City of Columbia taps Greg Davis to chair Minority Business Advisory Council
Columbia’s Minority Business Advisory Council now will be led by 20-year veteran Greg Davis, who is charged with expanding opportunities for minority businesses in the city.
Davis serves as the director of minority and small business affairs for the S.C. Department of Transportation. As chairman of the council, he will be tasked with developing resources and programs to grow the city’s minority business community.
“It’s like a big pond of opportunity, but there’s one little section that’s been carved out and those who have the proper license can have a special place away from big guys,” Davis said. “We want to give tools to fish in that … pond and better access to markets.”
The Minority Business Advisory Council was established in 2013 by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. The council is made up of 20 members in the areas of small business, academia, government and the private sector. They will partner with the city’s Office of Business Opportunities to advance minority business growth through training, procurement, employment and economic development.
“We are delighted to have Mr. Davis serve as the chair of the Mayor’s MBAC. His extensive experience working with minority businesses, as well as his current role with the SCDOT, will undoubtedly be an asset and help the committee develop clear goals and objectives that will benefit minority businesses,” said Tina Herbert, director of the Office of Business Opportunities. “OBO is looking forward to continuing to work with the committee and assisting in implementing its objectives.”
Davis said he has seen the number of minority businesses diminish in the Midlands.
“I think on a monthly basis I see established minority businesses closing their doors, and that saddens me,” he said. “Our job is to focus on, number one, what can we do to help those established businesses even if it means encouraging them to go into a new line of business, and second, help these new businesses get the foundation they need so they can grow in their markets.”
Davis said the three areas that minority businesses struggle with is access to markets, resources and capital and bonding, which keep business owners from tapping into government contracting opportunities.
“By the time they see all the construction going up, it’s too late. The party is over,” he said.
Davis said he can direct businesses to the people lending money at low interest rates to give business owners access to cash flow. He also said he can develop a timeline for businesses to get larger insurance bonds to access larger projects.
“Folks just don’t know what exists,” he said. “We want to bring everyone to table to help you with your business plan.”
Davis said he would work with the business council to develop a network of all the minority business associations, as well as local, state and federal resources to be a one-stop-shop for individuals and companies that need assistance. He also said he is excited to work with the OBO to build off their efforts to grow small business in Columbia.
“They’ve really been champions for small business for years,” Davis said. “While they do the day-in, day-out things, we can look at it from a higher level so we can identify some areas that we can improve or look into.”
“We provide immediate feedback,” he said. “It really is a good consortium.”
Davis graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in advertising and public relations. He also received a certification in Minority & Native American Business High Quality Service from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a Master Trainer Certification from the National Center for Construction Education and Research.
Davis previously served as the director of the South Carolina Minority Business Development Agency and the Small Business Development Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
He is also a board member of Young Life-Columbia, a volunteer at the United Way of America and a Midlands Regional Advisory Committee member.