How to Start a Business in Charleston, SC – Useful Charleston Facts 2023

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Start a Business in Charleston, SC: When it comes to starting a business, entrepreneurs must look for the place with the most potential. Whether a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC, having a business in Charleston, SC, is a plus for any entrepreneur. In general, setting up any form of business in South Carolina, US, is the initial step to building an international brand.

Entrepreneurs across the globe are interested in starting and expanding their businesses in Charleston, SC. With an urban population of 645413 (estimate), the city has a lot to offer to all emerging entrepreneurs. The main reason for this is the economic environment and flexibility of the business structure in South Carolina. Like most places in the US, Charleston, SC also offers business structures for all types of entrepreneurs; no matter what business you want to do, there’s a perfect solution for you. If you want to start limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, or a sole proprietorship, Charleston, SC has a proper business environment for all.

How to Start a Business in Charleston, SC

In this article, you will read about how to start a business in Charleston and why you should choose Charleston to start and run your business. We recommend you check below the important facts about Charleston, SC; these might help you.

Charleston, SC Household Income Statistics

Charleston Median household income72071 USD
Charleston households with dual income earners55.6 %
Charleston households $150K+ Income18.3 %
Charleston households $100K+ Income36 %
Charleston households $100-150K Income17.7 %
Charleston households $75-100K+ Income12.2 %
Charleston households $50-75K+ Income17 %
Charleston households $35-50K+ Income10.8 %
Charleston households $25-35K+ Income6.3 %

Charleston, SC Education & Labor force Facts

Charleston residents with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)33.7 %
Charleston residents with at least a 4-year degree54.4 %
Charleston residents with a graduate degree20.7 %
Charleston residents with a high school diploma but no more17.2 %
Charleston residents with less than high school education4.5 %
Charleston residents with some college but no more23.8 %
Charleston residents with a Bachelor’s degree or higher (STEM fields)45.1 %
Charleston households that own (rather than rent) their residence55.4 %
Charleston residents 16 and older in the labor force66.9 %
Charleston residents unemployed3.4 %

Charleston, SC Demographics

Charleston residents aged 0-910.3 %
Charleston residents aged 10-199.8 %
Charleston residents aged 20-2918.4 %
Charleston residents aged 30-3918 %
Charleston residents aged 40-4910.5 %
Charleston residents aged 50-5911.7 %
Charleston residents aged 60-6910.8 %
Charleston residents aged 70-796.4 %
Charleston residents aged over 804 %
The average size of resident families in Charleston, SC3
Estimated population per square kilometer in Charleston, SC461
Charleston, SC urban population (estimate)645413
Charleston, SC municipal population (estimate)137041

Now that you know what makes Charleston of South Carolina good for business, let’s get started with the exact steps on how to start a business in Charleston.

How to Start a Business in Charleston, SC

Starting a business in Charleston, SC, needs planning, financial decisions, legal procedures, and a handful of other things. Be it a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC in South Carolina, you must go through the following steps. These steps are general steps. They are subject to change depending on the structure of your business.Generally, starting a Limited Liability Company is easy to form. Read our guide on how to start an LLC before you start your own business. Here are the steps to set up your business in Charleston.

Step 0: Decide on What Business to Start

Decide on What Business to Start

This is the first thing you work on, the type of business you want to start in Charleston. Depending on that, you need to make your business plan. Apart from the legal documentation and process, you must include the following points in your business plan,

  1. Through market research on demand trend
  2. Complete Budget plan – funding your business. If you’re planning to start an LLC, then take a look at the cost of LLC
  3. What competitors are doing
  4. SWOT Analysis – check what your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are
  5. Your targeted buyers

Once you have the entire plan with you, you can continue working on the legal structure of your business. LLCBuddy will guide you through the legal process of forming an LLC for your business. It’s very likely that you have already done this step 0, so that we won’t go deep into this step, let’s move to step 1.

Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure

Choose Your Business Structure

The very first step after you decide on what type of business you want to start is to choose what type of business structure you want to form. You can form an LLC, a sole proprietorship, a corporation, or a partnership. Each type of structure has different rules and regulations. For example, if you want to start a South Carolina LLC, there are different types of tax and fee structures. An LLC formation is similar to forming a sole proprietorship. On the other hand, forming a corporation is much more complicated. The tax and fee structure is completely different in corporation formation.

