|MISSION: The Office of Business Opportunities (OBO) is committed to supporting initiatives that benefit small, minority, veteran, and women owned businesses located in, or that want to do business with, the City of Columbia. This is accomplished by providing creative financing, technical assistance and capacity building opportunities that contribute to the economic growth of all communities.|
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, EDUCATION & ADVOCACY:
Business development assistance and courses for start-ups and existing businesses looking to grow and expand covering topics including: marketing, use of social media, business plan development, finances, legal issues, and more.
CONTRACTOR & SUPPLIER DIVERSITY:
OBO - Ready to discover your next opportunity?
Need an Opportunity to Start or Grow your Small Business
Small businesses drive the U.S. economy by providing jobs for over half of the nation’s private workforce. Yet small businesses also face many obstacles that stall or prevent their growth and development, including access to capital, effective marketing strategies, adequate accounting systems, and comprehensive business plans.
An opportunity is a chance for advancement and progress. The Office of Business “Opportunities” uses several economic development tools to provide creative business opportunities to address many of the obstacles that face small businesses.
How We Do It…
The Office of Business Opportunities has three divisions that are designed to help meet the needs of small, minority and women owned businesses in the City of Columbia: (1) commercial lending; (2) technical assistance, education and advocacy; and (3) contractor and supplier diversity.
The City invests dollars to do economic development in disadvantaged areas and corridors that are not generally thriving through normal operations of private market activity. Our commercial lending program is designed to promote new investment in business growth and job creation.
In addition to traditional commercial loans, the City has a Commercial Retention & Redevelopment Program (CRR). The purpose of this program is to help merchants improve the look of their individual buildings, while improving the overall aesthetic quality of our commercial corridors and business districts.
Technical Assistance, Education & Advocacy:
OBO, both directly and through its partner network, offers a broad range of programs and services to help businesses maintain their competitive edge. These programs and services include:
• Creating Your Business Plan
• Development of Marketing Strategies
• Website Development
• Market Research
• Expansion Strategies
• Social Media Training
Contractor and Supplier Diversity:
It is the policy of the City of Columbia to promote and encourage contracting and supplier opportunities for small, minority and women owned business enterprises (SMWBEs), which have traditionally been underutilized in City Contracts. The City of Columbia has developed a Mentor Protégé Program, Local Business Enterprise Preference and Subcontractor Outreach Program to provide meaningful project opportunities for these businesses.
The OBO is charged with recruiting SMWBEs and building their capacity so that they competitively bid on city opportunities.
Contractors, Small & Minority-owned Business Opportunities
CDBE Application Form and Current CDBE & DBE Directories:
OBO is waiting to hear from you: 803.545.3950 or [email protected]