Local Works, Lowcountry Local First’s open-sector coworking space for entrepreneurs and start-ups, has received $50,000 for being a winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Local Works was one of 84 accelerators from 32 states and was the only accelerator chosen from South Carolina. The annual competition aims to draw attention and funding to parts of the country with gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
More than 400 applications were reviewed by a panel of 100 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.
“These awards deliver on a longstanding commitment at SBA to strengthen and modernize these support systems, especially in parts of the country where access to capital has been a major barrier to starting a business,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.
“Local Works supports groups often underrepresented in traditional coworking or accelerator spaces, including Main Street entrepreneurs, women, farmers, creatives and other businesses that create the majority of jobs in the community," said Jamee Haley, executive director of Lowcountry Local First.
Local Works was launched in 2014 as a project of Lowcountry Local First to provide an open-sector coworking space for entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as offer affordable space for community businesses. The 3,000-square-foot facility currently hosts 40 entrepreneurs from 16 different industries, with 60 percent women-owned or led businesses.