By: Laura J. McKenzie
South Carolina Promise Zone team members learned about a variety of business opportunities at meeting hosted by Anovotek at its research and development facility in Barnwell.
The meeting was held Tuesday Nov. 27 with over 16 members attending.
The S.C. Promise Zone, funded by the federal government and whose lead organization is SouthernCarolina Alliance, “is a program to give challenged places a better chance at getting federal grants and other help,” according to its website. Included in the Promise Zone are all of Allendale, Bamberg and Hampton counties as well as significant parts of Barnwell, Colleton and Jasper counties.
Members were welcomed by Promise Zone coordinator Julie Dempsey who organized the November meeting.
Guest speaker was Joseph Dukes with the S.C. Community Loan Fund (SCCLF). The SCCLF is a non-profit organization “that transforms and revitalizes communities throughout South Carolina by financing projects that provide housing, access to food and essential services, attract businesses, employ community members and stimulate economy activity.”
Dukes told members that a lot of people, even those who have been in business for years, don’t unlock their potential by not having a business plan. He also noted that minorities make up 35 percent of the population and own about 10 percent of small businesses.
He gave an overview an upcoming Local Entrepreneur Acceleration Program (LEAP) program, whereby potential minority and women entrepreneurs complete a 12-week course and compete for a $10,000 grant to start their business. “It is like the show ‘Shark Tank’ but on a smaller scale,” said Dukes.
Cost to apply for the course is $100 which is refundable to those who complete the course. Applications are available at www.sccommunityloanfund.org/leap.
Anovotek has offered space at its Main Street location for the LEAP students to meet.
Following the presentation, Anovotek President Don Alexander and Director of Operations Daniel Alexander gave members an overview of Anovotek (which is Latin for ‘new technology’) and a tour of its R&D Facility located at 9075 Patterson Street in Barnwell.
Don Alexander explained that the company, formed in 2003, is a technology and science-based business that brings performance features to primarily textile projects. He said the entrepreneurial business provides consulting worldwide, help coordinate supply-chain efforts for business and industry, as well as add performance features to their own products which sell on Amazon and locally.
Their R&D facility enables Anovotek to develop and test products on a small scale which can then be produced or sold on the global market, said Alexander.
Some of those performance features includes odor control, insect repellent, sun protection and scent additives, said Daniel Alexander. He explained how the company is able to use the internet and digital tools to compete on a global platform.
For example, Anovotek’s Insect Xtreme shirts are sold on Amazon and other products are being launched in 2020.
The Alexanders said they are “an example of how small rural businesses can compete in a changing economy where internet shopping is dramatically on the rise.”
The members were provided samples of aloe-infused socks before ending the meeting.
Dempsey said the South Carolina Promise Zone meetings are “an opportunity to showcase the awesome resources we have in our area.” She said the members get to “connect and share with the chance to make a regional difference.”
As published in The People-Sentinel.