Step 2: Name Your Business

Name Your Business

The next step in forming a business is to give it an appropriate name. Having a business name is not so easy task. You cannot pick a random name for your company. One has to follow proper naming guidelines before they name their company. Besides, before you settle a name, you must check if the name you are looking for is available to use. You can visit the official government site of South Carolina to do the South Carolina LLC name search before you pick the available name. Below are some of the naming rules you need to follow,

  1. You cannot name your business that has words or phrases like Bank, University, Government, or anything that can confuse people with a government sector. 
  2. If you are forming an LLC in South Carolina, then you must include words like “LLC,” “LC,” “LLC,” “Liability Company,” and “L.L.C.” If it is an LLP, then you must include “LLP” in your business name.
  3. The name should reflect the nature of your business. Any name that can confuse people should not be picked.
  4. You can check if the name of your company is available. Through the business name search process, you can search if the desired name is available for use or not.
  5. You can reserve your business name for a certain time before you form your business in Charleston, SC by filing a name reservation application.

The above-mentioned points are basic naming rules that all businesses have to follow while naming their company. As mentioned above, these rules are subjected to change depending on the structure of the business.

Step 3: Get a Registered Agent

Get a Registered Agent

A Registered Agent is a person who receives all types of legal and official documents on behalf of the business. Whether a suit against your company or formation-related documents from the state, a South Carolina LLC Registered Agent is responsible for receiving these documents at his/her official address. In general, anyone who has the right to conduct business in Charleston can be a registered agent. However, there are some requirements to becoming a registered agent.

  1. The person has to be 18+ years of age.
  2. Must be a citizen of the South Carolina
  3. Must have a physical street address in the South Carolina
  4. Must have legal rights to conduct business in the South Carolina

Anyone who fulfills the requirements can be a registered agent. Also, anyone from the company, your spouse, any relative, or yourself can be a registered agent. But, it is recommended that you hire a professional registered agent to look after your documentation. You can choose from the best LLC services that also offer registered agent for LLCs.

Step 4: Register Your Business

Register Your Business

The next step is to register your business under the Secretary of State, South Carolina. The Articles of Organization (or certificate of incorporation) of your company should be submitted online, by mail, in person, or by fax to the South Carolina SOS. You need to pay the state filing fee either by Credit Card or by check to the SOS while registering your business in the Charleston, SC. Your South Carolina LLC articles of organization should have the following details about your business

  1. Company/Business name, address
  2. Registered Agent Name, address
  3. Member-managed or manager-managed (in case of LLC)
  4. Type of business

Depending on the type of business structure, you may have to add some more information to the formation document.

Step 5: Write the Operating Agreement

Write the Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that has all the structural information of your business. In most states, it is not mandatory to create an operating agreement. However, it is highly recommended to have one as an internal document. This document records information such as,

  1. About Business
  2. Members and management
  3. Capital contribution
  4. Profit Distribution
  5. Change of membership
  6. Dissolution

In future, if any member wants to leave the company or you want to dissolve the business, then the South Carolina operating agreement has everything recorded, from clauses to contributions.

Step 6: Obtain EIN

Obtain EIN

EIN or Employer Identification Number is required to file taxes, open a business bank account, and if your business has employees. EIN can be obtained from IRS. It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. However, EIN is different from SSN. It is solely used for business purposes, especially for general tax filing. You have to fill out the form and submit it to the IRS website. It does not cost you anything to obtain EIN.

Step 7: Get Business Bank Accounts

Get Business Bank Accounts

Once you obtain the EIN for your business, you are free to open a business account in the US. Having a US business bank account can ease your business transactions in Charleston, SC. It increases your business credibility and liquidity. It will also be helpful for business loans.

Step 8: Create Your Business Website

Create Your Business Website

Business websites are as important as your business structure. It is necessary to have a catchy business website with all the information regarding your company. Along with the website, you need some more things. Things such as logos, business cards, business emails, domain names, and social media accounts are needed to promote your business. You can hire a professional business service to get all of these services under one roof.

