Below are articles and other resource links to assist you and your small business with prevention, response and financial resources should you be impacted by the Coronavirus.

Small Business Stabilization Forgivable Loan - NOW TAKING APPLICATIONS

Applications will be accepted from qualified for-profit, privately held small businesses that have been in business for at least a year (as of April 1, 2020) and located within the corporate limits of the City of Columbia, South Carolina. All qualified applicants must illustrate the economic injury suffered as a result of COVID-19. The loan is for a period of two (2) years with 50% of the original loan forgiven annually at the anniversary of the origination date of the loan. Businesses must remain in good standing throughout the term of the loan in order to receive forgiveness.

Small Business Stabilization Forgivable Loan Guidelines 

Small Business Stabilization Forgivable Loan:  Online Application

City of Columbia, SC: Stay-At-Home Ordinance - - Effective 12:01 am Sunday, 3/29/2020

Columbia City Council passed a stay-at-home ordinance Thursday afternoon, 3/26/20, in an attempt to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.  It means all non-essential businesses in Columbia are ordered to close for two weeks, and residents have to stay at home unless they are walking outside, or going to work or shop at an essential business.
Stay-At-Home Ordinance
Stay-At-Home Ordinance FAQs

U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor Announce Plan to Implement Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Businesses to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus-Related Leave

News Release:  Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small & Midsize Businesses

US Department of Labor

The Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
COVID-19 and the Workplace

"U.S. Department of Labor Announces Availability of Up to $100 Million In National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grants in "Response to COVID-19 Outbreak"
National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grants

SBA Express Bridge Loan Program Now Available!

Express Bridge Loan Program Now Available:  The Express Bridge loan program allows SBA Express lenders to provide expedited financing to small businesses located in declared disaster areas. Express Bridge loans are intended to be interim loans. Businesses use these funds for disaster-related purposes while they apply for and await long-term financing.
SBA Express Bridge Loan Program Guide

SBA:  Small Business Disaster Assistance for COVID-19 
SBA:  FACT SHEET - Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
SBA:  Low-Interest Working Capital Loans - Eligibility Areas 

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance.  Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) - Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives , small business engaged in aquaculture, and most private , non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.  These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.  The deadline to apply is December 21, 2020. 
View SBA Slide Presentation:  EIDL Apply Online Details
SBA:  Economic Injury Disaster Loans 

Traditional SBA Lenders CANNOT process SBA Disaster Loans. Once your state and area obtain the Local Disaster Declaration, your company can apply directly to the SBA Disaster Office for long term loans with reasonable interest rates.
Apply Directly:  SBA Disaster Office

Click Here to Complete the Survey

Survey Results


This Act, signed into law on March 18, 2020, contains the following:
>  Emergency Paid Sick Leave & Emergency Family Medical Leave (What this Bill Does - Fact Sheet)
>  Coverage for COVID-19 Testing 
>  Expansion of Unemployment Benefits 


South Carolina Department of Revenue: March 25,2020

South Carolina Further Extends 2019 Income Tax Filing and Payment Due Dates

Internal Revenue Service: Refunds, Delay Payments & File Extension

In response to #COVID19, #IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15 deadline, IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.  Many taxpayers can delay tax payments to the #IRS until 7/15/2020 without penalties or interest. File a return or request a filing extension by April 15. No additional filing is necessary for the payment extension: 

Center for Disease Control
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers 

US Depatment of Veteran Affairs 
What is VA doing?

Social Security Administration
How can I stay updated about what SSA is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Medicare & Coronavirus

Federal Student Aid
Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents

Information Provided by the City of Columbia
Preventative Measures for Coronavirus & Flu

SC Department of Commerce
Covid-19 Business Resource Center

SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce
Covid-19 Impact on Small Business: UPDATE and INFORMATION

Richland County Public Library:  Support for Small Business
Covid-19:  Resources for Small Businesses


Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation Grants to Aid COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Coronovirus Relief Grants

Facebook:  Facebook is offering $100M in Cash Grants and Ad Credits
FB Small Business Grants Program

Small Businesses Seeking Funding:  Coronavirus Impact & Advise 
Article:  FORBES:  Bernhard Schroeder, Senior Contributor
The Impact Of Coronavirus: Advice For Funded Small Businesses And Those Seeking Funding




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.

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. 


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.


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.

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 Commercial Retention & Redevelopment Program (CRR).  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

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]