In the challenging terrain of South Carolina, where achieving success as a minority-owned business poses unique challenges, Diane E. Sumpter stands as a guiding force, illuminating the path to prosperity. As the visionary founder and CEO of DESA, Inc., Sumpter has forged a legacy over two decades, showcasing unwavering commitment, particularly through her dynamic leadership at the South Carolina Minority Business Development Agency Business Center (MBDA).

Visionary Leadership

Sumpter’s leadership extends beyond the corporate corridors, reflecting a deep commitment to community betterment. As a community activist, she champions educational advancement and cultural awareness. As CEO, Sumpter transformed DESA from a local entity into a multifaceted corporate powerhouse with four major business lines spanning three states.

DESA’s diverse services, ranging from event management to construction oversight, facilities support, and administrative assistance, mirror Sumpter’s commitment to providing comprehensive solutions from inception to completion.

Legacy of Longevity

Under Sumpter’s leadership, DESA has overseen the operation of the South Carolina MBDA Business Center for nearly 30 years, solidifying its position as one of the longest-running centers in the MBDA network. Her commitment to minority and women-owned businesses traces back to her initial involvement as a subcontractor for the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Empowering Success: SC MBDA Business Center in Action

The success narrative of the South Carolina MBDA Business Center has catalyzed transformative change for minority-owned businesses in both South and North Carolina. The center’s impactful initiatives have paved the way for a series of successes and milestone achievements among minority-owned businesses. Notably, it played an instrumental role in the remarkable resurgence of Optus Bank, formerly known as South Carolina Community Bank, truly exemplifying a comeback story.

During the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 relief efforts, Optus Bank found a strategic ally in the SC MBDA Business Center. This alliance marked a turning point, aligning with Optus Bank’s commitment to empowering individuals to build wealth. Together, they facilitated nearly 2,000 PPP loans totaling $84 million, with a significant portion directed towards minority and women-owned businesses.

The success of Optus Bank stands as a testament to the transformative potential of public-private partnerships, strategic vision, and community commitment.

Achievements: 2022-2023 Annual Report Highlights

The SC MBDA Business Center’s impact transcends numbers, yet the statistics from the 2022-2023 Annual Report paint a compelling picture. Serving 3,514 customers, supporting 90 MBEs, creating 218 jobs, forming 12 strategic alliances, and facilitating 15 strategic actions, the center surpassed its goals during this period.

Financially, the center’s total revenue, contracts, and financing reached an impressive $73,829,768. This underscores the tangible results of the center’s efforts in securing contracts, providing access to capital, and facilitating financial transactions for minority-owned businesses.

An Exemplary Example of Success

One shining example of the center’s impact is the recognition bestowed upon Optus Bank, the only Black-owned bank in South Carolina. Honored with the Robert J. Brown Minority Business Enterprise of the Year Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s MBDA, Optus Bank’s exponential growth and success were acknowledged during the 2023 National MED Week Awards Ceremony. The SC MBDA Business Center, operated by DESA Inc., played a pivotal role in supporting Optus Bank, contributing significantly to its growth and success.

For businesses interested in learning more about the South Carolina MBDA Business Center and how it can be a catalyst for their growth journey, contact us at 803-743-1152 or email Discover the tailored solutions and expert guidance that await you. Let the South Carolina MBDA Business Center be the strategic partner that propels your business toward new heights of success.