Other Things to do After Starting Your Business

  1. Once your company is set in the Charleston, South Carolina, you need to file your taxes and apply for licenses (if needed).
  2. Apart from the license and permits, you need to get insurance for your business. Such as General Liability Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation Insurance are some of the insurances you need to get if you are about to start an LLC.

Important Charleston Stats for Starting a Business

Before you start a business in Charleston, it is required that you know some facts about the city. Following are some of the stats to consider before starting a business.

Education & Employment

Charleston has a diverse population that comes from various educational backgrounds. There are students who haven’t finished their high-school education, whereas there are people who are more than just college graduates. Check the table (Education & Labor Force) for detailed data. From the data, it is clear that the city has enough educated and skilled people who can contribute to the labor force.


As we talk about the urban population density, the young population percentage in the city is approximately 18.4 (people in their 20s) and 18 (people in their 30s). This means that having any business that is new and tech-based might be profitable. The median age of the population in the city is 35.3. On the contrary, if anyone wants to start a business that is related to any old-age service, such as caregiver, primary old-age support, or something of a similar sort, then Charleston has approximately 4 (people in their 80s and above) percent of old people. Check out the table (Demography) above for more information.

Real Estate

Another important factor to mention about Charleston is the home value of owned properties. The average value of owned houses is 349993. Also, the percentage of people living in their own houses is 55.4. This reflects the real estate market of the city. For a metropolitan city, this is a considerable number.


It is inevitable that living in a big city is different from living in a town or a comparatively smaller city. It directly affects lifestyle and health. It is obvious that having health insurance is important, no matter which city or region you are residing in. But there are people in Charleston who still do not have health insurance. The rate of people not having health insurance is 7.3. This depicts the lifestyle and overall health demography of Charleston. As you plan to start your business in this city, you must consider this stat as well.

Income & Lifestyle

The income pattern of the people in this city is given in the table (Income) above. In Charleston, a part of the population has a dual family income that reflects a better standard of living. As in, people have more than one source of income. The table above shows the income percentage of various slabs.

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Reasons to Start a Business in Charleston

Charleston offers a bunch of business-friendly services for entrepreneurs. A proper business environment, skilled labor, tax advances, deductions, and much more are awaiting if you are interested in starting your business in Charleston. Here are some of the reasons,

Stable Economic Growth

Charleston or any other city in South Carolina has stable economic growth and an environment that helps any business to grow successfully. The economic structure of South Carolina shows not only balanced but also a sustainable condition of economic growth, which in turn triggers the businesses to flourish in the state.

Minimize Personal Liabilities of the Entrepreneur

If you’re considering starting an LLC in Charleston, then it will be your best choice. An LLC protects your personal assets and minimizes your personal liabilities. This is one of the many reasons why having an LLC in Charleston is a wise choice. Also, if you are opting for an LLC, the tax deductions will be more than having a corporation.

Federal and State Tax Relaxation

There is a series of federal taxes that an entrepreneur has to pay when operating a business in the US. Depending on the state your company is located in, the state taxes are being imposed. For an LLC, both of these taxes are much lower compared to other business structures. Along with tax impositions, some tax deductions (state-wise) lower the filing fees and other government charges. Check out the South Carolina LLC tax structure to know more about the tax structures for LLCs in the state.

Government Incentives for Entrepreneurs

Federal and state governments in the US ensure that entrepreneurs get a proper business environment in the state or city they are operating their business. The government provides a few incentives to the business holders in South Carolina or any other state. That means if you are operating any business in Charleston, then South Carolina State will provide an incentive for creating jobs, contributing to the state’s GDP, and/or balancing the state’s tax structure.

Low Corporate and Other Business Taxes

Corporations and other business structures (except for an LLC) are liable to pay a corporate tax in South Carolina. Also, there is a Sales Tax that all businesses, including LLCs, have to pay. However, the rate of taxes is very low. Besides, as the businesses receive incentives, the tax burden gets lower.

Skilled Labour & Quality Manpower

In Charleston, it is easy to hire employees for your business. They are not only skilled but also well-educated to help your business grow. As mentioned above, the 66.9 is the percentage of labour participation. Hence, it is clear that having a business in Charleston will make a lot of difference to the existing labor force.

