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Columbia SC

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Download and review your complimentary copy of the 2021 SCBIO annual report now. see more

    The Board and staff of SCBIO have issued their 2021 Annual Report in advance of the organization hosting SCBIO 2022: The Life Sciences Conference of South Carolina, which begins this week.

    More than 500 live and virtual attendees will participate in the record-setting conference, which features more than 35 speakers, major economic development announcements, hundreds of partnering sessions and more.

    The annual report contains key statistical updates on the growth of the life sciences industry, its economic impact on the state, major milestones of the past 12 months, trends and much more.  Download your complimentary copy here.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC's expansion plans bode well for South Carolinians see more

    Courtesy of WIS-TV Columbia, SC

    The Medical University of South Carolina is expanding throughout the state, and WIS-TV sits down with MUSC President David Cole and MUSC Health CEO Pat Cawley sit down to share details on plans and the organizational vision with news anchor Judy Gatson.  Enjoy the interview here.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Student find recruiters "ready and waiting" to interview themfor life sciences jobs see more

    In recognition of the importance of adding talented workers for the booming life sciences industry in South Carolina, Midlands Technical College is the first in the state to launch the all-new SCBIO Life Sciences Pharmaceutical Manufacturing certificate program. The program will help to build a workforce pipeline for positions in what is now the Palmetto State’s fastest-growing industry.

    To the gratification of many but the surprise of none of the organizers, the class was completely filled within 48 hours of registration opening. The inaugural class graduated May 6, 2022.

    Developed in conjunction with SCBIO, the statewide organization dedicated exclusively to advancing and growing life sciences in South Carolina, the 48-hour curriculum was developed in partnership with numerous industry partners. The certificate program is the first of several planned for rollout over the next 12 months. A similar program is nearing launch at Greenville Technical College.

    Highlights of the program include an overview of the pharmaceutical industry; introduction to quality assurance principles; a regulatory overview; documentation practices and measurement skills; and 12 hours towards Essential Skills for the Workplace certificate.

    “Midlands Technical College is proud to be the educational partner for this pilot program that supports the life science industry, a high growth industry in the Palmetto State. We are always interested in providing our community with the education needed to be successful in the workforce,” said  Ryan Hemby, Business Solutions Director for Midlands Technical College.

    Tuition for the program is covered by industry partners. People interested in registering for upcoming classes should visit https://midlandstech.formstack.com/forms/scbio.

    The pilot program, the first of its kind in South Carolina offered by the Technical College System, reflects the growing demand for skilled workers to continue fueling the rapidly expanding life sciences industry, which has a presence in 42 of the state’s 46 counties, boasts a more-than-$25 billion annual economic impact, and features average wages nearly 80% higher than South Carolina’s average wage.

    “Life sciences is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy today, and this new certificate program is a first step in addressing the talent needs of the industry’s surging growth, reach and rapidly rising economic significance,” noted SCBIO Executive Vice President and COO Erin Ford, a key organizer of the statewide initiative. “We’re laser focused on doing all that we can to train, retrain and encourage South Carolinians to pursue and prepare for careers in life sciences, an industry that improves quality of life and economic standing for South Carolina citizens.”

    While SCBIO is focused on developing programs for the Technical College System, it also has initiatives underway with state colleges and universities, connecting students interested in careers in life sciences with industry partners seeking talent, and with K-12 students where life science career paths and awareness of STEM opportunities are shared with schools and students statewide.

    Recently, Governor Henry McMaster issued a proclamation recognizing South Carolina Life Sciences Week in the Palmetto State in testament to its growth of more than 42% since 2017. Since 2017, South Carolina also is growing its life sciences industry employment at a faster rate than any other Southeastern state, Ms. Ford noted.

    Even the growth of the state’s firm count is extraordinary, having grown from 402 firms counted in the Palmetto State in the 2016 study to 1,033 firms today in the rapidly expanding ecosystem. And life sciences impact the entire state, with a current presence of industry organizations in 42 of 46 state counties.

    For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.  For additional information on MTC, visit www.MidlandsTech.edu.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina delegation a hit at Swiss BIO Day see more

    SCBIO and the State of South Carolina were center stage during Swiss Biotech days in Basel, Switzerland, a conference that hosted 1,000 attendees this week. 

    South Carolina demonstrated its willingness to be on the leading edge and open to partnerships and unique collaborations.  The list of dignitaries that visited with Team SC was impressive, headlined by the President of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis.  It also included Eva Weigold Schultz, former Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, and global life sciences leaders like AMGEN’s Henrik Asmussen, Dr. Suzanne Grund, of Geistlich Pharma, and many more. 

