetic in regards to future economic development, growth and pride in this fine community,” Shuler stated.

Jenny McGill, President of Strategic Capital Solutions, whose company will be implementing the grant talked about the “variety of services” the grant will provide for topics such as: Writing business plans, helping with marketing research and financial literacy. “This USDA grant will provide the funding to allow the county to provide these services for us to work in the community with local business and community leaders. We’re excited about this project, we think it will bring a lot of success stories and bring jobs to the county,” McGill said in thanking all those on the city, county and state level that made the grant possible.

Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Bell in expressing his excitement over the program encouraged existing businesses and those thinking of starting a business to take advantage of the grant “to move Bamberg County forward.” Bamberg County Council Chairwoman Alzena Robinson stated she looked at the grant as one word and that is “economic development.” Robinson said she hoped that “all businesses” will take advantage of the grant. Bamberg Mayor Blain Crosby said he thanked USDA for bringing “anything to Bamberg.” The mayor stated that the city of Bamberg is “motivated” to back the agency anyway it could. “Small business is my number one key,” he said.

Mayor Walter O’Rear of Olar said that he thinks Bamberg County is “on the move” and he hoped the grant will help small businesses and he hoped “we can move forward in Bamberg County.” Kell Anderson, who is the Bamberg County Project Manager with SouthernCarolina Alliance in Barnwell noted that most of the businesses that SCA works with started out as small businesses. “Local businesses now have one more resource they need,” Anderson said.

The final speaker was Bamberg County House District 90 Representative Bakari Sellers, whom Administrator Joey Preston credited with making the event possible. Rep. Sellers “complimented” the Advertizer Herald Newspaper for being one of only two newspapers in attendance at the event. Sellers noted that announcements about the event were sent out across the state “to talk about the good things we’re doing in Bamberg County.” “You see we don’t get many cameras,” Sellers said referring to the lack media coverage from other media outlets.

Rep. Sellers noted that it is small businesses that “drive the economic train” and the (RBEG) that Bamberg County received was an example of how government could establish an environment where small businesses can flourish. Sellers also took notice of the job that Bamberg County Administrator Joey Preston is doing. “Joey Preston has been a blessing to Bamberg County. He knows what he is doing and this is just another example of the good work we are doing in Bamberg County. I’m very, very proud to be from Bamberg County,” Sellers said.

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