Demand for New Market and Industry

In Charleston, South Carolina, there is an uprising demand for new industries and new markets. Entrepreneurs who are willing to start a business in any of the cities of any state are given enough opportunities to stay in business. Business licensing, tax deductions, incentives, and relaxation of business taxes are some of the benefits that encourage start-ups and budding entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in Charleston.

If we follow the US Data, the median value of commute time for the residents to their work is approximately 22.9. If you are starting a business here, you must keep in mind that commutation can be a point to consider.

Intellectual Property Protection

The US government receives roughly more than 1 million applications for IPR every year. The federal government makes sure that there is no infringement of any patent or property rights. It does not matter which city in which state you are running your business. The rule of Intellectual Property Protection is the same for all. If you have a foreign business in the US, then you might get more benefits under the IPR act.

Other Benefits

Charleston (aka ) is ranked at 2 in terms of importance. Apart from the above mentioned reasons, there are some other benefits that businesses enjoy in Charleston. For example, technological advancement, a stable political environment, renewable resources, sustainable non-renewable resources, and some more benefits make things easier for entrepreneurs to start and run their businesses. According to US Data, the percentage of young people in Charleston is 18. Hence, it would be great to start a business that is related to tech here as you might get a good number of clients.

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Best Time To Start Business In Charleston South Carolina

Whether you are considering a career change or just want to start your own business, Charleston South Carolina has a lot to offer. A vibrant economy and a favorable business climate make it a great place to do business. The city offers a variety of business structures to meet the needs of all types of entrepreneurs.

Starting a business in Charleston, SC is simple. You can choose to do it yourself, or you can opt for a professional business service that can provide you with all of the services you need under one roof. They also offer insurance coverage for your business. This can help save you thousands of dollars every year.

There are many factors to consider when starting a business, such as location, licensing, and taxes. There are also tax incentives available to new businesses, which can help offset some of the startup costs. In addition, you should also consider your budget before committing to a new endeavor.

The best time to start business in Charleston, SC may depend on your business model, but there are a few things you can do to get started. The first is to write a business plan. This should include a comprehensive financial plan, which you can use to get funding. The plan should also include a thorough market research. Choosing the right location and demographics can also affect your business’s success.

The best time to start a business in Charleston, SC may also depend on your budget. This is why you should consider hiring a marketing agency to get the word out about your business. You can also hire a website designer, which will ensure that your site ranks high in search results. This is especially important if your business is new.

Another great way to get your business started is to open a US business bank account. This will make it easier to handle business transactions, and it will also give you a higher degree of credibility. In addition, it will also help you secure business loans.

A business website is a must, as it serves as a resource for your customers. Your website should include your company’s information, as well as a list of your products and services. Some people use a website builder, which will save them the time of building a website from scratch. In addition to a website, you should also consider using social media to advertise your business. You should also consider registering a domain name for your business.

Starting a business in Charleston, SC also has a lot of perks, which include an attractive tax structure, and a well-educated workforce. Some of the biggest names in the aerospace industry, such as Boeing, are located in Charleston. Other industry leaders include Cummins Turbo Technologies, Mercedes-Benz Vans, and Behr Heat Transfer Systems. These companies offer good opportunities for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

A business plan is a great way to start your new venture, but you should also consider hiring a marketing agency to get the word out about your business. This can help you to attract new customers and investors.

FAQ About Charleston, SC

Why you shouldn’t move to Charleston, SC?

You shouldn’t stay in Charleston, SC, for no apparent reason. In essence, you need to consider if Charleston is a good fit for your company if you wish to relocate there. If Charleston doesn’t provide any chances for your line of work, you shouldn’t relocate.

Is LLC free in Charleston, SC?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to create an LLC for nothing in Charleston, SC. The South Carolina Secretary of State will need payment of a state filing fee. You may save money here by acting as your own registered agent.

Why are LLCs so popular in Charleston, SC?

Charleston, SC, has a large LLC population. An LLC may be created more easily and has a pass-through tax. This is the main justification for why many new and small firms in Charleston, SC choose LLCs over other corporate forms. Furthermore, LLCs are simple to terminate if you decide against continuing.

