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More than 40 staff, special guests and sponsors gathered June 11-12 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia for the SC SBDC Annual Statewide meeting that featured exhibitor booths, training sessions, panels, presentations, working luncheons and an Awards Dinner and Ceremony.

State Director Michele Abraham opened the two-day meeting with welcoming remarks that focused on the theme for the gathering—Agribusiness—and supporting small to mid-sized enterprises which in the many rural areas of South Carolina are essential to the vitality of our state. “We have come a long way in reaching and serving all types of companies in these areas,” she said, “and our recent advances in agribusiness and farming have started to make a real impact and we have a lot of opportunity to continue to expand on that progress.”

The event was made possible in part to the generous support of its sponsors: presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, United Midwest Savings Bank, Burr Forman McNair law firm, Synovus Bank, Turner Padget law firm and the Business Development Corporation.

Attendees found the presentations from the Agribusiness professionals very helpful. “The resources they provided will enable me as a consultant to work more effectively with my three agribusiness clients,” said Robert Jones, business consultant with the North Charleston Area SBDC.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the very informative information shared at this year’s SBDC Statewide meeting,” said business consultant and Orangeburg Area SBDC manager Pamela Free. “There was a wealth of valuable resources shared from some dynamic presenters that consultants from all regions can customize and make useful for each of their clients.”

The agenda included panels discussing food product development, agricultural resources and rural economic development; sessions on rural sustainability programs, social media and cyber security, as well as an interactive case study where attendees divided into teams to discuss best practices.

The Awards Dinner was held Tuesday evening and recognized the following individuals for their contributions to the organization:

Sonya Belk: Rookie of the Year Carolyn Strange: Administrative Excellence Award Jim Johnson: Team Spirit Award Pat Cameron: Individual Achievement Award Janet Graham: Leadership Award Steve Bailey: Partner of Distinction

The State Star award will be announced at a later date.


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