80
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      County with highest unemployment looks to recruit small businesses

      Marion County has been given a $40,000 grant by the United States Department of Agriculture to team up with Strategic Capital Solutions and launch a small business assistance center program.

      The county has a 15.1% unemployment rate, the highest in South Carolina, and it wants to change that and help entrepreneurs open small businesses.

      As of right now, anyone who has an idea for a small business, but doesn't know where to start, or anyone who just needs help expanding their small business can come to the Marion County Administrative Office for assistance.

      "If they need to be in front of an attorney, our job is to make sure we have one for them to speak to, CPAs, etc. So we're actually building our resource center of individuals. We're not trying to have the expertise for everything, but be able to direct them to the people they need to see," Olgaretta White, Marion County Grants Coordinator said.

      White said there's no question she won't be able to find an answer to and looks forward to working with those who are ready to put their plans into action.

      "This will actually give me the opportunity to assist people with getting their visions together and hopefully start a business," White said.

      White said small businesses in Marion County basically helped the county survive the recession and thinks investing in them is a smart idea.

      "Small businesses actually kept us afloat, if you would, that it makes sense to actually invest more into our citizens and help them expand their ideas," White said.

      The grant money is only available for a year, but White said the county council will find a way to extend the program in other ways so that people can always have this resource to use.

      To get involved in the program and have your questions answered, call Olgaretta White at (843) 423-8203 extension 120.