February of 2000 was the official launch of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC) that aspired to represent the general interests of small businesses at the state capital. “While there were plenty of organizations that represented bigger businesses and trade groups, there wasn’t an organization that focused solely on common issues for all small businesses,” said Frank Knapp Jr., SCSBCC co-founder.  “We set out to create such an organization that could successfully address issues like income tax inequity between big and small businesses and fairness in the regulatory process.” Over the years, the SCSBCC has racked up some very significant victories for small businesses by successfully advocating for:

  • Reducing the state income tax on small business profits from 7% to 5% (later reduced to 3%)
  • Re-regulation of the workers’ compensation ratemaking formula
  • Tax credits for rural small businesses that create jobs
  • Tax credits for businesses to train registered apprentices
  • Tort reform to discourage frivolous lawsuits and protect small business access to the courts to fight unfair trade practices
  • Changes to the procurement code to give incentives for small businesses to receive subcontracting work

The SCSBCC is also the only small business organization to work within the regulatory process to dramatically mitigate increases in both workers’ compensation premiums and utility rates. The SCSBCC has also successfully engaged in non-legislative and regulatory matters.  It is the premier South Carolina business organizations working to protect the coastal tourism industry from the dangers of sea level rise.  It has also championed new access to capital vehicles for small businesses. “The SCSBCC is looked at by out-of-state officials and businesses as a unique and shining example of how a statewide general business organization can be successful without great resources but plenty of dedication and persistence,” said Knapp who serves as president and CEO for the 5000+ member organization.

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