The Kelley Center for Economic Development

About Us

Francis Marion University’s Kelley Center for Economic Development is dedicated to the economic growth of the Pee Dee Region through business incubation, small business outreach, and various regional economic development initiatives.

FMU’s business community outreach program previously partnered with the City of Florence and was known as the North Dargan Innovation Center from October 2016 to January 2019. The North Dargan Innovation Center established a proven track record of fostering growth for start-ups/existing businesses through incubation, business assistance, and extensive support.

In 2019, the Kelley Center set forth to continue the support of small business owners and entrepreneurs in Florence and all other counties located in the Pee Dee Region. The FMU Kelley Center has two main offices: one in Florence at the new Francis Marion University Place building on 142 North Dargan Street and in Lake City at The Continuum on 208 West Main Street.

Both Florence and Lake City locations have staff that provide services such as small business assistance, professional development training, and business incubation.

Business Incubation

The purpose of the incubator is to provide your business a place to foster within a collective community of support and resources. The structure provides the opportunity to establish objective measures of growth for each business, which will serve to identify growth and progress.

The incubator serves as a short-term (1 year) support mechanism to help you effectively build your business and grow at a sustainable rate with the hope that you will find success after completing the program. Therefore, you should work to fully maximize your time while in the incubator program.  Once the one-year program is complete, the incubated business will move into Post-Launch outside of the facility.

Click here to read more about Business Incubation.

Business Assistance

The staff at the Kelley Center for Economic Development provide technical assistance to non-incubator clients in the area of business plan development, resource identification, and other business services. Small Business Assistance can take place at the business incubator, by phone, through email, or web conference. We strive to make connecting with the small business seeking assistance easy and convenient.

Click here to visit our Business Assistance page to see service details and pricing.

If you are interested in small business assistance, please complete the client intake form and a staff member will contact you to further assist you.

Business Planning

A blackboard with the word "plan" written in chalk


A business plan is a vital part of starting and growing a business. The business plan questionnaire is a process to help jump start the writing process. To start working on the business plan, please download the questionnaire and work through each section.

We offer individual counseling to assist with:

  • Business & Marketing Plan Development

  • Market & Industry Research

  • Financial Planning

  • Resource Identification

  • General Business Advice

Upcoming Events

A variety of workshops, continuing education courses, and networking events are scheduled every month to provide relevant information to small businesses and entrepreneurs. For convenience, events are hosted at both locations in Lake City and Florence. See calendar below to register for upcoming events.

*Until further notice, all events will be held virtually online.*

Contact Us

Photo of Brianna Dennis

Brianna L. Dennis

Executive Director
Kelley Center for Economic Development

Florence Office:
University Place, Suite 207
Lake City Office:
The Continuum, Suite 606
Phone: 843-661-1205

Jamie Howle

Jamie H. Hopkins

Program Coordinator
Kelley Center for Economic Development

Office: University Place, Suite 206
Phone: 843-661-4606