Rural Entrepreneurial Program receives $99,000 grant for business development

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ORANGEBURG - The USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) awarded a $99,000 grant to the Rural Entrepreneurial Outreach and Development Program, an initiative through SC State’s 1890 Research and Extension. For seven consecutive years, RBS has provided funding to help support the program’s objective to provide technical assistance at little or no cost to potential and existing business owners in the state of South Carolina.

“Small business owners and potential entrepreneurs often need a little bit more help than larger-sized businesses,” said Louis Whitesides, senior extension director and the grant’s principal investigator. “For business owners just starting out, we offer them the resources needed from conception to implementation. With established business owners, we work to help improve their business operation to ultimately make their businesses more profitable.”

Camilla Kelly, owner and director of Kelly’s Kids Daycare in Orangeburg, used the business development services provided the Rural Entrepreneurial Outreach and Development Program through SC State’s 1890 Research and Extension. Camilla Kelly, owner and director of Kelly’s Kids Daycare in Orangeburg, attributes the success of her business to the individualized attention she received while working with 1890 extension agent, Adolphus Johnson, who helped Kelly write and prepare a business proposal. Kelly submitted the proposal to a lender, with the hope of securing a loan for purchasing property that would accommodate the increasing number of children at her daycare.

“I not only received the full amount of the money I asked for, but I exceeded all the goals outlined in my proposal within five years,” said Kelly.

Since receiving its initial grant from the RBS in 2000, consultants in the Rural Entrepreneurial Outreach and Development Program have assisted 1,004 business owners and potential entrepreneurs statewide, and they have helped clients acquire a total of $1.22 million in financing from lenders.

“Receiving this grant for seven consecutive years is a testament to Mr. Whitesides’ commitment to ensuring that small business owners and those who desire to start their own business are successful in their pursuits. As a result of his tireless efforts in writing the proposals and managing the grants, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service has awarded 1890 Research and Extension a total $1.14 million since 2000,” said Delbert Foster, assistant administrator for community education and public service activities.

The Rural Entrepreneurial Outreach and Development Program provides support services in the areas of planning, marketing, customer service, human resource development, business management, accounting and international trade. For more information, call 1890 Research and Extension at 536-8460.