The College of Charleston School of Business announces a new partnership with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce to support top priorities at the Chamber. The joint project will be to evaluate small business and entrepreneur growth across South Carolina. The School of Business will allocate funding and resources to measure the Chamber’s FastTracSC program, its effectiveness in helping entrepreneurs launch viable businesses in South Carolina, any resulting job creation through small businesses, and opportunities to improve the educational and professional development offerings beyond FastTracSC.
The program funding is made possible by Justin Redfearn McLain, a South Carolina native, a private equity investor, CEO of Endeavor, a member of the School’s Board of Governors and an alumnus of the College who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in business administration and biology, and a minor in economics. McLain’s interest is in fostering small business growth and job creation statewide. He views the partnership with the Chamber as an opportunity to develop the skills needed for entrepreneurs to succeed with start up ventures.
“I am very grateful to Justin McLain who, as a successful entrepreneurial business leader, understands what’s needed for viable business start ups,” says Alan T. Shao, Dean of the School of Business and board member at the Charleston Metro Chamber. “Our tangible, meaningful relationship with the Chamber is important because we can help identify and build the skills and program needed for entrepreneurs. Moving forward with ways to improve small business development in the state demonstrates the School’s commitment to entrepreneurship.”
Scope of Project
The project involves evaluating and updating a database of nearly 1,200 South Carolina entrepreneurs who attended a FastTracSC program in the past. Dr. Robert Pitts, professor of marketing in the School of Business, will lead a team of student interns who will survey the participants in the database to better understand the value of the program, whether they launched viable businesses, if they are still operational today, and the net contribution to South Carolina’s employment and economic output. The data collected will serve as a baseline for measuring the training program and discovering needs for additional entrepreneur and small business resources. The target completion date for a final report with recommendations on areas for improvement is July 1, 2011.
“The School of Business and Justin McLain have the resources and knowledge to help continue our efforts supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs in South Carolina. We value their critical assessment and direction,” says Robert W. Pearce, Jr., Charleston Metro Chamber Chairman of the Board. “Our Chamber leads the state in entrepreneurship training initiatives and we work with training partners across the state resulting in small business and economic growth.”