The Chamber is here to assist you in many ways from opening a new business to obtaining information to make your existing business more successful. Our goal is simple: if you have a business need, we will help you find the solution. Of course, the only way this is possible is through numerous partnerships we have developed for our members and local citizens with other organizations. These partnerships include:
- Small Business Development Center at Winthrop University
- Entrepreneur Network at York Technical College
- The Catawba Regional Development Corporation
- South Carolina Small Business Administration
Each of these organizations is a valuable resource for start-up businesses and existing businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to open my own business, how do I get started?
The first place to start is to visit the SBDC website and review their available resources. This website includes a great questionnaire to ask yourself the tough realistic questions to consider before starting your own business. Another tool is a business plan template that will assist you in preparing the necessary research before launching your business. As a partner with the SBDC, the Chamber will be glad to schedule a free consultation with a SBDC representative to discuss your plans.
I have a great name for my business but how do I know if that name has been taken?
Great question. The South Carolina Secretary of State office can assist with this issue. They will tell you if your business name is available and you can also register your business on the Secretary of State website. They can also tell you what other state requirements may be necessary for your specific business.
Where can I go to receive a grant or financing for my business?
We have all seen the commercials outlining all the "free" money available to open your business; but most of us have yet to discover that "pot-of-gold". However, this is a valid question and there is money available for start-up and existing businesses. The Catawba Regional Development Corporation and the Small Business Administration can assist you in locating small business loans and explaining loan programs available through the state and federal government.
Do I need a license or permit to open my business?
Yes, no and maybe. It depends on what type of business you are planning to open and where the business will be located. For example most municipalities require a business license, while most counties do not. Permits are another issue all together. Depending on the type of business, permits may be required from a number of agencies including DHEC and the FDA. A start-up business can start this discussion with a representative of the SBDC.
I have my own business already but I need more customers?
Here is where your Chamber membership is a great value. Review our full list of benefits on our member benefits page.
Throughout the year, the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce works to provide outstanding events for you to promote your business while networking with other members and the Lancaster community; outstanding opportunities to become knowledgeable about our local, state and federal governments; and an outstanding economic forum.
Training/educational opportunities are also offered through Leadership Lancaster; Lunch & Learn Small Business Series; and the Communications and Presentation Training program.
The Lancaster County Chamber's Annual Meeting is the "don't miss" event of the year. Conducted each January, new officers are recognized, along with the announcement of our Small Business of the Year, our Lancaster County Volunteer of the Year, and our Citizenship and Service Award recipient. The event includes a "WINE & STEIN" reception and live band. Several awards are presented at the annual event including Small Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and the Citizenship and Service Awards.
The annual "Rub of the Green" Golf tournament and special Business After Hours/Awards Presentation are a fall highlight for area golfers. The Chamber classic is sponsored by Founders Federal Credit Union at the Lancaster Golf Club and theBusiness After Hours follows the tournament's conclusion.
Each year the City of Lancaster, Lancaster County, Lancaster County School District, University of South Carolina Lancaster and York Technical College are invited to address the Chamber membership—highlighting the past year, and updating the business community about their respective coming fiscal year at the State of the Community and State of Education breakfast events.
The annual Legislative Breakfast provides Lancaster's business community with a legislative update on current activities in Columbia and Washington from our local delegation to Columbia, our U.S. Representative or Senator, and the S.C. State Chamber of Commerce President.
Leadership Lancaster's mission is to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing dynamic leadership for Lancaster companies. The seven-month program is designed to both challenge and educate potential community leaders about the opportunities, goals and needs of the community as well as the dynamics of social and economic change, and to identify organizational and individual opportunities for their personal involvement in the community.
The "Lunch & Learn" series provides educational opportunities for small businesses. These programs are designed to fit the schedules of small business owners/representatives by conducting sessions during lunch on an informal basis, and also permitting time for questions at its conclusion. Past topics have included retirement programs for small businesses, OSHA safety, identity theft, and employee health care.
SMALL BUSINESS COUNCIL - 2014
Franklin Sparkman, Jr., Chair
Richard Chandler’s Collision Center
P & J Sales, Inc.
Hutchens, Moore & Associates
Miller Lawrence, LLC
Small Business Development Center
Pasquine-Schellenberg Enterprises, Inc.
First Citizens Bank