Department of Energy

Secretary Chu Meets with South Carolina Small Businesses

August 24, 2011

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Congressman James Clyburn speaks to South Carolina small business owners | Courtesy of Damien LaVera

Congressman James Clyburn speaks to South Carolina small business owners | Courtesy of Damien LaVera

South Carolina’s Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is helping to leverage local ingenuity and entrepreneurship to create jobs and build a strong clean energy economy.

Yesterday, Secretary Chu joined with Congressman James Clyburn at OCtech to meet with small business owners from across the state. As the Secretary noted, “Small businesses are the engine of the American economy, powering job growth and economic productivity.”

In the United States, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. As part of the discussion, Secretary Chu and Congressman Clyburn shared some of the resources that agencies have developed to help small businesses find more ways to work with the government. For example, the Energy Department has created a review team of experts focused on identifying future prime and subcontracting opportunities, giving companies greater insight into the federal contracting process. The Department has also established a Mentor-Protégé Program through which small businesses are paired with prime contractors, creating long-lasting relationships for sharing best practices and lessons learned.

While at OCtech, the Secretary and Congressman Clyburn also joined college officials to celebrate a ribbon-cutting at its Alternative Energy Park. The facility will give students hands-on experience and training so that they can help the U.S. meet future energy needs, deploy low-carbon technologies and lead in the global clean energy race.

While in South Carolina, Secretary Chu also visited the University of South Carolina and toured USC research facilities dedicated to advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. He met with local industry leaders as well as the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance.