The Small Business Administration (SBA) has named the Myrtle Beach Area Small Business Development Center the 2016 Southeast Region SBDC Center of Excellence and Innovation as announced by SBA District Director & Acting Regional Administrator, Elliott Cooper. The award was presented during ceremonies honoring National Small Business Week held May 3. The event was hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration-South Carolina District Office, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Business Development Centers, and South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
“Small businesses contribute to our local and state economies by bringing growth, innovation, and most importantly- jobs,” Cooper said.
In addition to being named the winner for South Carolina, the Myrtle Beach Area SBDC was also named the winner for the SBA Region IV, which includes South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
“We are proud to be a vital resource for local small businesses and are humbled to have been recognized at both the state and regional level for the success we’ve helped our clients to achieve,” said Janet Graham, Myrtle Beach area manager since 2004. “It’s a testament to the efforts of our team and the passion they show for their work that has allowed the center to earn this award.”
In addition to Janet Graham, the Myrtle Beach area SBDC staff includes center administrator Tara Lightfoot and business consultant Bernita Platt, who uses her background as a tax auditor to assist clients with bookkeeping and understanding detailed tax questions.
In 2016, consultants with the Myrtle Beach area center received a 92.4% client satisfaction rating from the 137 clients it served. The consultants also assisted in the creation of 11 new businesses, the acquisition of $1.34 million in capital formation and the creation or retention of 107 jobs.
“This is the third straight year that an SC SBDC area center has been recognized as the Southeast Region SBDC Center of Excellence and Innovation. Last year, in fact, our Charleston Area SBDC won the national award,” said South Carolina SBDC State Director Michele Abraham. “These distinctions attest to the fact that the SC SBDC network is fully committed to its mission of advancing the state’s economic development by helping entrepreneurs grow successful businesses,” she added.