‘The Climb Fund’ helping support local small businesses in South Carolina


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A nonprofit organization aimed at helping those struggling economically in the Lowcountry is rebranding itself. The group is previously known as ‘Leaders in Economic Opportunity Across South Carolina” is now called the ‘Climb Fund’.

The Climb Fund aims to use federal money to support local small businesses opening brick and mortar stores here in the Lowcountry.

“The Climb Fund helped us navigate the ins and outs from a popsicle vendor to becoming our first brick and mortar,” said Webb Chesshire, owner of Charleston Pops.

From storefronts to food trucks, local businesses are getting a helping hand to “climb up the economic ladder”.

“Without these guys, we wouldn’t have a chance to make this happen, this is a dream,” said Chad Williams, owner of Wabi- Sabi.

The group now known as Climb Fund helps rural, minority, and women- owned businesses to get a fair shot at creating jobs and building wealth. They have already helped create over 1000 jobs in the Lowcountry.

“So, not only do we provide the important money they need to start but also the education they need to thrive,” said Cindi Rourk, CEO of Climb Fund.

The group was granted three and a half million dollars to continue the work they are doing in South Carolina.

“South Carolina is the only state in the nation where every county is impacted by poverty,” said Rourk, CEO of Climb Fund.

With the help and guidance from the non-profit, businesses are setting new goals to succeed especially after a rough year from the pandemic.

Valienda Miller is the owner of the first and only black and female- owned book store in the state, Turning Page Book Shop. She says her goal is to put a book in every single child’s hand in the entire state and this money from Climb Fund is helping her dreams come true.

“Don’t give up, I don’t care how bad it gets don’t give u, keep praying,” Valienda Miller, owner of Turning Page Book Shop.

The Climb Fund doesn’t just create jobs and opportunities here in the Lowcountry but through the entire state.

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