Best Small Business Resources in the Columbia Area

Small map with pin depicting Columbia, SC

Starting a business is a life-changing experience. South Carolina has dozens of great resources to help entrepreneurs get started. Our team researched and vetted organizations in the Columbia area and compiled our list of recommended resources in this article.

You can also read our guide to starting a business in South Carolina.

Resources Available in your Area

Nx Level Micro Entrepreneur

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Business Planning
  • Research
  • Product Development

Description

The City of Columbia has partnered with Benedict College Business Development Center to create a course that will train entrepreneurs in various sets of knowledge needed to launch their business. With coursework and mentoring in marketing, product development, and other business analysis provided at a subsidized cost, Nx Level Micro Entrepreneur gives aspiring entrepreneurs a great head start. The course is offered annually, starting each January and lasts for 10 weeks.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

803-545-3950


Columbia Area SBDC

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The greatest strength of the SBDC is their free, confidential, 1-on-1 business mentoring for anyone who seeks it. Sometimes in order to be considered for mentoring from one of their professional business advisors, you may have to attend a class/workshop or at least present your business plan. SBDC's are located all throughout the state and you should use the SBDC closest to your location if possible, but you can often transfer to a different location if they do not fit your needs.


Columbia SCORE

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) is a leading, nation-wide organization that has assisted millions of entrepreneurs over its 50+ years of operation. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that offers access to a network of experienced business leaders who donate time to mentor entrepreneurs and small business owners. They also host free or inexpensive workshops online and at 300 local chapters around the United States. Mentoring can be conducted either in person or remotely and is always free and confidential, no matter how often you take advantage of this service.


Richland Library

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Coworking
  • Research

Offers Free Service

Description

The Richland Library offers a no-cost coworking space for freelancers and entrepreneurs as well as a plethora of databases useful for researching the viability of your business idea. Reservations can be made in advance for up to 3 hours a day. The amenities include a Mac station with helpful apps and lounge setting, with a beautiful view of downtown Columbia. This library also hosts weekly 1 Million Cups meetups, a nationwide entrepreneurship networking organization. Other business-related events are also held here, including SBA workshops and classes on how to use databases.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1431 Assembly St.
Columbia, SC 29201
803-799-9084


SOCO Work

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Coworking
  • Product Development
  • Networking

Description

SOCO is an all-in-one coworking space, providing various rental space options at different price points, as well as providing unique networking opportunities and various workshops to help entrepreneurs build their products. The community and educational support make SOCO a great place to work.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

823 Gervais St.
Columbia, SC 29201
INFO@soco-work.com


University of South Carolina Technology Incubator

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Product Development

Description

USC's Technology Incubator includes 3 programs that assist different needs. The Colab, conveniently placed in downtown Columbia, allows for entrepreneurs to be at the center of the start-up scene. The Launch Pad’s ten-week program works to grind out the first ideations into concrete business plans with help from mentors and feedback sessions throughout. The Business Incubation Program is for more advanced entrepreneurs who has a solid product in mind, providing them space to work, mentors and networking opportunities. The Incubator also hosts frequent events such as 1 Million Cups or education seminars, most of which are open to the public for free. Their unique culture and sense of community foster creativity and support, leading to a high success rate among member companies.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1225 Laurel St.
Columbia, SC 29201
803-777-7000