Programs & Events
The Chamber Retreat, a cherished tradition spanning nearly five decades, continues to play a pivotal role within our organization. Traditionally scheduled for the conclusion of January, this gathering serves as a valuable platform where local business leaders, community members, and elected officials converge to engage in meaningful dialogues about the Chamber's extensive contributions, community projects, and the pressing needs of our locality.
The annual Rub O’the Green Golf Tournament, customarily taking place each March on the Friday nearest to St. Patrick’s Day, is a delightful blend of networking, business, and enjoyment. This event not only enables us to commemorate our industry accomplishments but also provides a splendid occasion to spotlight our vibrant community. Moreover, it serves as an ideal platform for business leaders to introduce their clients or associates from distant regions to the Sumter business community, forging connections and revealing the multitude of opportunities Sumter has in store.
Designed to be the Chamber’s premier event, the Annual Gala is a celebration of the previous year’s achievements both for the Chamber as well as local business leaders. Awards such as the Philip L. Edwards Business Person of the Year, Non-Profit of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, Educator of the Year, ATHENA Recipient, and Military Citizen of the Year are presented. Incoming and outgoing board members are recognized, and the incoming Chair takes the gavel. The Annual Gala is a formal event that is typically held the first Thursday of April at the beginning of the Chamber’s fiscal year.
In observance of National Small Business Week, traditionally occurring during the initial full week of May, this annual affair pays tribute to the dedication, accomplishments, and triumphs of our small business members in the Greater Sumter region. Throughout the week, an array of programs and events is meticulously designed to empower and support our small business community. Notably, the pinnacle of the celebration is the Small Business Celebration, during which we honor the Small and Micro Business of the Year and award a scholarship to deserving recipients.
The Commander's Breakfast serves as a unique platform for Shaw AFB's leadership to engage with our local community. Typically, this event features prominent figures such as the Commander of the 20th Fighter Wing, Base Commander, and leaders from various units based at Shaw. These presentations play a crucial role in familiarizing our local citizens with the vital missions and activities carried out by the airmen and soldiers who call our community home and work diligently to safeguard our nation.
The Military Appreciation Picnic is held on Shaw AFB every year around the end of September and is a Thank You to the active duty airmen and soldiers as well as the DOD civilians working at Shaw AFB. Over 1000 hamburgers and hotdogs with sides are cooked, prepared, and served by volunteers, including local community leaders. Our member businesses also have an opportunity to set up a table at the event to showcase their goods and services.
The Porches of Sumter stands out as an eagerly awaited annual community gathering. It unfolds in an informal atmosphere, open to the public, and traditionally graces the first Thursday of October. Nestled in the historic downtown area of Sumter, this event sees gracious homeowners welcoming visitors onto their charming porches, enticing them to savor a delectable array of Southern culinary delights expertly crafted by local cooks, restaurants, and caterers.
Drawing in around 500 attendees, this diverse assembly reflects all facets of our community, converging to relish live music, delectable cuisine, and the warm embrace of Southern hospitality.
"SHE - See Her Empowered," a dynamic program tailored for women in business. SHE comprises three enlightening quarterly breakfast seminars, and the pinnacle of our initiative, "SHE Shines," a full-day summer symposium.
Our quarterly seminars feature a distinguished lineup of speakers, hailing from the local, state, and international arenas. These experts tackle an array of topics, focusing on issues relevant to women and fostering empowerment and upliftment.
"SHE Shines," our marquee event, serves as the crowning jewel of this program, where we celebrate the brilliance of women in business and explore opportunities for growth and success.
The State of Sumter is a prominent segment of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's enlightening Feed Your Mind Seminar Series. This event offers attendees a unique chance to stay abreast of the latest developments from key entities including the City of Sumter, Sumter County, the Sumter Economic Development Board, and The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce.
This occasion provides an invaluable opportunity to gain insights into what's new, what's on the horizon, the current challenges, and the achievements worth celebrating. We invite you to join us, alongside other influential figures from the business, civic, and community realms, in an engaging dialogue on the condition and future of Sumter, where we can collaboratively chart a path towards a prosperous tomorrow.
The Legislative Breakfast is an annual event, taking place at the outset of December, that provides a unique platform for interaction between business leaders, local elected officials, community members, enabling direct engagement with our local Legislative Delegation.