    I had the opportunity to talk with President Cassis and reinforce our state’s commitment to international investment and collaboration in the life sciences sector, which benefits both countries and, ultimately, translates into better patient outcomes.  As a former physician with a master’s degree in public health, he has a unique perspective on this industry.

    A roundtable discussion with Swiss Biotech Association President Michael Altorfer and other leaders highlighted our current biotech firms with a presence in both South Carolina and Switzerland. Belimed Life Science CFO Simon Engeli and CeQur CFO/EVP Douglas Gunthardt spoke about the positive business climate in the Palmetto State and the tremendous support provided as their companies expanded to the US. 

    With over 30 meetings in two days, and as a featured guest of the conference, our team of SCBIO’s Carla Whitlock, Central SC Alliance’s David King, Charleston County’s Jennifer Brown (also representing CRDA), Sebastian Nowack of the South Carolina Department of Commerce European Office in Munich, Susanna Auf de Maur (a South Carolina native and partner at Kaufmann Ruedi) and with support of the Upstate SC Alliance, successfully laid the groundwork for future investments.  We found an attentive audience as we shared the story of our impressive growth, burgeoning innovation ecosystem, and new infrastructure that is being created to support our industry. 

    We look forward to our return trip next year and to continued collaboration with the Swiss Biotech Association as we learn from each other and support the companies making a difference with innovative technologies and patient outcomes.

    Danke Schweiz...

    Erin Ford
    SCBIO COO

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO Board Chair and Nephron CEO receives top honors from NAM see more

    The National Association of Manufacturers today honored NAM board member and Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO and Owner Lou Kennedy with the Manufacturing Icon Award during the NAM’s spring board meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. The award recognizes leaders who inspire Americans to promote, perpetuate and preserve manufacturing in America.

    “Lou Kennedy embodies the spirit of manufacturing, possessing a fearless commitment to solving some of our nation’s and the world’s most pressing challenges,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “With trademark enthusiasm, Lou inspires those around her and brings together people from all sorts of backgrounds around a common purpose. In channeling her drive and dedication toward the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted campaign, she is changing lives not just in South Carolina but across America. Her support has been game changing, and her passion for building the manufacturing workforce has helped us see our own vision for Creators Wanted more clearly. We’re honored to present this award to Lou in recognition of her exceptional leadership.”

    Kennedy serves as co-chair of Creators Wanted. Last year, Nephron Pharmaceuticals hosted the Creators Wanted Tour Live in West Columbia, South Carolina.

    The NAM and the MI’s “Creators Wanted” campaign is a member-driven initiative to inspire, educate and empower more Americans to pursue careers in modern manufacturing and to shift perceptions about careers in the industry. The campaign supports MI initiatives for students, women, veterans and other underrepresented communities and features a first-of-its-kind mobile experience and tour. It seeks to cut the skills gap by 600,000 workers by 2025 and increase the number of students enrolling in technical schools, vocational schools and apprenticeships by 25%. The campaign also seeks to increase the percentage of parents who would encourage their children to pursue a career in modern manufacturing to 50% from 27%.

    In 2019, Kennedy was named a STEP Ahead Award Honoree. The MI’s STEP Ahead Awards honor women in science, technology, engineering and production careers who have demonstrated excellence and leadership across all levels of the manufacturing industry. Kennedy continues to work with the MI to help increase women’s representation in manufacturing and support the next generation of female talent.

    -NAM-

    The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.5 million men and women, contributes $2.57 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina's fastest-growing industry stars in new SCBIZ Magazine features see more

    The story on life sciences in South Carolina just took a big step forward to becoming even better known as SCBIZ Magazine featured the booming industry as its Summer 2021 cover story -- out now.

    The 14-page feature spanned four stories, from the trends driving the rapid growth of life sciences in South Carolina, to major advances in life science research happening here at home. A fabulous story on how SCBIO and life sciences organizations are working to close the workforce gap is also included, as well as an industry salute for our role in helping America emerge from COVID.  It's a tremendous section.

    Over 20 organizations are featured in stories, and nearly as many industry leaders from across SC are quoted in articles, enriched with photos, industry data on segments and market penetration, and more.

