SBA, Benedict College Enter Strategic Alliance

Alliance Targets Benedict Business Students and Midlands-Area Underserved Small Businesses


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The U.S. Small Business Administration yesterday signed a strategic alliance memorandum with Benedict College--a historically black institution in downtown Columbia--in order to promote entrepreneurship both on and off the Benedict campus. The agreement was signed by Benedict College President David Swinton, SBA Regional Administrator Cassius Butts and SBA South Carolina District Director Elliott Cooper in front of an audience of around 70 Benedict students and faculty at the college’s Business Development Center.

Through the alliance, the SBA South Carolina District Office and Benedict’s Business Development Center will work together to serve Benedict students interested in business ownership and to also address the needs of historically underserved small businesses throughout the Midlands area.

Although the first of its kind in South Carolina, yesterday’s strategic alliance was the latest in a series of similar agreements between SBA and historically black colleges and universities throughout the eight-state southeastern region overseen by SBA Regional Administrator Butts. Butts--who is a graduate of historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta and whose grandmother was a Benedict graduate--has spearheaded the creation of these alliances over the past year in order to give students at historically black institutions access to the SBA’s network of services and resources.

“Never before have…historically black colleges and universities had the [formal] support of the U.S. Small Business Administration,” Butts said.

Addressing the students present, Butts told them, “Today’s message is about you.”

“Your passion is your purpose and your purpose is your plan,” Butts said. And passion “starts with a sound education.”

When it comes to starting a business, Butts said, don’t do it alone. Instead, students should take advantage of the resources offered by Benedict’s Business Development Center and by SBA’s South Carolina District Office.   

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