Good Enterprises is a catalyst for reshaping the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to one that provides equitable opportunity for business ownership, in order to transform lives and communities. The program provides business education and coaching specifically tailored to underserved entrepreneurs with the guiding objective of creating economic opportunity for all.

Good Enterprises utilizes the proven model and curriculum of Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit based in New Jersey whose mission is to assist struggling individuals and communities to build strong businesses which transform lives, strengthen families, and build sustainable communities.

View the impact this model has had on other communities, and view Rising Tide’s founding video:


Raquel Padgett
Good Enterprises Program Director
Community Business Academy Instructor

Raquel is a graduate of SC State University, with more than 20 years of experience in marketing, PR and business consulting. She has worked with large entities such as Charleston County Government, Charleston County Parks & Recreation, the USC and MUSC cementing her skills in fundraising, marketing, budgeting, and event management.

In her role as Good Enterprises Program Director, Raquel combines her love for community with her extensive experience in business development to help existing and future entrepreneurs achieve economic sustainability through business ownership. As the owner of a business consulting firm, The Peacock Company, Raquel knows first-hand the amount of perseverance and grit it takes to run a successful business.

Nilsy Rapalo
Good Enterprises La Academia Instructor

A clinical psychologist from the “Universidad del Norte in Colombia”, and certified life coach by the International Coach Academy, Australia. She has been working on the mental health field since 1996 in the United States and Colombia with patients and clients with cultural diversity; she has carried out research on mental health issues and infertility. Nilsy has experience as a columnist, radio personality, as well as television and film. She is an EMDR Specialist (Eye Movement Trauma Technique) for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Awarded by this department as Employee of the Year in 2007. Author of the award-winning book Spiritual Immigration: A Path of Inspiration and Well-being. She was awarded the Martin Luther King Award in 2016. She is a current board member of the South Carolina Commission of Minority Affairs of the Governor’s Office. She facilitates the Spanish training for the Community Business Academy at Lowcountry Local First. She is the recipient of the Trident Literacy Award (2020). She is one of the founding members of the Hispanic Business Association, a non-profit created in 2014 in the Charleston area. Ms. Rapalo is a wellness and mental health expert and has been featured as an international speaker and facilitator. She is a board member of the Latinx Advisory Board for major of city of Charleston and Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Board.


Latinx Advisory Council empowers Hispanic Charlestonians, in Charleston City Paper, October 5, 2022
Charleston celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, in Charleston City Paper, September 16, 2022
Mayor Tecklenburg and Latinx Advisory Council Announce National Hispanic Heritage Month, on City of Charleston Facebook, September 15, 2022
Town of James Island, Lowcountry Local First Announce New Small Business Support Partnership, in CRBJ Biz Wire, Aug 3, 2022
Town of James Island, Lowcountry Local First Announce New Partnership, in Holy City Sinner, August 1, 2022
50 nuevos emprendedores se graduaron de la Academia Empresarial de la Comunidad, in El Informador, May 20, 2022

Charleston-area course for entrepreneurs surpasses 100-graduate milestone, in Post & Courier, January 31, 2022

•“La Casa Love”: decoración hecha a mano e inspirada en el hogar, in El Informador, October 14, 2021
• Lowcountry Local First’s Programs for Local Entrepreneurs, in Fox 24 News Now, July 29, 2021
Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs break barriers with LLF academy, in Charleston City Paper, July 21, 2021 Food Friday – Carolima’s – Fox 24 News now, May 8 2021
Good Enterprises’ Community Business Academy featuring Program Director Raquel Padgett and recent course grad and business owner Tiffany Young – Fox 24 News now, Feb 22, 2021
LLF’s Good Enterprises Program Director Raquel Padgett and recent course grad and business owner Shreese Brown share about resources available through the program. – Fox 24 News Now, Aug 6, 2020
Program’s second session helps 19 Charleston-area entrepreneurs launch businesses, in The Post & Courier, July 13 2020
2020 Spring Community Business Academy Graduates: 19 local entrepreneurs to know, in The Chronicle, July 9 2020
Lowcountry Local First Congratulates First Graduating Class of the Community Business Academy, in The Charleston Chronicle, February 7, 2020
New program gives Charleston-area entrepreneurs a boost to start their business, in Post & Courier, December 23, 2019
Bank of America Names Lowcountry Local First as Its Inaugural Neighborhood Champion, in CRBJ Biz Wire, November 18, 2019
Lowcountry Local First’s Good Enterprises initiative welcomes 24 students into first Community Business Academy in North Charleston, in The Charleston Chronicle, October 28, 2019
Reynolds Avenue revitalization still has a ways to go. Some say that’s not a bad thing., in Post & Courier, October 28, 2019
Rising Tide Capital launches national partnership network to support vulnerable entrepreneurs , in ROI- New Jersey, September 25, 2019
• “Lowcountry Local First hopes to cultivate new businesses with entrepreneurship course” – Charleston City Paper, July 25, 2019
• “Supporting the Local Economy in our Own Backyard” – Fox 24 Charleston, July 1, 2019
• “Avenue for Change” – Charleston Magazine March 2019 issue
• “Lowcountry Local First launches business academy” – Charleston Regional Business Journal, March 5, 2019
• “Lowcountry Local First to launch new Good Enterprises Initiative in fall 2019” – The Charleston Chronicle, Feb 22, 2019
• “Lowcountry Local First hopes its Community Business Academy will help cultivate local entrepreneurs” – Charleston City Paper, February 18, 2019


Founded in 2007, the mission of Lowcountry Local First (LLF) is to cultivate an economy anchored in local ownership, because local businesses are the foundation of our culture, economy, and character. We are the on-the-ground, round-the-clock advocate for combating the forces constructing an architecture of ‘Anywhere, USA.’ Our programs implement a new model of local economic development that results in more vibrant communities, better quality of life and opportunities for all to prosper. In a nutshell, we provide: 1) awareness and education for the public, 2) resources to sustain and grow local businesses, and 3) the trusted voice for pro-local advocacy.

Topping national lists for worst place to start a business and fastest gentrifying city, low-income families in Charleston, South Carolina face significant hurdles to realize dreams of entrepreneurship and achieve financial security.

• Charleston demonstrated the 5th fastest growing gap between rich and poor residents in the US from 2011-2016.
• Median income levels for African-American and Hispanic households in Charleston County are less than half that of white households.
• There is a significant gap in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, one that provides opportunity for minority and low-income individuals to improve their lives through entrepreneurship.

After significant research and community involvement, Lowcountry Local First identified a need to scale our work to fill a gap in support for low-income entrepreneurship that does not currently exist in the region.

Lowcountry Local First’s model of community wealth building provides a high-touch approach to working with individuals on entrepreneurship. We provide one-on-one support through our network of more than 600 business owners willing to offer expertise. Creating valuable and mutually beneficial partnerships has been a key to our organizational success.