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Greenville Business Magazine

SBA Launches New South Carolina Women's Business Centers

Jul 01, 2020 12:01PM ● By David Dykes

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the launch of two South Carolina Women's Business Centers hosted by HBCU Benedict College in Columbia and Community Works Women's Business Center in Greenville.  

The new centers will carry out the mission of helping women-owned small businesses start, grow, expand and recover their businesses as America works to restart the economy, SBA officials said.

The commitment to continue to safely open and expand Women Business Centers reflects the SBA's priority to increase access for women entrepreneurs to make an impact on job creation and economic recovery, the officials said.

"The SBA's funding of the Women's Business Centers will continue to empower women entrepreneurs in South Carolina, especially as businesses start to recover," said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. "The new Women's Business Centers will provide the entrepreneurs with greater access to the training and technical assistance services they need to reopen, sustain or grow their businesses as well as serve as the engine for job creation." 

Carranza added, "The new centers are a key part of the SBA's expansion of service to foster stronger local economic opportunities, especially to those businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic and are now focusing on a safe reopening of our great country. The soul and spirit of American entrepreneurs and small business owners will continue to thrive and grow in the community and workforce as they participate in the pursuit of the American dream."

The SBA's Women's Business Centers are a national network of more than 100 centers that offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, and procurement.

"As an ongoing commitment to build strong and healthy economic ecosystems and create business-friendly environments, Benedict College is the perfect location for the new WBC and a top priority for the SBA," said Allen Gutierrez, SBA associate administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development.

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution with over 2,100 students enrolled in its 34 baccalaureate degree programs. 

Benedict College, originally Benedict Institute, was founded 148 years ago under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. 

As Benedict’s first philanthropist, Mrs. Benedict of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provided $13,000 towards the purchase of an 80-acre plantation near Columbia, South Carolina as the site for a new school for the recently freed people of African descent. 

Benedict Institute, operating in a former slave master’s mansion, was established, in the words of its founder, to prepare men and women to be a “power for good in society.”

"This expansion in both Greenville and Columbia will enable Women's Business Centers to help more women entrepreneurs not just stay afloat or recover but be poised to expand," Gutierrez said. 

To learn more about SBA's programs and services for women entrepreneurs, go to

To find other WBC locations and SBA resources, go to