What is the first thing you should do when starting a business in Charleston, SC?

Creating a business plan should be your first step when starting a company in Charleston, SC. If you have a business plan, starting a company will be simple for you. The first step in starting a company is to complete that.

What are 3 disadvantages of an LLC in Charleston, SC?

An LLC in Charleston, SC, offers many benefits, but it also has drawbacks. First, LLC owners must pay both income tax and self-employment tax. Second, in certain states, the death of any member results in the dissolution of the LLC. Finally, LLCs are more complicated than sole proprietorships.

What is required to run a business in Charleston, SC?

You need a few things in Charleston, SC, if you want to operate a company. Develop a strong business strategy first. Then, find out who your customers are and what your rivals are doing. After finishing your research, register your firm with the state and launch it.

What is a LLC in Charleston, SC?

In Charleston, SC, an LLC is a kind of company entity that resembles a sole proprietorship. A limited liability corporation has several traits with a partnership-run organization. Because of pass-through taxes, LLCs in Charleston, SC are exempt from paying company income tax.

What legal documents do I need to start a business in Charleston, SC?

A general business license is required to start a business in Charleston, SC. Charleston may have various standards and regulations, depending on the kind of company. To find out the requirements for business licenses in Charleston, SC, contact the local authorities.

What are 5 things you need to start a business in Charleston, SC?

The top five requirements for starting a company in Charleston, SC, are: 1. A business plan, 2. 2. A company name, 3. Start-up money, 4. legitimate business licenses 5. A strategy for promoting your company.

What is a Charleston, SC registered agent?

An individual designated by the LLC serves as a registered agent in Charleston, SC. Choosing a registered agent is required. Being a registered agent in Charleston, SC is open to everyone who is at least 18 years old and is qualified to do business there.

Which is the cheapest business to start in Charleston, SC?

Numerous low-cost enterprises may be found in Charleston, SC. If you’re ready to launch a company in Charleston, SC, you may do it by operating an internet store. In Charleston, SC, you may also establish a low-cost home baking or teaching company.

Which small businesses make the most money in Charleston, SC?

Food trucks, coffee shops, modest real estate, and internet enterprises are the small businesses in Charleston, SC that are the most profitable. You should think about starting one of these enterprises if you want to earn high money in Charleston and you live there.

How much does it cost to license a business in Charleston, SC?

You must get in touch with the local government if you want to license a company in Charleston, SC. They will provide you the necessary licensing and cost details. Depending on the kind of company you run in Charleston, SC, there are several license fees.

How much does a DBA cost in Charleston, SC?

When you want to launch your company in Charleston, SC, you must file a “Doing Business As” or DBA document. In Charleston, SC, a DBA filing will set you back zero. For LLCs in South Carolina, this sum is applicable.

What big business can I start in Charleston, SC?

In Charleston, SC, a number of significant companies have been founded. For instance, a business that offers ice cream in the form of a FL, waffles in the shape of a FL, or cookie cutters in the shape of a FL.

How many unicorns are in Charleston, SC?

There are now over a thousand unicorn enterprises in existence. Unicorns are also can be seen in Charleston, SC. In contrast to other cities, the number is mediocrely excellent.

What business can I start with $1000 in Charleston, SC?

In Charleston, SC, $1000 may be used to launch a variety of company concepts. You may launch a company that sells webpages. companies that do internet sales are another. Using an excellent name as your company name, you might launch a computer and technology-related firm.

How do I start a LLC in Charleston, SC?

The first step to starting an LLC in Charleston, SC is to choose a name, file appropriate documents with the Secretary of State, and then obtain EIN. The next step is to open a bank account and get a business license. Once those are complete, you can start your LLC.

Is Charleston, SC a good place to start a business?

Charleston is a fantastic city in which to launch a company. Charleston, SC is a fantastic city to launch a company since it has a cheap cost of living and good quality of life. This is particularly true if you wish to be a part of Charleston, SC’s vibrant and expanding community.

What is the best area in Charleston, SC to live?

