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Every year thousands of small business owners turn to the SC SBDC for private consulting. Watch our video and learn how entrepreneurs in all areas of business and industry have found success with the assistance of their local Small Business Development Center.







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Success Story Archive

belinda spicesChef spices up business by focusing on product development

Aiken Area SBDC client Belinda Smith-Sullivan, or Chef Belinda as the cooking world has come to know her, has gone from food writing and being a personal chef to building a spicy empire, Chef Belinda Spices.

After starting her company, Chef Belinda realized she needed a little guidance on the business development end. She found the Aiken Area SBDC and met Laura DiSano, who became her private consultant. Chef Belinda had three food-oriented businesses going at once, but she wasn’t sure where to focus her energies. To determine which of her businesses held the most potential, DiSano gave her an assignment to write about the money, time, energy and financial benefit involved in food writing, being a personal chef, and creating and selling her spices.

“Laura was a godsend,” Chef Belinda said. “She helped me focus on what was going to get me the farthest. I know I can always call Laura and if she can’t help me she will find somebody who can. The entire SBDC family has been great. They give great encouragement.”

Often the SBDC uses a team approach to counseling and Chef Belinda’s project offered the opportunity to bring in consultants with different areas of expertise. While Laura DiSano helped with business focus, Tom Lauria of the Charleston Area SBDC looked into exporting into Canada and Nancy Williamson worked with her on her website and social media.

“I had three phases of a business and wasn’t sure where to focus. But after I completed the assignment, product development and the sale of my spice blends was the clear winner,” Chef Belinda said. Happy to focus on inventing spice blends, she started with four savory blends, Everyday Blend, Mediterranean Steak Spice, Grains of Paradise and Grilling Rub. She later added four more herb/spice blends to her product line including Herb Sea Salt, Blackened Spice Blend, Seafood Spice Blend and Greek Spice Blend. Her newest addition to her product line is what she calls warming spices, which include three varieties of coffee spice blends with international flavors like Turkish and Moroccan.



News Archive

allen jonesSouth Carolina Small Business Development Centers add Jones as
second technology commercialization specialist

With the recent addition of technology commercialization specialist Allen Jones, the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) has expanded its capability and reach to help entrepreneurs bring new technology and products to market.

Jones, who is based in the Spartanburg Area Center, is the second technology commercialization specialist to be hired by the SBDC this year, joining Jim Wasson who was hired in January to work from the Charleston office. Both consultants are able to assist anyone in the state, but their presence in both the northern and coastal areas helps the SBDC serve all parts of the state.

“There is a great deal of entrepreneurial activity in South Carolina geared toward innovation and commercializing new technologies,” SBDC state director Michele Abraham said. “This has become even more evident in the last few years with expansion of the aerospace and automotive industries here. The SC SBDC can play a unique role in helping small businesses bring new products and services to market.”

Since joining the SBDC in 2015, Allen and Jim have served 108 clients, helping them start 11 new businesses, create 52 new jobs, secure over $1.4 million in financing and grants. They have developed leading edge seminars to help clients understand the market, build credible business plans and growth strategies, and learn how to successfully pursue funding opportunities through traditional and non-traditional channels as well as SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) grants.

“We have made significant progress with assisting private businesses and entrepreneurs associated with our universities since hiring a technology commercialization specialist in the Lowcountry,” Abraham said. “Allen provides equally impressive credentials and experience to the SC SBDC and our clients. He rounds out our coverage by providing these specialized services to entrepreneurs in the Upstate down to the Midlands.



University of South Carolina South Carolina State University Winthrop University Clemson University

The U.S. Small Business Administration Frank L Roddey ASBDC