    More than two years in the making by the SCBIO team who worked with SCBIZ to bring this first-ever magazine feature on the industry to life, SCBIZ intends to build on this year's momentum and do another life sciences feature next Summer.  READ THE ENTIRE SECTION HERE!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    The quarterly series, titled InnovationX, will launch with an initial event in Columbia in May see more

    The University of South Carolina announced Wednesday that it will host a series of innovation-oriented events this year, which will highlight research, product development, and concept advancements at the University and across the state of South Carolina.

    The quarterly series, titled InnovationX, will launch with an initial event on the Columbia campus in May 2022. Future InnovationX events are also planned for Charleston and Greenville. The four-part series will foster connections and partnerships across academia, government, and industry, both within South Carolina and nationally.

    The educational series will feature engaging keynote speakers, live demonstrations, interactive panels and more. Each one-day event will focus on innovation across a different topic area, from future factories to industry convergence, modern healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Event topics will cover a broad range of topics, including:

    • Innovation in Flux: Changing Context of Innovation
    • Cutting-edge Industry Convergence: Blurring the boundaries between Academia, Industry, and next-level Innovation
    • Rapid Innovation in Modernized Healthcare
    • Entrepreneurial Effectiveness: Turning Ideas into Vision 

    “The University has established itself as the state’s catalyst between academia, industry, and government” said Bill Kirkland, Executive Director at UofSC’s Office of Economic Engagement. “This innovative series will serve as the single convergence point, designed to showcase USC as the driving force for education, workforce development and innovation here in the state of South Carolina.”

    Participants will include UofSC industry partners like Siemens, IBM, Samsung, Yaskawa, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, ROVE, Seagate and Fortinet.

    Event dates and more information about InnovationX will be announced in early 2022.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    As Company Builds on Momentum, New Product Will Be Safer for Patients see more

    Continuing to build on the momentum that comes with explosive growth, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation today announced the launch of a brand new syringe presentation under the highly successful Nephron 503B Outsourcing Facility operation.

    The Cyclic Olefin Copolymer syringe (COC) has a glass-like appearance, but is break-resistant and lightweight. COC syringes are suitable for a variety of medications, including highly viscous drugs and provide for extended product shelf-life. The disconnected plunger allows for easier storage.

    “From lifesaving drugs to cutting-edge automation, Nephron is known for the innovative new ways it approaches pharmaceutical manufacturing,” said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy. “That is why we could not be more excited or proud for the launch of our first COC syringe. In the same way we are transitioning products from traditional IV bags into Blow-Fill-Seal plastic IV bottles, this product launch represents a progressive, and necessary change, making life easier for health care professionals and products safer for patients.”

    8.4% Sodium Bicarbonate Injection is the first product Nephron is set to launch in a COC syringe. However, the company plans to move more products to this format in the coming months.

     

    A West Columbia, S.C.-based company, Nephron develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products. The company also operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes, luer-lock vials, IV bottles and IV bags for hospitals across America, in an effort to alleviate drug shortage needs. Nephron launched a CLIA-certified diagnostics lab last year where it tests people for COVID-19 and administers vaccinations. In July, Nephron announced the opening of Nephron Nitrile, a plant that will produce American-made, medical-grade nitrile gloves.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Transaction expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 see more

    Novo Holdings A/S (“Novo Holdings”) has announced that it has agreed to acquire Ritedose from AGIC Capital and Humanwell.

    Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Columbia, S.C., The Ritedose Corporation (“Ritedose”) is a leading sterile pharmaceutical manufacturer, specialising in the use of blow-fill-seal (BFS) technology. Ritedose provides outsourced development and manufacturing of ophthalmology drugs, respiratory drugs, and vaccines. In addition, Ritedose develops and markets its own portfolio of generic drugs and is an emerging player in the outsourced sterile compounding market focusing on medically necessary drugs that are in short supply. Ritedose customers range from small start-ups and large pharmaceutical companies to wholesalers, retail pharmacies and hospital systems. Today, the company employs more than 400 people and is led by Chief Executive Officer Jody Chastain, who will continue to run the company under Novo Holdings’ ownership.

    Jonathan Levy, Senior Partner, Principal Investments at Novo Holdings, said: “Ritedose is a mission-driven company helping bring life-saving drugs to market with the highest focus on quality and sterility. We look forward to partnering with Jody and the Ritedose team as they continue to deliver best-in-class quality solutions to the biopharmaceutical industry.”

