31 January 2022

Open Entrepreneurship Training Program
With Guaranteed Loan and Grants Launches in Aiken

AIKEN, SC – Today, the Aiken Business Coalition, Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the Aiken County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) unveiled plans for their new Aiken Business Coalition Entrepreneurship Program, a $425,000 Guaranteed Loan/Grant Training Program, funded by the City of Aiken and a partnership with Security Federal Bank. This program will provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with the needed training and capital to succeed in an ever-changing business world and is funded through a portion of the City of Aiken’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Aiken Business Coalition Entrepreneurship Program will offer in the city of Aiken a comprehensive, innovative approach to assist both new and existing entrepreneurs with the following:

Four weeks of training, and an additional six weeks of coaching and mentorship for new and existing small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The additional six weeks of coaching and mentorship are a critical component of the program to ensure that participants stay engaged, are taking actionable next steps, and have the support they need to succeed.
At the end of the program, guaranteed grants/loans will be provided after all criteria are met within program guidelines.
Courses from subject matter experts from the southeast and the CSRA that are from a similar demographic.
Training components include Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Business Planning Basics, Business Structure 101, Bookkeeping & Recordkeeping, Business Insurance 101, Business Marketing/Branding 101, Growing Your Business and Obtaining Your First Customer, Credit Essentials, Reporting and Tracking cash flow, and Running a Successful Business.

The initiative is part of the City of Aiken’s continued effort to support small, local businesses and economic opportunity by focusing on small business training and providing a guaranteed economic opportunity and is based on recommendations from its adopted AECOM Strategic Economic Development Action Plan. The hope is that these entrepreneurs can connect and collaborate brave the water of business and commerce. This program is unique as it offers entrepreneurs both training in business fundamentals and access to capital upon program completion.

Formed in 2017, GABCC is a historically Black chamber of commerce in the CSRA that supports minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, and black-owned businesses. The Chamber has been dedicated to advocating for its members and the community, specifically targeting economic growth and sustainability via workshops, technical assistance, and networking opportunities. Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce is a 501c6 organization and formed the GABCC Foundation in 2020, which is an official a 501c3 organization. For more information, visit mygabc.org. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @mygabc.

The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce is one of only 105 out of approximately 7,000 five-star rated chambers by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. The award-winning Aiken County Branch has a rich history of civil rights direct action. It operates under the premise that the three foundational tenets of a great community are Education, Public Safety, and Business and Commercial Relations. The Branch has been recognized as one of the top NAACP Branches in the nation.

Learn more at aikenbcfund.org

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Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce

Stuart Bedenbaugh
City Manager
City of Aiken