Sumter, Lee and Clarendon businesses affected by pandemic can apply for loans


MANNING - Businesses both large and small that have been affected by COVID-19 may be able to receive assistance through the South Carolina Business Load Fund.

"If your business has been impacted by COVID-19, you can apply for assistance," said Ed Brock, senior lending officer with the Catawba Regional Council of Governments. "The impact doesn't have to be major. It could be a downturn or a change in the way that you are now doing things."

The SCBLF has $8.2 million available in low-interest loans to assist businesses and agribusinesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SCBLF funds can be used independently or in conjunction with bank financing to fund eligible project costs.

Brock said that the funds could help businesses recover from an effect from COVID-19 or the funds could help businesses prepare themselves should an event like this occur again.

Vivian Fleming-McGhaney, chairwoman of the Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments and a member of Sumter County Council, said she was encouraged that COGs could assist businesses in this way.

"As our business community re-opens and faces challenges in the months ahead, this capital will be used to grow jobs, strengthen supply chains and aid in the economic recovery of our region and state."

Santee-Lynches COG is partnering with the Catawba Regional COG, the administrator of the fund.

"We are glad to see the COGs working together to help our state's businesses recover," said Catawba Regional COG Chairman Frank Hart, supervisor of Union County. "We are stronger when we support each other and work to efficiently and effectively deliver services to business and the public, regardless of political boundaries."

Businesses, including agribusinesses, in Clarendon, Sumter, Lee, Williamsburg, Calhoun, Florence, Orangeburg and Kershaw counties as well as Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Fairfield, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lancaster, Marion, Marlboro, Richland, Union and York counties are included.

The loan amounts range from $50,000 to $750,000 with fixed and below market interest rates. The terms of the loans are negotiable and the uses for the loan funds include fixed assets, technology, personal protective equipment (PPE) and working capital.

Businesses in Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties can contact Brock at, Tyler Lewis at or Sylvia Frierson at