    Abhijeet Lele, Senior Partner and Head of Principal Investments US at Novo Holdings, added: “The investment in Ritedose is perfectly aligned with our deep expertise in pharma services. We see myriad opportunities to have an impact at Ritedose. We are also particularly excited to be at the vanguard of increasing vaccine availability through the use of blow-fill-seal injectable technology.”

    Jody Chastain, Chief Executive Officer of Ritedose, said: “We are excited and proud to be partnering with Novo Holdings. We believe that Novo Holdings’ experience and track record in healthcare and their commitment to supporting scientific, humanitarian, and social causes aligns well with our mission and will help us to deliver on our growth aspirations. Our focus has always been on honouring patients and the people who care for them, and we look forward to continuing to do so with Novo Holdings’ support.”

    Heiko von Dewitz, Partner and Managing Director of AGIC in Europe, said: “We are pleased to have accompanied and supported Ritedose through an extraordinary journey, and worked closely with management to keep expanding Ritedose’s core business and develop new businesses that will fuel additional growth in the future. We believe Novo Holdings is a very good partner for Ritedose and that they will achieve great success together.”

    The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. Goodwin Procter, LLP served as legal advisor to Novo Holdings. RBC Capital Markets, LLC served as financial advisor to Novo Holdings.

    About Ritedose
    Founded in 1995 in Columbia, South Carolina, The Ritedose Corporation is an industry leader in the aseptic manufacturing and liquid packaging of respiratory and ophthalmic products, utilizing proven blow-fill-seal (“BFS”) technology to ensure efficient, consistent and safe dosage delivery. The company’s 25-year track record includes the delivery of more than 8 billion doses since 2012 without a single recall, and its current capacity is over 2.0 billion units annually. In 2020, The Ritedose Corporation was selected as a subcontractor to ApiJect for the production of single-dose prefilled syringes intended for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

    About Novo Holdings A/S
    Novo Holdings A/S is a private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is the holding company of the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, and is responsible for managing the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s assets.

    Novo Holdings is recognized as a leading international life science investor, with a focus on creating long-term value. As a life science investor, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies and takes significant ownership positions in growth and well-established companies. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of diversified financial assets. Further information: www.novoholdings.dk.

    About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
    The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies in the Novo Group; and 2) to support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

    The vision of the Foundation is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the lives of people and the sustainability of society. Since 2010, the Foundation has donated more than DKK 30 billion (US$4.5 billion), primarily for research at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries. Read more at www.novonordiskfonden.dk/en

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Product developed, to be marketed by Columbia, SC company see more

     The Ritedose Corporation has announced the development of and plans to commercialize the first new way to dispense single-dose liquid medications in two decades.

    After five years of R&D, the Columbia-based developer of blow-fill-seal unit dose technology is launching SuredoseRx™, an easier and more convenient way for healthcare workers to administer, and patients to take, single doses of liquid medications.

    The single-unit doses will be individually wrapped and bar-coded for ease of use by hospitals and other clinical settings.

    SuredoseRx will debut with three of the most-used liquid drugs in the first quarter of 2022, followed by rollouts of many others.

    Historically, single-dose liquid medications have been supplied in small foil-lidded plastic cups where the seal must be manually pulled off.

    In contrast, the Ritedose package is a small low-density polyethylene ampoule with a twist-off top that is designed not to spill. Medication comes out in force only when the ampoule is squeezed.  In the event the ampoule is dropped, the design allows for less spillage.

    “This resolves problems of accidental spillage that many healthcare providers and patients have experienced with the old-style cups,” said Jody Chastain, CEO of The Ritedose Corporation. “We heard story after story of nurses and patients accidentally dropping the cups after opening them with some of the medication spilling. At that point, you have no way of knowing how much is remaining.  SuredoseRx is purposely designed to help prevent these problems, and we think it is a game-changer to make life easier for patients and those who care for them.”

    The five years of research and development of SurdoseRx started in a hospital room where Chastain’s wife was being treated for cancer.

    He watched as a nurse unsuccessfully struggled to pull the lid off a medication cup. She then cut the top open with scissors as a last resort.

    “That one act immediately compromised the drug my wife was supposed to take,” Chastain said. “I asked the nurse to get another cup.”

    Based upon that experience, Chastain initiated a research and development project that resulted in a revolutionary new design of a single-dose liquid medication dispensing device for a $93 million market nationwide.

