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Micro-lender status in S. Car. hailed as big step for U.S. ‘black’ businesses

On Nov. 2, the Beaufort County (South Carolina) Black Chamber of Commerce was approved as a micro-lender by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development department.
Busby Sr.

On Nov. 2, the Beaufort County (South Carolina) Black Chamber of Commerce (BCBCC) was approved as a micro-lender by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development department. This is a phenomenal success for the BCBCC and the up-and-coming African-American entrepreneurs in the chamber’s service area. The BCBCC is the only chamber in the country that has been granted this approval.

The Chamber’s status as a micro-lender means that it will be able to make small business loans to entrepreneurs who are unable to secure a loan from traditional lenders, such as banks. These loans will have a fixed interest rate and can be used by micro entrepreneurs to cover qualified expenses related to their businesses.

The funding for the program is provided by the USDA’s Rural Micro Entrepreneur Assistance Program. The BCBCC was awarded $335,000 in Loan Funds as well as $40,000 in Grant Funds. The Chamber is also contributing $125,000 of in-kind support of this project, which will enable the Chamber to assist local small business owners with capital and business training support.

Larry Holman, president of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce said, “We feel that the Rural Micro Entrepreneur Assistance Program will have great impact on our community by creating loans for well-deserved, disenfranchised and small businesses in Beaufort County. This will help the small business person who has a contract in hand and needs equipment to increase his productivity and make a profit.”

This program is going to have a major impact on African-American owned businesses in the community. This access to capital can greatly improve the performance of these fledgling businesses, giving them a better chance of success at a time when any small business venture is viewed as a risk. By providing this level of assistance, we can see a real turnaround in today’s economy. This is definitely a step in the right direction, providing an added level of support for minority-owned small businesses.

Access to capital is just one of the US Black Chamber’s Five Pillars of Service. Having no access to capital is what limits the expansion and growth of black-owned small businesses.

We strive to bring about change in this area, helping to bring much-needed capital to these business owners.

The Pillars of Service were conceived to impact the growth of black-owned businesses in America. In addition to providing access to capital, we help business leaders with entrepreneur training. We seek to help with the growth and development of Black Chambers across the country. We want to level the playing field for members by giving them information on contract opportunities. Finally, we advocate legislation that will help promote small business growth and address the challenges that black business owners face.

This approval of the BCBCC as a micro-lender is the first step in ensuring the growth and success of black-owned businesses in this country. The first step is always the most difficult to make, but once made will lead us on to victory.

(Ron Busby Sr. is president of the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or visit www.usbci.org 2.)

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