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Success Stories

Dale Sutcliffe served four years in the United States Marines prior to earning his bachelors degree in computer science. After having a conversation with his veteran father-in-law about his desire to connect with his previous veteran comrades, Sutcliffe had an idea to create a veteran networking site to do just that. VetFriends is an online community of veterans and active duty military members that was created in 1999. The website’s mission is to reconnect, honor and support U.S. veterans. Sutcliffe eventually expanded his business into merchandise, which includes t-shirts, hats, and other veteran memorabilia. The business was growing, but Sutcliffe was determined to have VetFriends become a nationally recognized brand to reach veterans across the country.

Keesha Glass and Amy Clark, two of Sutcliffe’s employees, suggested that they should reach out to the Columbia Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), a center that assists businesses in selling their products and... Read More

Karen Jenkins, President and CEO of KRJ Consulting (KRJC) founded her company to assist Family Services in preventing foreclosures during the housing crisis. The company was growing and expanding their market into other organizations, until the Jenkins family experienced a crisis of their own. In 2015, Jenkin’s father became seriously ill and passed in 2016. Shortly after, her young son had a brain aneurysm that uprooted the entire family to Atlanta, while her son went through rehabilitation. Despite all of these setbacks, she continued to work on her business from the waiting room of rehabilitation center, and kept her business alive.

Jenkins used many of the services provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration to build her business to what it is today. In 2012, Jenkins went to the Columbia Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get assistance in working with the federal government. The SBDC and PTAC worked to... Read More

Boyd and Nicole Johnson, a husband a wife duo in Greenville, SC, are former professional cyclists that decided to start their own business in developing innovative cycling products. Together they started, Boyd Cycling, a company that specializes in high performance bicycle wheels. Nicole and Boyd realized there was an international demand for their product, but as small business it was hard to tap into international marketing with a limited budget.

The Johnsons reached out to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, who received the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant to assist small businesses succeed in the international marketplace. The South Carolina Department of Commerce was able to provide funding to Boyd Cycling to expand their marketing to European countries by participating in trade shows.

"We gained many of our European clients through those trade shows," said Boyd.

Boyd Cycling has been very... Read More

At the time, Tammy Johnson was employed by a catering company in Greenville, SC as a Catering Sales Manager.  Johnson was trying to assist her customers with a bartender for hire when she discovered that there were no bartenders for in the Upstate area. She decided to launch a new business, Liquid Catering, LLC in 2011.

Liquid Catering is a bar-only catering company serving the Upstate. Liquid Catering has become not only Johnson’s sole venture, but is actually one of four firms she owns under the High Spirits Hospitality (HSH) brand. Johnson now oversees The Old Cigar Warehouse-event venue, Bravo1 Protection-private security company, and Top-side Pool Club-a rooftop social club. Each firm has a related focus and emphasis.

HSH has grown tremendously over the last seven years. There was only one employee from the initial launch and now HSH employs 18 full-time staff members and 60 or so part-time people.  Johnson provides a great deal of support for her employees and... Read More