    “We take our job personally and we realize we don’t make drugs for faceless patients," Chastain said. “This is a case where the experience of a family member resulted in a new product that will make the medication experience better and for everyone.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Heartbeat Technologies, Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, and Victory Exofibres were accepted see more

    Heartbeat Technologies, Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, and Victory Exofibres were accepted as South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) Member Companies. All SCRA Member Companies receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding, and the potential to be considered for an investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.

    Heartbeat Technologies LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Charleston-based startup is dedicated to improving cardiac arrest outcomes and developed a device called ‘The SAVER,’ to better perfuse the heart and brain during emergency events.

    Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems Inc has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Irmo-based startup creates, manufactures, and distributes next-generation biotechnology products to clinical and forensic toxicology organizations, academic research facilities, federal government agencies, and health science companies.

    Victory Exofibres LLC  has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Greenville-based startup company produces super-efficient viral particle isolation kits that enable more efficient medical diagnostic testing.

    SCRA welcomes these new Member Companies.

    Grant funding is made possible, in part, by the Industry Partnership Fund (IPF) contributions that fuel the state’s innovation economy. Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, making it an easy and effective way to help one of the fastest growing segments of the South Carolina economy. Grant funding for Member Companies creates a direct, positive economic effect and job creation.

    ###

    About SCRA
    https://scra.org/
    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Apprenticeship program paying dividends for Nephron see more

    Compliments of Columbia Regional Business Report

    Five graduates have completed Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp.’s 2021 Pharmacy Technician Apprentice Program with the highest grade point average and completion rate in the history of the program, started in January 2018.  

    The class’s completion rate of 100% and its GPA of more than 3.5 set records for the program, a partnership between Nephron and Midlands Technical College.  

    "We could not be more excited about this bright group of future pharmacy technicians,” Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy said in a news release. “They demonstrated precisely the kind of hard work, determination and attention to detail it takes to excel in an increasingly competitive professional field. We look forward to watching them as they flourish into the industry leaders of tomorrow.” 

    The program marked Nephron’s first official apprenticeship through Apprenticeship Carolina and the U.S. Department of Labor. Students are enrolled in MTC’s seven-month pharmacy technician certification program.  

    Each Nephron employee will continue to work full time while completing the MTC program, with all educational costs paid by Nephron, according to the release.   

    The 2021 Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship class members are: 

    • Yulander Brown 
    • Hannelore Ignacio 
    • Sha’Keela Shiggs 
    • Gabriela Solla 
    • Michelle Whetstone 

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SC Commerce executive to lead Midlands team see more

    Compliments of Columbia Regional Business Report

    An economic development professional with more than two decades of experience is the new president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance.  

    Nelson Lindsay, the S.C. Department of Commerce’s director of global business development since 2015, began his new role this month.  

    A state-certified economic developer, Lindsay has also served as director of economic development for Richland and Kershaw counties. At the state commerce department, he supervised all project management activity and new industry recruitment.  

    “Being a native of the central S.C. region and being associated with the CSCA for over twenty years, I am excited to work with our counties and city on the region’s future,” Lindsay said in a news release from Central SC Alliance. “I believe the best is yet to come, and I look forward to being a part of that growth.” 

    Central SC Alliance Chair Keller Kissam, who led a selection panel in the search for a new CEO, said Lindsay’s vision made him the best candidate for the job.   
     
    “It will be exciting to see Mr. Lindsay’s vision for the CSCA put into action, and the impact it will have on helping build upon the legacy of the region and this organization,” Kissam said. 

    The Central SC Alliance has provided economic development services from research and marketing to business recruitment and development for 27 years to its eight member counties — Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Richland and Orangeburg — as well as the city of Columbia.  

  • sam patrick posted an article
    USC earns $400,000 grant see more

    The U.S. Economic Development Administration today announced the 50 organizations that will share in grants totaling $36.5 million to support programs that fuel innovation and tech-based economic development as part of the Build to Scale program. The 2021 awardees will leverage an additional $40 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources. SSTI has been a proponent of the Build to Scale program, which had not received any federal appropriations prior to the creation of SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council.

    The 50 organizations hail from 26 states and include venture development organizations, state agencies, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations. The FY 2021 Build to Scale program was comprised of two competitions –– the Venture Challenge, which leverages regional strengths to accelerate innovation and job creation through high-growth technology entrepreneurship, and the Capital Challenge, which increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, angel capital networks, or investor training programs.

