Power Up Spartanburg awarded $500,000 in loans and grants, with more to give

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 10:42 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Last March, OneSpartanburg made a commitment to invest millions of dollars into small businesses across the county over the next 5 years. Already, Power Up Spartanburg has awarded half a million dollars in small business loans and also a few grants.

They say they have much more to give and they’ve hoping the funds will be a big boost for entrepreneurs who need it the most. The goal is simple—

“We want to make Spartanburg County, the number one place for small business in America,” said Jay Jenkins, the Director of Small and Minority Business for OneSpartanburg.

The goal is easier said than done.

“Whether that means access to capital, education, access to subject matter experts, whatever they want, we want to be able to provide that,” he said.

1,100 entrepreneurs in the county have already applied for either low-interest loans or grants. It’s open to anyone, but 30 percent of all funding is dedicated to women and minority-owned businesses.

“There’s data that shows that minority owned businesses, especially Black-owned businesses, have not been given equal share when it comes to access to capital and other things that help businesses. So we want to change that,” said Jenkins.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” said Shaunna Thomas, the owner of BASIC Training & Event Space.

She started as a non-profit working with the youth during the pandemic. Eventually she opened it as an event space too.

“I feel like I faced a few challenges with just trying to find resources or information to help me,” she said.

Thomas is one of the first of 8 awarded a Power Up grant.

“I was so excited I flew to the bank,” she laughed. “[The space] was starting to look worn and as clients came in you could tell that, you know maybe they didn’t want to have it here or it wasn’t good enough to have certain events. So upon receiving the funding, the first thing we did was the floors and upgrades and the events picked right back up,” Jenkins said.

Helping her business thrive, exactly what Jenkins says the funds are made to do.

“There are grants to help businesses that have been in business for at least two years to grow, expand,” he said.

Even if you aren’t awarded a grant or loan, Power Up Spartanburg is a 9-step initiative. Soon they’ll announce other resources entrepreneurs can use. Eligibility for Power Up Funding requires participating businesses to fill out a Power Up Spartanburg intake form. Detailed information about each funding option and more can be found at www.PowerUpSpartanburg.com/funding.

Funding opportunities are as follows:

  • Existing Business Loans of up to $50,000 for small and minority businesses in business for more than two years. Administered by Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union
  • Start-Up Loans of up to $50,000 for small and minority businesses in business for less than two years, including start-ups and entrepreneurs. Administered by The CLIMB Fund
  • Existing Business Grants for small and minority businesses operating for two or more years. Administered by The National Development Council
  • Businesses with between $25,000 and $150,000 in revenue can apply for up to $5,000.
  • Businesses with between $150,000 and $3 million in revenue can apply for up to $10,000.