Small Business Bulletin: 5th Anniversary Special Edition

The following issues are addressed in this Special 5th Anniversary Edition of our newsletter.



Small Business Chamber Celebrates 5th Anniversary This Month

Message From Tim Wilkes, Chairman

Message From Frank Knapp, President



Making Job Tax Credits Available For Small Businesses

Tort Reform Moves Forward

Affordable Health Care Pilot Project Advances To Next Phase

Small Business Regulatory Review Committee Launched in Columbia

State Regulations Need Affirmative Approval

Environmental Crimes Subpoena Power For State Grand Jury



Rep. David Mack Joins Board

No-Collateral Small Business Loans Subject Of Workshops

Free Business Assessments For Small Businesses


Small Business Chamber Celebrates

5th Anniversary This Month


“New group to assist small S.C. businesses” read the headline in The State on February 11, 2000. The day before, a handful of small business owners and legislators held a press conference announcing the formation of The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Armed with lofty goals and very little else, the fledgling organization set out not only to prove to doubters that all small businesses could come together to advocate for their common interests, but that a new advocacy group for small business could be successful without the blessings and parenting of established big business organizations.

Today the Small Business Chamber, with thousands of members statewide, is the largest general business membership organization in the state. Thanks to our trade association and individual small business members, the Chamber has been successful at both the state and local levels in making government more small business friendly

In a short five years, the Small Business Chamber is now recognized as the organization willing to fight for small business in all matters regarding utility rates, the leading proponent for making small group health insurance and health care more affordable, the champion of reforming the procurement process to keep more tax dollars in the state and the principal business advocate for technical college tuition assistance using lottery funds. And long before state income tax rates for small businesses were even thought to be an issue, the Small Business Chamber was loudly calling for a reduction in the rate small businesses pay from 7% to 5% to achieve parity with C-Corporations.

The Small Business Chamber continues to add more issues to its resume, all supporting fairness, more opportunity or reduced costs for all small businesses. The first five years were the hardest. A bright future lies ahead.

“Wow, it is hard to believe how quickly time flies. I remember the original discussions regarding the start up of the SC Small Business Chamber, and here we are 5 years later. It has been impressive to watch the chamber build its membership and overcome those initial growing pains. The SC Association of Heating and AC Contractors is proud to be a member of such an active and involved group advancing small business. Through the partnership with the SCSBC, our association is able to focus daily on specific industry needs and concerns while knowing our business interests are being protected.”—Leigh Faircloth, Executive Director, SC Association of Heating and AC Contractors


Message From Tim Wilkes, Chairman

Having served 12 years in the General Assembly, I was acutely aware that general small business interests were largely ignored, not because the Legislature was not concerned about them, but because there was no organized effort to affect legislation by the small business community. There was no single voice to articulate their common needs.

That is why we formed The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Since small businesses are by far the largest employer of South Carolinians and make up the largest constituency of every elected official, it was only natural that the needs of this group be presented to the General Assembly. The Small Business Chamber has done this successfully for the past five years.

As Chairman and co-founder of the Small Business Chamber I am very pleased with our accomplishments, as we have grown to be the largest advocate of small business interests in the state. Unfortunately due to health reasons, I have been less active over the past two years. But my health is now improving and I look forward to resuming my duties with renewed energy and vigor. I feel that 2005 will be our best year ever.

“It hardly seems possible that it has been five years since a group of lobbyists representing small businesses met at Taylor’s for lunch. I remember the mood at that time was enthusiastic and I’m glad to see that it still is. The Chamber has demonstrated its usefulness through some very important changes in state law. More importantly it has done much to focus attention on the many ways small businesses in our state have to struggle on an uneven playing field. Congratulations on five years of achievement.”—John Cone, Executive Director, Home Builders Association of SC

Message From Frank Knapp, President

Passion, persuasion and persistence. All three have played a key role toward the success of The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce. If you work hard and employ these traits, you can achieve more than you hoped. But the ingredients for our success also include those that put their good names on the line and trusted me, Tim Wilkes and some others to build an organization for which they could be proud.

