Success Stories

Claire Morris never expected to become an entrepreneur, but the right opportunity motivated her to start her own marketing and public relations firm.

Upon her exit from working in public relations for the Department of Commerce, Morris was offered the opportunity to become an independent consultant for the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Morris started Clare Morris Agency (CMA) to meet the needs of her first client. The agency employs a total of five people and one intern.

“Being awarded a major contract of $750,000 really helped my business and gave us a huge boost,” said Morris.

CMA is a full-service marketing and public relations firm based in Columbia, SC. The agency is comprised of talented professionals with diverse backgrounds who hold master’s degrees in international business, communications, and sociology.  They have experience in working with private, nonprofit, and government organizations.

“For each of our clients, we work to... Read More

Linking people and particularly small business owners is important for Vanessa Mota. In addition, uncovering the various cultures that exist in Columbia, SC has been a goal for Mota. In 2008 Mota decided to make it her business to link the Latino community and other cultures to business resources in the area. She created Mota Enterprises, LLC in April of 2008 with the direct goal of cross linking markets culturally and networking different professions. She sums this up in three words: Unite, Connect and Diversify.

The firm partnered with the City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunity to facilitate and provide language translation services. Mota is the sole owner but employs associates to meet the demands of her business.

 In 2017, the firm began receiving business advice from the Columbia Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC). SBDCs provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories. SBDCs... Read More

Gail Wilson noticed a problem with recycling in the small business community and started her business to solve that problem.

Wilson had no desire to open a recycling business, but as a nonprofit executive, she saw that the needs for recycling cardboard, scrap metal and other recycling materials were not being met for small businesses and organizations like hers.

 “Like many nonprofits and small companies with a limited budget, we would have to wait for free community shred events to properly dispose of documents and other sensitive materials. This would require an employee to spend time hauling the items to their cars and transporting it to the shred events,” said Wilson. “This was time consuming and employees often had to do it on their personal time. Originally I thought I would fill the gap for nonprofits, churches, and small businesses, but it ended up fulfilling much more.”

Wilson is the founder and owner of Anchor Shred and Recycle, LLC. The firm collects... Read More

Pictured: Gerald Neal

Gerald Neal learned in the Navy from the Corps of Engineers about construction. He holds a degree in computer engineering, but his partiality for construction overrode entering the computer field.

Neal is the owner of Neal’s Construction, LLC. Neal has two core values for business. Those core values are perseverance and staying the course. Neal is an 8(a) government contractor who has been in the program for eight years. He is slated to graduate next year from the program.

“If it were not for the 8(a) program my business would not be where it is,” said Neal. “The program helped me with understanding the federal contracting system in addition to contracting opportunities.

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are majority owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Participants are in the program... Read More