Small Business Grants & Incentives


The City of Abbeville is seeking to encourage and induce new investment in the community that will strengthen the local economy, create new job opportunities and encourage the establishment and growth of new businesses. To achieve these objectives the Community Development Department, in conjunction with the City Manager’s Office, has prepared this Small Business Inventive Plan that identifies the goals and methods of achieving those objectives.  This plan has been developed to bring about positive economic, social and cultural impacts within the City, enhance the quality of life of the City’s citizens, and encourage private investment through local Development Incentives.  Given the competitive nature of economic development within the State of South Carolina and indeed the entire region, an incentive strategy, as outlined in this Small Business Inventive Plan, will be critical to ensuring the long term economic vitality of the City.

Funding Priorities

The Funding priorities of the City’s Small Business Grants and Program are as follows:

  • Building Improvements/Renovations
    • Capital Purchases
  • Projects which will result in New Business Investment and the expansion of Current Businesses
    • (The hiring of additional employees)
  • Projects which demonstrate significant private investment

Brief Overview

The following overview will go into some detail describing the funding mechanisms of the Business Incentive Plan; which can be broken down into four distinct parts; a Small Business Grants Program, the Bailey Bill Incentive, Large Investment Incentive, Utility Incentive, and the Fire Suppression Reimbursement Program. The availability of all incentives is determined annually through the City’s Budgetary Process.

The Business Grants Program consists of four separate annual grant programs, which will essentially function as “conditional grants”; meaning that if the recipient upholds their terms, they will not be required to pay the grant back. However, should they not meet the terms of the grant they would be required to repay the funds. This helps to ensure that public funds granted out in this program are able to be recouped should a recipient move their business to another town, or simply not follow the terms of the contract.

The Bailey Bill Incentive is a tax abatement incentive which encourages the rehabilitation of historic properties. Properties must be located in the City’s Historic District and be 50 years old or be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The minimum required investment to receive the incentive is 50% of the building’s current assessed or appraised value. More information on this incentive can be found at:

The Large Investment Incentive Requires a minimum total project cost (private investment) of $750,000 into a commercial property that has been deemed to have significant economic, historical, and/or cultural value to the City of Abbeville and that without a substantial and immediate public/private investment would likely deteriorate beyond a usable condition not only rendering the commercial property in question nonviable and in a blighted condition, but also damaging the value and viability of surrounding properties as well.

The Utility Incentive Only effects New Businesses or properties over 15,000 sq ft. and requires a minimum investment of $750,000 or 75% of the current assessed value of the property. Businesses interested in this incentive should contact the City to determine their eligibility.

The Fire Suppression Reimbursement Program Requires the installation of a permitted Fire Suppression (Sprinkler) System in an existing commercial structure inside the City’s Historic District. If awarded, the reimbursement will be paid in annual installments for up to 10 years after the installation and inspection of the project is complete. Businesses interested in this incentive should contact the City to determine their eligibility. 

*All grant and incentive funds are only to be used for building improvements and equipment purchases, with building improvements being given the highest priority. Grants funds are not permitted for merchandise, staff salaries, etc.

Justification: Having recognized that the establishment, growth, and success of a small business is first predicated on market demand for the products or services being provided, as well as sound management and financial stability; it has also been recognized by the City that the Business Incentives outlined in this plan will facilitate a business friendly climate while helping City businesses reinvest in themselves, jumpstarting new private investment, unlocking the City’s economic potential, and ensuring that the City’s Economy is positioned for future growth. 

Full Small Business Incentive Plan    Small Business FAQ Sheet

Example Small Business Plan            The Nest, Grant Application Guide

Application Process

(Small Business Grants)

The City began accepting applications for its incentives in FY 2019. Eligible businesses and commercial property owners will submit an application, which will contain the intended use of Funds, to the City by the application deadline for that year. This application process will be available entirely online with paper copies available as well. Applications will then be reviewed by designated staff members appointed by the City Manager. Priority will be determined based on need and other selection criteria discussed in further detail below. Submission of an application is NOT a guarantee of Funding.  Find individual applications here:

Eligible Applicants

Eligible Applicants for Grants are as follows:

  • The applicant must fit in the definition of small businesses as defined by the City of Abbeville
    • (15 Full-Time) employees or less.
  • The recipient business or property must be located within the city limits of the City of Abbeville.
    • The businesses must be for-profit.
  •  Applicants must agree to provide all information and business records requested pertaining to the grant or business during the application process.

Development Incentive recipients are not required to be a Small Business as defined by the City of Abbeville.

Application Requirements

Physical Applications for grants will consist of:

  •  Business Plan
  • Personal Tax Statements for all principals of the business for the past 3 years
  • If an existing business, Federal Business tax returns for the past 3 years
  • Project Details
    • If possible, projects will utilize local labor, contractors, etc. ensuring these funds remain in the local economy
    • Applicants need to submit cost estimates from a certified contractor to justify request
  • Given that is program done through reimbursements, applicants are strongly encouraged to demonstrate their ability to finance the project up front; through either a 3rd party lender or their own dollars.

These applications can be found online.  City staff may request additional documentation during the application process.

Selection Criteria

A scoring matrix will be generated each grant cycle to evaluate the Small Business Grant Applications.

In general, the following evaluation criteria will be used:

  • Projects that have the largest economic benefit for the City
    • Job Creation, conversion of formerly dilapidated buildings, etc
  • Projects that have higher private to public dollar ratios
    • Applicants which contribute a larger portion of their own funds will receive a higher score for this selection criteria 
  • Need for the Project
    • For the HDBIG: How will this project facilitate the Preservation/Restoration of Buildings within the Historic District? 
    • For the NBG: How will this project facilitate the opening of a business? 
    • For EBG: How will this project facilitate the expansion and/or continued operations of an existing business? 
    • For the EEG: How will this project facilitate energy savings?
  • Public Benefit
    • How does this project benefit residents and visitors?
  • Project and Business Viability
    • Is this project and associated business viable?

Applications that are not complete or are not turned in by the deadline will be disqualified from consideration in that cycle.

  • The business or organizations is not owned or operated by a member or direct relative of the governing board or employee of the City of Abbeville.  Direct Relative is defined as spouses, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, children, siblings, nieces, or nephews, whether by blood, adoption, or marriage.

Verification and Disbursement of Funds

(All Grants)

Businesses which apply for and receive funding must provide evidence that the submitted project has been carried out to completion in order to receive grant and incentive reimbursements. The required evidence will consist of but is not limited to:

  • Before and after photos – (Before Photos should also be submitted with Application)
  • Proof of payment (Cleared Check, Credit Card Transaction Receipt, etc)
  • Signed Verification letter by Vendor or Contractor

Once awarded, funds will be disbursed in the form of a reimbursement after the completion of the project. Recipients of grants and incentives should speak with City Staff and look over their grant/incentive contract to ensure that they understand all verification requirements in order to receive their grant/incentive award.