In Charleston, SC, there are a few factors to think about while deciding where to reside. If you would find buyers there, how much it would cost to live there, and if Charleston is a decent place for your family to live are other factors to consider. Prior to moving to Charleston, make these decisions.

How can I make money from home in Charleston, SC?

In Charleston, SC, there are several opportunities for home-based employment. You may work as a freelance writer, graphic designer, or web developer. As a virtual assistant, a transcriptionist, or a translator, you may operate remotely. You may also work from home baking or as an online instructor.

In Charleston, SC What can an LLC write off on taxes?

An LLC may be able to deduct certain taxes in Charleston, SC. Business insurance, office supplies, mileage for business trips, automobile expenditures, home office costs, and many more are a few of them. For further information, contact your local tax office.

How much tax does an LLC pay in Charleston, SC?

Charleston, SC LLCs do not have to pay income tax on their company profits. Income tax is due from each LLC member based on their individual income. The remaining taxes include the franchise tax, employment tax, and sales tax.

Why is Charleston, SC growing so fast?

Charleston, SC, is rapidly expanding, as can be shown by looking at recent statistics. This is due to Charleston, SC’s booming economy, particularly in the service sectors. Strengthening the economy are the service sectors.

How long does an LLC last in Charleston, SC?

The life of an LLC in Charleston, SC lasts as long as the company is in operation. If the company ceases to exist, then the LLC will also expire. To maintain the LLC in Charleston, SC, you have to renew it on time.

What is better than an LLC in Charleston, SC?

Whichever is preferable to an LLC must be a single proprietorship in Charleston, SC. However, it depends on the kind of company you wish to establish in Charleston, SC. On the basis of it, you may decide whether an LLC or a single proprietorship is preferable.

What taxes do small businesses pay in Charleston, SC?

Small businesses in Charleston, SC may be subject to lower tax rates than the city’s larger corporations. Sales tax and franchise tax are required payments for an LLC in several states. Paying employment taxes may be necessary if you have workers.

What is the easiest business to start in Charleston, SC?

A fast food restaurant in Charleston, SC, would be an excellent choice if you wanted to launch the simplest company. To sell burgers, waffles, rolls, wraps, and other items, you may purchase a kiosk or, even better, a food truck. Everyone will find it simple to start this company.

Do LLC pay taxes in Charleston, SC?

If an LLC in Charleston, SC is not making money, it could not be required to pay taxes. South Carolina doesn’t mandate that LLCs submit income tax filings on behalf of their businesses.

How can I create a small business in Charleston, SC?

Charleston is a distinctive metropolis with a multicultural populace. The many restaurants and stores show its lengthy history. Since Charleston, SC, is a city that is always expanding, entrepreneurs have many options to launch their own small enterprises there.

How much is business insurance in Charleston, SC?

The cost of business insurance in Charleston, SC varies depending on the type of business you have, the size of your company, and the nature of the business. For example, a small company with less than 10 employees might pay as little as $1,000 a year for general insurance.

Do I need insurance for my LLC in Charleston, SC?

Yes. You must need workers’ compensation if your LLC in Charleston, SC employs personnel. If you don’t have any workers, you may generally omit this step. However, Charleston, SC would benefit from having general liability insurance. To learn more, visit the South Carolina SOS website.

What kind of business can run itself in Charleston, SC?

The majority of enterprises need your whole attention and effort. Whether it is Charleston, SC or any other city in the state, if you have your own business, it won’t run itself. You could have more time for yourself if you start your company at a lower volume.

Will house prices go down in Charleston, SC?

Real estate is a dynamic business in Charleston, SC. House prices can go down if the real estate business gets hampered by shock. On the contrary, real estate in Charleston, SC is a booming business. So, it is tough to say if the price of houses goes down or not.

How do you make money with an LLC in Charleston, SC?

The first step in earning money with an LLC in Charleston, SC, is to register your business. You have three options for registering your business: in person, via mail, or online. You may start selling your goods and services to earn money after your LLC is established.

In Conclusion

Starting a business in Charleston is not only easy but also profitable. A large portion of the US and even people from other countries are registering their business in the US for intercontinental brand building. Besides, South Carolina has a sustainable economic atmosphere that is enough to encourage newbies to start and run their businesses in Charleston, SC.

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