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.


Provides 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. 


Provides 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.


Provides 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 Access to Capital  - Wednesday, 6/6/18

Access to Capital Symposium 

June 6, 2018


Then plan to attend a lender-borrower workshop that will address current lending practices. Access to capital symposium is a lender matchmaker speed-networking event between lending organizations and small business owners. This is a unique opportunity designed to help small businesses assess their lending options in the most efficient way. This year, the event will consist of matchmaking sessions, allowing for one-on-one (15 minute) meetings with lending organizations.

For more information, please contact [email protected] .

Register NOW!

Great Success!!

City Held Third Minority Business Opportunity Conference

Minority Business Opportunity Conference 2018:  Wednesday, April 4, 2018

On Wednesday, April 4, the City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities held its third Minority Business Opportunity Conference (Minority BOC) at the Venue on Main. Minority business owners had the opportunity to learn about City efforts to grow the number of companies that they make routine and emergency purchases from. Participants heard from City leaders, learned about the City’s procurement procedures & special programs, and met with City department staff that make purchasing decisions.

Melissa Lindler, Office of Business Opportunities director said, “The purpose of the Minority BOC was to support our Diversity Strategy by providing small businesses and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) with an opportunity to introduce their various products and services while directly interacting with City departments and key purchasing officials to learn more about the City’s procurement process.”
During the Minority BOC, 15 City departments met with over 75 local minority business owners. These owners were able to learn what each City department needed and then discuss products and/or services they are able to provide.

Utilities & Engineering, Public Works, Information Technology, Parks and Recreation and Public Relations were some of the departments in attendance. The services that local businesses offered varied greatly and some of those categories were janitorial services, advertising/marketing, construction, printing, environmental testing, landscaping, consulting, training and catering.
Participants were also given resource guides and other helpful information on available programs/resources that are accessible to them through the Office of Business Opportunities.

The Minority Business Opportunity Conference relates to the City Council’s Envision Columbia Vision Statement focus areas and goals:
•Focus area #1: Attracting & Retaining Talent
•Focus area #5: Economic Prosperity Endless Possibilities
•Focus area #7: Leading the Way in Innovative & High Quality Municipal Services

•Goal #1: Grow opportunities for entrepreneurship, business development and a skilled workforce to achieve a healthy economy.
•Goal #4: Collaborate and partner with entities within the Midlands region to become the state’s prime destination for residents, visitors and
•Goal #5: Provide high quality municipal services, efficiently, effectively and responsively.  

For more information, please contact the Office of Business Opportunities at (803) 545-3950.

Contact us 

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

Below are the City's CDBE Policy and Program Guidelines.  Please take a look and contact us to begin your qualifying process.

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

That's all it takes to qualify for CDBE Status - it's that simple!  LET'S GET STARTED 

We are waiting to hear from you:  803.545.3950

Photographs by Stuart Miles and chainat; Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net