4/9/2015 3:35:00 PM
The South Carolina District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the 2015 Small Business & Advocacy Awards winners, namingLowcountry Local First (LLF) as 2015 South Carolina Small Business Ally of the Year. Part of SBA’s celebration of National Small Business Week, the South Carolina Small Business & Advocacy Awards honor the Palmetto State’s top small business entrepreneurs and supporters. The Small Business Ally of the Year honors a non-profit organization that has made outstanding contributions to the support and advancement of Palmetto State small businesses. Nominees are evaluated based on the scope and results of their efforts, which can include support for policies beneficial to small business, development of new entrepreneurial programs or resources, and provision of business education.
LLF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization cultivating an environment of success for local independent businesses and farmers though working with businesses, consumers and policymakers. From business services to hospitality to creative to farms, LLF has a diverse membership of 600 companies ranging from sole-proprietorships up to 250+ employees.
“In what proved to be a very tough competition among many accomplished organizations, Lowcountry Local First set itself apart through its many innovative efforts to support local business, all of which have yielded impressive results,” said Elliott Cooper, district director of the SBA South Carolina District Office. “South Carolina small businesses–particularly those in the Charleston area–are very fortunate to have such a strong ally.”
“Through Dirt Works Incubator Farm and Local Works Coworking Space, we build infrastructure and innovative programs to foster a diverse entrepreneurial economy. The LLF approach includes incubation, business development, networking, mentorship, and classroom training,” explained Jamee Haley, Executive Director of Lowcountry Local First. “Locally-owned, independent businesses create two-and-a-half times more jobs than national chain businesses, and reinvest three times more money back into our local economy. Additionally, small business creates two-thirds of net new jobs in the country and collectively are the largest contributors to our economy.”
“With a proven track record for success and organizational sustainability, as well as local and national partnerships connecting LLF to a larger network of innovators to support entrepreneurs, LLF stands apart as an effective advocate for South Carolina’s small businesses,” said David Thompson, Chair of the LLF Board of Directors and local architect. “As a small business owner, I appreciate the distinct role LLF plays in creating an environment where local businesses can succeed.”
LLF will accept the award at the 2015 Salute to Small Business as part of the state’s Small Business Week events on Wednesday, May 6th in Columbia, SC. Other recent honors for Lowcountry Local First include: one of 50 winners nationally (and the only SC winner) for a 2014 national Growth Accelerator Fund competition by the U.S. Small Business Administration; a 2014 recipient of the SC Department of Commerce Innovation Grant; 2014 Institution of the Year from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association; and Executive Director Jamee Haley awarded by the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s 2014 Influential Women in Business Awards.