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Charleston-Area Nonprofits Receive $711,000 from U.S. Department of Commerce to Support Minority Business Development Initiative



Press Release

The South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED) along with Increasing H.O.P.E. Financial Training Center and South Carolina Community Capital Alliance (SCCCA), on Tuesday announced the receipt of a $711,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), to be used to support minority business owners and help create jobs through the Minority Business Development Initiative. The EDA grant will be matched with $180,000 in local investment.

The Minority Business Development Initiative will be operated from The Opportunity Center, the new shared office space in North Charleston serving as a business incubator for minority- and women-owned businesses, and the site the Small Business Administration selected as the third Women’s Business Center in South Carolina. The EDA grant will give minority business owners the ability to access resources necessary for starting and growing a small business, in the process building an entrepreneurial ecosystem for communities of color in the Charleston area. A testament to the need and impact of providing affordable capital and capacity-building resources to minority business owners, the EDA grant places a focus on expanding the commerce landscape in the Lowcountry to traditionally underserved entrepreneurs.

“National data indicates that 40 percent of minority-owned businesses closed during the pandemic. This made an already challenging climate for minority-owned businesses even worse. In South Carolina, 11 percent of African American households own a business compared to 20% of White households,” said Bernie Mazyck, President & CEO of SCACED.  “The funding from the EDA will assist minority-owned enterprises in the Lowcountry succeed to become the wealth-building engine for minority households, as well as well as the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”

This project was endorsed by the City of North Charleston and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG). Their endorsement is a recognition that the Minority Business Development Initiative fits into the Tricounty’s economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

“With an emphasis on equity, the Economic Development Administration is committed to providing communities across the country with the resources to strengthen their regional economies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support the Minority Business Development Initiative, designed to help local, minority-owned businesses rebound from the pandemic, create new, higher-paying jobs and workforce development, and build a more resilient regional economy.”

About SCACED (

SCACED is a coalition of over 150 individuals and organizations who support the development of healthy and economically sustainable communities throughout South Carolina. For over 25 years, SCACED and its members have worked collaboratively to build wealth and create economic opportunity for all SC residents including a focus on minority communities and other groups who have been left out of the economic mainstream.

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