The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is an association organized mainly to promote and lobby the interests of business. The chamber was formed as Organized Business, Inc., of South Carolina in 1940 under the leadership of C. Norwood Hastie of Charleston, a vice president of the C&S National Bank. The first board meeting was held on September 30, 1941, and the group began with 142 directors from a range of business concerns. Membership grew from 2,965 in October 1940 to 4,941 in September 1941 and was over 11,000 by 1950.
The chamber soon addressed issues of importance to the business community, such as reorganizing state government and urging the state to increase education funding. After several name changes, the group became the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce in 1972. By then, the organization was involved in a range of issues: industrial relations, travel protection, tourism, occupational safety and health, economic education, human relations, and environmental control.
During the 1970s the chamber joined with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism to create the South Carolina Council on Tourism. In the next decade the chamber cultivated closer working relationships with local chambers of commerce and established the South Carolina Business Journal and South Carolina Business magazine. In the late twentieth century the state chamber expanded its business lobbying role by taking stands on such controversial issues as eliminating video poker and removing the Confederate flag from the State House.