FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Representatives from the city all the way up to the national level are assuring small businesses in Florence they don't want them to fail due to lack of support or difficult-to-navigate regulations.

"The message is clear that leaders at every level want to see small businesses grow and I think if we partner together and talk about what needs to happen, we can make that happen together," Florence City Councilman Robby Hill said.

Business owners and experts listened to topics regarding the state of small and minority businesses at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce's Legislative Breakfast Friday morning.

Councilman Hill, Florence County Councilman Al Bradley, U.S. Congressman Tom Rice, and S.C. House District 59 Representative Terry Alexander each spoke about their thoughts on the issue.

Hill said he believes the state of small and minority businesses in Florence is strong and the North Dargan Innovation Center is available to those needing more support. He also said the city is now offering rent subsidies to business owners looking to move downtown from the incubator.

"They can move out into the real world as we call it and grow their businesses," he said. "Hopefully, it'll encourage retail development, but also any business that's interested in moving into downtown, there are new financial incentives for them."

Hill also announced Florence's first Startup Weekend, an international event that brings together investors, developers, business experts and entrepreneurs to create small businesses over a three-day period. The event will be June 19-21.

Councilman Al Bradley said the county is making a point to use local contractors and workers for its capital sales tax projects.

Rep. Terry Alexander talked about out-dated regulations that are burdensome for small businesses and how the state legislature now has a committee dedicated to sorting through those regulations.

"In so many ways it is hampering our growth and our development," he said. "If we really want to grow South Carolina, we're going to have to take a look at what is in our way."

Congressman Tom Rice concluded the information session with his thoughts on American competitiveness and how he will continue to push for reform of taxes, immigration and infrastructure.

"We've put a noose around our own necks. We're not even trying to compete," he said. "If we ever develop that competitive attitude, nobody can stop us."

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.