CIU Helping Entrepreneurs Grow Their Business

March 31, 2017

By Bob Holmes

Grace Whitbeck makes and sells what she calls an eclectic line of jewelry “with an unpolished look.” Her business is called Alabaster and she has a dream to make enough money in her business to help fund ministries that assist victims caught in the human trafficking trade. That’s why she attended the March 30 “Grow Your Business” event at in the new Launch! Pad located in Columbia International University’s Entrepreneurial Center.

The free event was hosted by CIU’s Business & Organizational Leadership program that has opened the Entrepreneurial Center in the Ridderhof Building, and was sponsored by 92.1 FM HIS Radio and the Midlands Christian Business Directory. Featured speakers were Stacey Gurley, a business and ministry account manager at HIS Radio and David Tanner, founder of the Midlands Christian Business Directory. They covered topics such as targeting a customer base and how to get a business website top rankings in a Google search.

“It was great,” Whitbeck said as the event concluded. “This was really helpful and has given me a vision for what I need to do for my website and what I should include on it and where best to use my time.”  

Clarence Garner, who is getting started in a sports video company called cg3productions also benefitted from the tips on getting his website noticed, as well as the reminder to concentrate on customer service.

“Learn who you are reaching out to and keep in touch with them is the main thing,” Garner said.

Door prizes were awarded at the event with the grand prize being a business consultation with a team of CIU Business & Organizational Leadership (BOL) students.

Dr. Scott Adams, the director of BOL, welcomed the entrepreneurs to the campus. He was joined by CIU Community Ambassador Randy Halfacre. Halfacre is a former mayor of nearby Lexington and former president and CEO of the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center.

Adams says “Grow Your Business” is just the first of more events to come geared toward assisting the Columbia area business community.   

“CIU is excited to bring Columbia area businesses and entrepreneurs to the Launch! Pad at CIU,” Adams said. “It’s our hope to assist the business community in their success, as together we make the Midlands of South Carolina a center for strong commerce.” 

Want to study business in college? Check out CIU's Business & Organizational Leadership major. For more information: (800) 777-2227,, or apply now.