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South Carolina small business profile

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South Carolina Small Business Profile - In South Carolina, small businesses are vital to the financial well-being of the state’s economy. Their contribution is essential for economic growth since they make up almost all employer firms in the state. As entrepreneurs and innovators, small business owners represented a diverse group in 2004 and continued to keep the state’s economy productive. The Small Business Profile provides information on the performance of small businesses in the state using the most current federal data available. This Small Business Profile was prepared by the U.S. Small Business Administration and provides information on the performance of small businesses in the state using the most current federal data available.

Number of Businesses

There were an estimated 312,108 small businesses in South Carolina in 2004. Of the 92,940 firms with employees, an estimated 97.3 percent, or 90,416, were small firms. In 2004, the estimated number of employer businesses increased by 2.1 percent. The number of self-employed persons (including incorporated) increased overall by 1.3 percent, from 179,586 in 2003 to 181,946 in 2004. Non-employer businesses numbered 221,692 in 2002, an increase of 4.4 percent since 2001, based on the most recent data available.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau; U.S. Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Women-Owned Businesses

In 2002 women-owned firms totaled 76,879, an increase of 20 percent from 1997, and generated $10.9 billion in revenues. Firms owned jointly by women and men numbered 28,232 with revenues of $6.4 billion. Women represented 35.6 percent of the self-employed persons in the state.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)

Minority-Owned Businesses

In 2002, Hispanic-owned firms numbered 3,019, an increase of 48 percent from 1997. Black-owned firms numbered 28,620, an increase of 23 percent; Asian-owned firms numbered 4,416, an increase of 28 percent; American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms numbered 1,445, an increase of 35 percent; and there were 58 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander-owned businesses.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)

Business Turnover

There were an estimated 11,745 new employer businesses in 2004, 9.2 percent more than the previous year. Business terminations numbered 10,975 in 2004, an increase of 2.5 percent. Business bankruptcies increased by 23.2 percent and totaled 175 in 2004.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)


Small firms with fewer than 500 employees numbered 76,473 in 2002 and employed 739,268 individuals, or 48 percent of the state’s non-farm private sector. Net job gains among firms with fewer than 20 employees totaled 8,271, while large firms with 500 or more employees lost 50,963 jobs between 2001 and 2002.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses.)

Small Business Income

Non-farm proprietors’ income, a partial measure of small business income, increased by 7.9 percent, from $6.6 billion in 2002 to $7.2 billion in 2003.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce.)


Commercial bank lenders are an important source of small business loans, and small firms usually rely on them for financing. Over the last 10 years the number of banks in South Carolina has increased. The Office of Advocacy has identified banks in each state that make the most loans to small businesses. This information is available in its banking studies at http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/lending.html.

See also


Small Business Administration