Jim Johnson has accepted the job of director for the South Carolina State University region of the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers.
In his new role, the Orangeburg native will oversee seven counties.
The SBDC is a group of 21 centers set up throughout South Carolina to offer free consulting and cost-effective training for entrepreneurs of small businesses. The centers offer advice and assistance with economic development issues and facilitating increased employment and capital investment for new and existing small businesses.
Johnson previously chaired the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.
“I have always been involved in the community,” he said. “As chairman of the chamber, I was given the opportunity to work with other businesses in a helpful capacity. I loved all aspects of the chamber’s role.
“When I discovered the position for the SBDC, I knew it was made for me," Johnson said. "I enjoy working with small business people one on one and helping them succeed. I truly want to help the local economies of our community grow.”
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the College of Charleston and a master's degree in business administration from Claflin University. He owned and operated a medical supply company for 18 years, and he was the owner-operator of the All Star Deli in Orangeburg for seven years.
Johnson said his three main goals in his new job will be improving the quality of customer service, improving communications of the services SBDC provides, and developing fresh and innovative programs.
“An organization must be innovative to stay relevant, and looking at Orangeburg and surrounding counties, agribusiness is their number one product,” Johnson said. “We will be developing a pilot Agribusiness Consultant Program in our region to help those in the agribusiness industry."
In the community, Johnson serves as the chairman of the Orangeburg County Elections Commission and as commissioner of the Edisto District for the Boy Scouts of America.
He has served as chairman of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Orangeburg Rotary Club and received an award for Orangeburg Business Person of the Year.
“Having owned several businesses of his own, Jim comes to the SC SBDC with a wealth of experience which will be invaluable in assisting the companies we serve,” SBDC State Director Michele Abraham said. “As a native of the Orangeburg area, he also is very knowledgeable of these communities and the needs of entrepreneurs who are trying to grow businesses in that region."