Lowcountry Local First Wins National Growth Accelerator Contest

From L to R: C.T. Burton (LLF), Jordan Amaker (LLF), Martin Short (SBA SC), William Furman (SBA SC), Brian Wheat (LLF), Rachel Barkley (Lowcountry Street Grocery), Lauren Gellatly (LLF)

Local Works, Lowcountry Local First’s (LLF) open-sector coworking space for entrepreneurs and start-ups, has received $50,000 for being a winner of the fourth annual U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. They join 20 accelerators from 18 states as part of the Class of 2017— with Local Works being the only accelerator chosen from South Carolina. This annual competition aims to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Winners were selected through a two-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, investing and business plans both inside and out of the federal government. The finalist expert judges reviewed the applications and pitch videos submitted by the finalists.

“Big congratulations to Local Works! We are excited that an additional resource will be available to our small business community in the Charleston area,” said Gregg White, SBA South Carolina District Director.

“We are beyond grateful for the continued support by the US Small Business Administration and to be one of 20 winners across the US supporting a diverse group of companies,” shared Larry Downey, Community Manager for LLF. “Local Works and our new Community Storefront Project support businesses often underrepresented in traditional coworking or accelerator spaces, including Main Street entrepreneurs, women, farmers, creatives and other businesses that create the majority of jobs in the community.“

Local Works launched in 2014 as a project of Lowcountry Local First to provide open-sector coworking space for entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as offer affordable space for businesses in our community. The 3,000-square foot facility currently hosts more than 40 entrepreneurs from 16 different industries, with 60% women-owned or led businesses.

The new Community Storefront Project on Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston’s Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood will build on the existing assets of the community and expand on the economic opportunities that support local-independent businesses in the neighborhood.

“We are committed to diverse business development in the North Charleston area, where Reynolds Avenue is a hub of economic and social activities,” says Lowcountry Local First’s Executive Director, Jamee Haley. “This project offers residents and stakeholders the opportunity to invest in careers, company, and community through a competition for storefront space. Our goal is to provide support that will produce long-term entrepreneurial success for motivated business owners.”

The full list of winners and more details can be found online.

ABOUT LOWCOUNTRY LOCAL FIRST
Lowcountry Local First cultivates an economy anchored in local ownership, because local-independent businesses are the cornerstone of our culture, economy, and character