@columbiaOBO


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.

COMMERCIAL RETENTION & REDEVELOPMENT:  
Financial assistance to start-up and existing businesses for growth, expansion, retention and the creation of new jobs, and assistance in the redevelopment of commercial corridors that have become significantly deteriorated within the City. 

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: 

Training and support for city initiatives designed to increase local contractor’s capacity to compete for government contracts and other procurement opportunities. We are also responsible for the implementation of the City’s Disparity Study Goals and Objectives.
Programs include: Sub-Contractor Outreach; Mentor Protégé; Local Business Enterprise; Columbia Disadvantage Business Enterprise; and Construction Management Training.


Small Business Training Beginning January 2019 - Sign-up NOW!


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.

Commercial Lending:

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 Façade Improvement Program.  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.

OBO Brochure

Contractors, Small & Minority-owned Business Opportunities


Contractors!  Apply NOW for 
Columbia Disadvantaged 
Business Enterprise (CDBE) Status!

Is your business:
1)  Located within the Columbia-Orangeburg-Newberry Combined Statistical Area (CSA)
2)  A Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

That's all it takes to qualify for CDBE Status - it's that simple!

Contact:  [email protected] 
or call:  803.545.3049 or 803.545.4185


Columbia Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Utilization Policy
Commercial Non-Discrimination and Columbia Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (CDBE) Utilization Policy

NOW AVAILABLE:
Columbia Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (CDBE) 
Program Guidelines


CDBE Application Form and Current CDBE & DBE Directories:

CDBE Application Form
CDBE Directory - Registered Columbia Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (Columbia ONLY)
DBE Directory - Registered Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (Outside of Columbia ONLY)

OBO is waiting to hear from you:  803.545.3950 or [email protected]