In addition to our present Board of Directors, I want to thank our founding Board and give them the credit they deserve. Along with myself and Tim that Board included Sherman Anderson, Ben Boozer, Leslie Bynum, Buddy DeLaney, Gary Gaffney, Rhett Jackson, Mike Jones, Louis Jordan, Jake Knotts, Catherine Latto, John Lenti, Mac McLeod, Joel Merrill, Stewart Mungo, Ernie Passailaigue, Kim Rodgers, Rob Schoolmeester, Barry Slider, Diane Sumpter, Matt Thompson, and Gordon Zuber.

Our individual small business members gave us our start and proved that our message was welcomed by small businesses. Today, these individual $135 membership dues are coming in faster than ever as more small businesses learn about us and want to give us their support.

I also want to thank the trade association directors and Board members that have joined us on this journey. Their recognition that together we can achieve through numbers what we cannot achieve through dollars has given the Small Business Chamber the strength to successfully promote our issues.

Finally, I must recognize those that we seek to influence—state and local elected and administrative officials. Thanks to all of these men and women who have listened to and, yes, tolerated me over the years. I greatly appreciate those that have helped us make progress with our small business agenda.

I look forward to continued growth and success for the Small Business Chamber.

“Congratulations to The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce on its 5th Year Anniversary. The Small Business Chamber has proven to be a tremendous asset to small businesses in South Carolina. Our membership in the organization over the past years has been very meaningful to our trade association members. We salute you on this outstanding achievement and wish you much success for many years to come.”—Mona Flowers, Managing Director, Mechanical Contractors Association of SC



The following have seen significant progress since the legislative session began.

Making Job Tax Credits Available For Small Businesses


Almost five months ago, the Small Business Chamber first proposed lowering the number of new jobs a business had to create to qualify for job tax credits to one new full-time employee. Currently 10 new positions are required to receive this economic incentive from the state with the amount of the benefit greater in rural, distressed counties ($8,000 per new employee) compared to developed counties ($1,500 per new employee). Small businesses simply couldn’t qualify for these economic incentives.


This situation might change if legislation passed last month in the House is also approved by the Senate. H.3006 was successfully amended to expand job tax credits to businesses that create as few as two new positions. A similar bill (S.338) has also been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Judiciary Committee. Both bills also contain provisions to promote loans to and investments in small businesses.


“On behalf of the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association Board of Directors, I am pleased to offer our congratulations to The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce on five years of success. Your hard work representing the interests of small business in state and local government is both vital and appreciated. As a member organization, the SC Primary Health Care Association is proud to stand with you on issues of concern to small business and we look forward to many more years of productive collaboration.” Lathran Woodard, Executive Director, SC Primary Health Care Association


Tort Reform Moves Forward


The Senate has moved fast on five tort reform issues supported by the Small Business Chamber. On January 26, S.345 was introduced containing provisions dealing with venue, joint and several liability, frivolous lawsuits, statute of repose and the review of insurer’s reduction of premiums to reflect savings from tort reform. This bill was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 2 and the Senate began debating the legislations this week. H.3008, addressing four of the above issues, was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee favorably this week.


“The S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce has become a very effective legislative tool representing small businesses across South Carolina. As it continues to grow so will its influence on issues affecting most business owners in our state. As Executive Director of S.C. Medical Equipment Services Association, a trade association member of the SCSBCOC, I am proud to be part of this organization and wish it continued success.” Bobby Horton, Executive Director, SC Medical Equipment Services Association


Affordable Health Care Pilot Project Advances To Next Phase

The pilot project on providing affordable health care to small businesses without health insurance has completed its first phase. Informational meetings were held in Sumter, Horry, Darlington, Beaufort and Greenville Counties to provide details about the joint effort by the Small Business Chamber and the SC Primary Health Care Association. Over 30 small businesses, both for-profit and non-profit and ranging in employees from one to 18, that attended the meetings now are deciding if they want to continue with the program that will match them to a private sector health care center in their area. Negotiations have already begun with several of these businesses with the goal of providing their employees with a primary health care home. This innovative effort is completely flexible so the employers can decide their own level of financial participation for the cost of the services to themselves and their employees.

