New Small Business Center head combines passions to support entrepreneurs
By: Thomas Sherrill, The News Reporter
Pamela Young Jacobs, Director of the Small Business Center
Years after graduating from Southeastern Community College, Pamela Young Jacobs returned to campus this month in a position designed to help small businesses thrive.
“I started my journey at SCC years ago as a student. It feels great to be back on campus. The environment is so conducive to the personal success of our students and campus community,” Jacobs said. “I love the fact that I have the opportunity to build a legacy at SCC in helping students and small businesses succeed. I am so honored and proud to be a member of the Rams family.”
“SCC is excited to have Ms. Jacobs join the staff as the new Director of the Small Business Center. The center is a great resource for our community,” said SCC spokesperson Haylee Damato.
Jacobs, who is chair of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe and a former county school board candidate, has worked in small business and economic development most of her life in Columbus County.
“I began my journey into the small business world around 13 years old. My father owned a small landscaping business and my job was to keep payroll by hand on a very large ledger. I learned the importance of hard work, early mornings, managing projects, hiring employees and a strong work ethic,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said her dad only had an eighth-grade education, so she became an integral part of the company’s growth.
“Over the years his business grew from a small landscaping company to a multimillion-dollar corporation and the first 8(a) company in the area,” Jacobs said. “His reputation for good work was impeccable.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 8(a) companies are small businesses with at least 51% ownership and control by “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” that qualify for assistance from a business development program within the Small Business Administration.
Pamela Young Jacobs’ proudest business achievements came after her father died in 2001, when she won her first contract — a five-year, $10 million contract at Charleston Air Force Base — followed by winning an economic development award for helping other small businesses succeed.
“Everything I learned from business conception to expansion came full circle on that day, and it became my goal to help others achieve the success that our company was afforded,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs earned an associate degree in business and finance from SCC and a bachelor’s from UNC Pembroke. In addition to serving in various roles on the Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Council, Jacobs has been a high school coach and an advisory council member for East Columbus High School. She worked multiple years in healthcare and youth services. Jacobs most recently served as director of health information technology at Signet Healthcare and the owner of Songbird Enterprise.
When the small business director position at SCC became available, Jacobs saw a way to go back to her roots in more ways than one.
“There are two passions in my life, the success of students and the success of small businesses. When the position at Southeastern presented itself, I felt that it was the perfect fit for who I am and the perfect opportunity to help others succeed,” Jacobs said. “I realized that this was an opportunity to not only put my degrees to work but the knowledge that I have acquired throughout my life.”
Jacobs, who started in her new position May 3, said she’s excited to build bridges to the community.
“Small business owners are some of the most hard-working individuals you will find because their livelihoods are based upon the success of their company. My goal is to help our small business owners achieve that success,” Jacobs said.
She explained that her short-term goals include reconnecting with businesses “because the college has not had a full-time director in some time.
“COVID-19 has taken a toll on so many individuals. My goal is to contact our small businesses, do an assessment and share what the Small Business Center can do to offer recovery assistance. Along with our core webinars that the college offers, I plan to offer customized seminars according to specific business needs,” Jacobs said.