Lowcountry Local First hopes its Community Business Academy will help cultivate local entrepreneurs


"The current entrepreneurial ecosystem does not provide equitable opportunity — and we must change that.”

Last week Lowcountry Local First announced a new initiative, Good Enterprises, as part of the nonprofit’s mission to “cultivate an economy anchored in local ownership.” Good Enterprises joins LLF’s other local initiatives, Good Business and Good Farming.

A press release explains what LLF hopes for Good Enterprises: “Good Enterprises will be a catalyst for reshaping the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to one that provides equitable opportunity for business ownership, in order to transform lives and communities.”

As part of this new initiative, LLF plans to host a 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA) this fall in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood.

LLF will use the curriculum and model of Rising Tide Capital for this academy; Rising Tide Capital is a New Jersey-based program that looks to “build a replicable model for high-quality entrepreneurial development services that can be locally adopted in other low-income communities and used as a catalyst for economic and social empowerment.”

Rising Tide Capital has its share of success stories (check them all out online), including Crystal Jones’ cake making business, The Cake Pound. In a testimonial Jones says, 

In this journey, I will need all the resources that RTC can provide. I expect RTC to grow and prosper so that they can continue to support my own advancements in the field! I will need marketing, building & growth strategies along with help regarding financial connections and advice. RTC is an important part of my business community already, and I can already tell it will continue to in the future.

In a press release LLF’s executive director Jamee Haley says, “Charleston demonstrated the fifth fastest growing gap between rich and poor residents in the U.S. from 2011 – 2016, and median income levels for African-American and Hispanic households in Charleston County are less than half that of white households. The current entrepreneurial ecosystem does not provide equitable opportunity — and we must change that.”

LLF is currently seeking partnerships — like one they’ve already locked down with the S.C. Department of Commerce — with organizations across the state to help advance Good Enterprises.

For more about Good Enterprises and info on how to apply, visit LLF’s website.

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