For more information about this pilot project in the counties mentioned above, please call 803-252-5733.


“Congratulations on five successful years of service to small businesses across South Carolina! Your work is important to South Carolina.”—Linda Franklin, Executive Director, South Carolina Trial Lawyers Associatio


Small Business Regulatory Review Committee Launched in Columbia


The City of Columbia has become the first in the state to put a Small Business Regulatory Review Committee into action. A law creating a similar committee at the state level was passed last year but has not yet been implemented. Columbia’s committee is chaired by Frank Knapp, president of the Small Business Chamber, and was announced by Mayor Bob Coble and Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine at a January 13 press conference. The 11-member committee of small business owners has already held a public hearing to give city small businesses a chance to say which city ordinances and regulations should be reviewed first. The Committee will make recommendations to City Council and staff as to how ordinances and regulations can be changed to reduce any negative impact on small businesses.


“The Independent Banks of South Carolina sends its congratulations to The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce on its fifth anniversary. We are proud to be a trade association member and having helped to make the Small Business Chamber a success.”—Kelly Smith, Executive Director, Independent Banks of SC


State Regulations Need Affirmative Approval


A bill that would require newly promulgated state regulations to be affirmatively approved by legislators has passed its first hurdle. H.3141 was successfully voted out of subcommittee and sent to the full House Judiciary Committee. Unlike a bill that requires legislative approval before becoming law, regulations can go into affect without any elective officials’ approval if they have been on the legislative calendar for 120 days. With the help of the Small Business Chamber a similar bill passed both the full House and Senate Judiciary Committee the last legislative session but failed to receive a Senate vote before the session ended.


Environmental Crimes Subpoena Power For State Grand Jury

Another bill that failed in the dying days of the last session dealt with giving subpoena power to the State Grand Jury to investigate environmental crimes. Senator Jake Knotts, a major champion of the effort last year, has once again introduced legislation on the issue along with Senator Glenn McConnell (S.22). A companion bill (H.3189) in the House by Representatives Jim Merrill, Joan Brady and Wallace Scarborough, has already successfully received subcommittee approval and has moved to the House Judiciary Committee. If passed, these bills supported by the Small Business Chamber will enable the Attorney General’s Office to successfully address environmental crimes that often hurt small businesses through lost use of property due to pollution, decreased property values, and increased taxes for clean-up. With the passage of this legislation, companies considering intentionally polluting the environment to reduce costs will know that the chances of being caught and prosecuted will be much greater.



Rep. David Mack Joins Board


Charleston Representative David Mack has agreed to serve on the Board of Directors for the Small Business Chamber replacing Representative John Scott. Rep. Mack joins Rep. Mac Toole, Senator Jake Knotts and Senator Glenn Reese as legislative Board members. Rep. Mack is a businessman and healthcare consultant who also hosts his own local radio talk show.


No-Collateral Small Business Loans Subject Of Workshops


The U.S. Small Business Administration will conduct three “Community Express” workshops in February. The workshops will offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about SBA’s Community Express Loan Program with the ultimate goal of increasing access to capital (loans) to small businesses in the Charleston, Florence and Columbia areas. The free workshops to discuss these no-collateral loans of up to $15,000 will be held February 23rd in North Charleston, February 24th in Florence and February 26th in Columbia. To register for the workshop, call Susan Carlson at 1-877-543-5748 or email Susan Carlson at: You can also register for these free workshops at


Free Business Assessments For Small Businesses


The South Carolina Women’s Business Center (SCWBC) is offering free Business Assessments to companies of 25 employees or less. This assessment is an on-site systematic and comprehensive look at all processes in the company’s operations to help managers identify tools they need in order to grow and expand their businesses. The assessment concludes with a fully documented report. If the company needs further assistance, the SCWBC can provide business and technology support through on-site consultations and training programs. The SCWBC is funded with a grant from the US Small Business Administration and has partnerships with state technical colleges, research universities and its affiliate, the SC Manufacturing Extension Partnership.


If you would like to schedule a no-cost Business Assessment, please contact Brittany Whiddon at 803-252-6967 ext. 232.

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