This gathering commences with an informative session, presenting a comprehensive overview of the achievements of the past year and outlining the prospective agenda for the upcoming legislative session. Following this, attendees are invited to pose questions about issues close to their hearts, seeking to elicit responses from our dedicated delegates in the State House. It's a valuable occasion for dialogue, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas to shape our community's future.
The State of Healthcare, a noteworthy component of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's enlightening Feed Your Mind Seminar Series, proudly presented by Duke Energy, offers a unique avenue for attendees to stay informed and connected with Sumter's healthcare leadership.
The healthcare industry holds a pivotal role within the United States economy, profoundly impacting people's lives, bolstering their health and well-being. Its significance is further underscored by its substantial economic footprint and consequential budgetary implications.
At this event, you will have the privilege of engaging with healthcare trailblazers who will shed light on the array of services available in our region, the formidable challenges they confront, and the profound influence the local healthcare system wields on our economy.
As a vital component of the Feed Your Mind Seminar Series, the "Sumter's State of Education" session features an insightful panel discussion. This discussion showcases participating schools within the Sumter region, offering a comprehensive overview of their educational initiatives. It delves into the multifaceted dimensions of education, examining its profound influence on students, the Sumter community, and the broader spectrum of workforce development.
In the framework of our enlightening Feed Your Mind Series, the "State of the Economy" session stands as a beacon, guiding our local business community towards a brighter future. In this pivotal gathering, we embark on a collective journey to comprehend our present circumstances and map our trajectory ahead. To illuminate the overall health of the local economy, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce has orchestrated a gathering of eminent leaders from our community. This illustrious panel typically features Bob Morgan, President and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, known for his insightful and engaging dialogue regarding our business economy's current state and the potential for effecting transformative change.
The Leadership Sumter Program, established more than three decades ago and recently revamped in 2014, has evolved into a dynamic nine-month journey. Centered on the cultivation of leadership skills, this comprehensive program offers a unique blend of readings, discussions, and hands-on projects, equipping professionals at every career stage with the tools to thrive.
At its core, Leadership Sumter is an invaluable investment in the future of Sumter, as it contributes to the growth and vitality of our community. With an annual class size ranging from 15 to 25 participants, drawn from diverse sectors encompassing business, industry, and public service, the program fosters a vibrant and well-rounded learning environment.
Commencing in September and culminating in a grand class graduation in May, this program serves as a robust foundation for fostering not only personal and professional growth but also the development of stronger leaders who, in turn, fortify the very fabric of our communities.
The FUEL Program stands as a dynamic and interactive course meticulously crafted to serve budding entrepreneurs and new business owners. Its core mission is to equip individuals with the essential knowledge, expert guidance, and critical resources required to maximize the chances of success when launching a new venture.
This annual seminar series spans seven enlightening weeks, offering an in-depth exploration of five pivotal areas of study: Finance, Legal, Insurance, Accounting, and Marketing. Each week, local industry leaders, renowned for their expertise, take the reins, providing practical insights and fostering the growth of future business leaders.
This exceptional program is open to the public, with class sizes thoughtfully limited to 20 participants, ensuring a personalized and engaging learning experience. By nurturing these burgeoning entrepreneurs, the FUEL Program not only drives individual achievement but also contributes to the broader landscape of entrepreneurial success.
The Golden Apple Awards are an opportunity to recognize students that exhibit outstanding character traits. Instead of focusing on academics or athletics like many forms of recognition, the Gold Apple Awards recognizes students for citizenship, honesty, integrity, stewardship, and honorable behavior. The winners are nominated by their teachers or administrators and their families are invited to attend the award presentations, which are held at 10 breakfasts throughout the school year one at each local middle and high schools
The Career Leadership Forums program allows for career professionals from a variety of career fields to interact with a group of students at each of the middle and high schools to help ignite the passion needed to develop a healthy perspective for their future careers, quality of life, and community. Over the course of 2 hours, roundtable and leadership discussions emphasize the importance of education, appearance, attire, attitude, attendance, punctuality, communication, initiative, and teamwork. In turn, the students form into small groups and select a company to visit for a firsthand look into the world of work.