    The full list of recipients is available here, and SSTI is happy to recognize a number of members among the winners, including:

    2021 Venture Challenge Grant Recipients:

    • Arizona Commerce Authority, Phoenix, Arizona, $750,000
    • Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, $657,622
    • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri, $1.5 million
    • FuzeHub, Albany, New York, $753,546
    • Launch New York, Buffalo, New York, $750,000
    • Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, $1.5 million
    • Rev1 Ventures, Columbus, Ohio, $1.4 million

    2021 Capital Challenge Grant Recipients:

    • TechTown Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, $400,000
    • University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, $400,000

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Start Central is the Central SC Region’s go-to resource for connecting workers with opportunities see more

    Compliments of Midlands Biz

    The Central SC Alliance (CSCA) unveiled a new tool to connect skilled workers and local employers. Start Central is a comprehensive website where individuals from inside and outside the Central SC Region can search for job opportunities, access resources on training programs to boost their skills, and learn about the benefits of living in the Region.

    “It’s been a project of passion over the past year for our team to bring this website to life. We saw a gap in how the Central SC Region was fairing in the highly competitive market of skilled talent attraction and retention. This new site provides job seekers an opportunity to bridge that gap by obtaining the careers in our Region that they’ve been dreaming of and enhancing their appeal to employers by upgrading their skill sets. It’s also another way we can support our local existing industries in drawing in skilled talent,” says Tracy McMillin, Central SC Alliance Interim President and CEO.

    The website spans a range of topics aimed at helping both locals and non-natives explore the potential available to them in the heart of South Carolina. Major features include:

    • Regional-focused jobs and internships searches
    • Upskilling resources for students and existing workers of targeted industries
    • Startup aid for tech companies and entrepreneurs
    • Resources for Military members and Veterans
    • Ambassador testimonials
    • News about regional jobs and training

    The site also highlights the livability of the Region with profiles on the Region’s nine communities, details on local entertainment and attractions, links to charitable and volunteering opportunities, and an interactive cost of living calculator.

    “We want visitors to take away a little piece of what we love about the Central SC Region and use that information to decide that this is the destination for them. Some people may think of the coast or mountains when you first ask them about South Carolina – but this area has an underrated allure,” McMillin explains. “We are surrounded by natural beauty with many of our communities interwoven with watery and wooded retreats right outside their doors. The cost of living makes it possible to not just work for a living but to enjoy the money you earn. And we have some of the world’s best-known brand names creating career opportunities in nearly every field.”

    Access to an available and skilled workforce is a constant need of companies. Spanning eight counties – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland – and the state’s capital city of Columbia, the Central SC Region is home to popular brands like Amazon, Samsung, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), Capgemini, BlueCross BlueShield of SC, and Target. Over recent years, the Region has become a hub for startups and entrepreneurs such as Zverse, Vän Robotics, Cognito Forms, Proof Alcohol Ice Cream, guHRoo, and more. These operations along with more than 1,000 other facilities employ more than a quarter million workers; and as their facilities grow, so does the importance of access to workers with supporting talents and skills.

    Matt Vaadi, CEO of the Columbia-area HR software and solutions company guHRoo (formerly ERG Payroll), has found success in accessing talent for his company through diligence and dedication to the extensive network of local resources.

    “The talent pool in Central SC and the surrounding area is deeper than people realize,” he explains. “Between the universities, the large technology companies, and the people relocating to the area, you can find exactly what you are looking for if you put in the work. We focus most of our recruiting efforts on hiring local talent and upskilling where necessary because we believe in the local talent density.”

    Collaborative partnerships with businesses in the Region, and those with technical training facilities, colleges and universities, governing bodies, and more, have become an indispensable action-driven network in economic development growth opportunities. These connections played an important role throughout the creation of Start Central.

    “This site has kicked off so many new connections and collaborative opportunities, and we are excited to see what else lies ahead and how we can grow and change together to amplify the mission of this Region,” says McMillin.

    To see what Start Central has to offer and to start exploring the benefits of the Central SC Region, visit startcentralsc.org.

     

    About Start Central & the Central South Carolina Alliance

    Start Central is an initiative of the Central SC Alliance (CSCA) to support existing industries of the Central SC Region in their need to recruit and retain skilled talent. Connect with Start Central on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

    Located in the heart of South Carolina, the Central SC Alliance (CSCA) is a full-service professional economic development alliance focused on cultivating economic advancement and enrichment in the communities of the Central SC Region. Founded in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit partnership, the CSCA is the Region’s lead economic development alliance representing eight member counties and the state’s capital city – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland counties and the City of Columbia.

    To learn more, visit our website at centralsc.org and connect with us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

     September 29, 2021