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Innovation Economy

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Program to help aspiring entrepreneurs move from idea to action see more

    In partnership with the City of Greenville, Greenville Local Development Corporation (GLDC), and the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is launching a new program this fall called GVL STARTS. The program is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs move from idea to action by connecting them with a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and teaching them the skills they need to fund and grow their ventures.

    GVL STARTS builds on the success of a “business and innovation boot camp” that the Institute launched for Furman students in 2018. After the students completed the boot camp, a select number received internship placements, funded by GLDC, with early-stage NEXT member companies.

    “Engaging with the Greenville community is nothing new to Furman,” said Anthony Herrera, Furman University’s Chief Innovation Officer and the founding executive director of the Furman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “GVL STARTS is one of the many new ways we are collaborating with community partners to grow a culture of innovation and position Greenville as a national hub for entrepreneurship.”

    According to Bryan Davis, Managing Director of the Furman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Program Director for GVL STARTS, while startups and small businesses are critical to a vibrant economy, over 70% of new businesses fail within five years due to problems that can be addressed with the right foundation.

    “Fortunately, a community like Greenville, which is fueled by collaboration and driven by a can-do spirit, has the opportunity to flip the script in an inclusive and equitable fashion,” said Davis. “There is a critical mass of collaboration partners around the table supporting the GVL STARTS program, and ultimately, the aspiring entrepreneur or founder. To me, that is the magical element of this. It’s not just about the great training, it’s about the connections and experience you’ll have that will absolutely give you a leg up to be successful in Greenville, regardless of your background, race, gender, age, etc.”

    The eight-week program, which will be offered twice a year, begins on August 17, and is limited to 25 participants. Sessions will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to pitch their idea or new venture during the final week for a chance to win $5,000 to assist with initial startup costs and free desk space for one year in the heart of downtown, surrounded by other entrepreneurs, investors and support organizations.

    According to Greenville City Manager John McDonough, GVL STARTS helps address the challenges facing every aspiring entrepreneur – the accessibility of training, connections and resources – and exemplifies the type of partnerships that Greenville is known for.

    “Greenville is more than a vibrant place to visit and an affordable place to live. It’s a thriving community for entrepreneurs,” said McDonough. “We welcome, support and collaborate with innovators, and the GVL STARTS program powered by Furman will provide the educational workshops, coaching and networking they need to build confidence and ensure success.”

    GVL STARTS is open to aspiring entrepreneurs from all demographics and business categories.

    The deadline to apply is Friday, August 6 and the cost is $299. Need-based scholarships are available. Applications will be reviewed by an outside committee and the first group of participants will be announced on Wednesday, August 11.

    The Institute offers a 30-minute virtual information session on GVL STARTS on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. Register for an information session. For all media inquiries regarding GVL Starts please contact Bryan Davis at bryan.davis@furman.edu.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Goal to develop innovative products focused on improving the health of state residents see more

    Compliments of Charleston Regl. Business Journal

    The Medical University of South Carolina’s Department of Surgery Human-Centered Design Program and The Citadel Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business Innovation Lab will collaborate on a joint effort.

    The program will create a core team of medical students, residents and Citadel cadets and students who will develop innovative products focused on improving the health of state residents, MUSC said in a news release.

    Both programs similarly promote innovative thinking. The BSB Innovation Lab focuses on teaching students the value of ground-breaking thinking and offers then the chance and guidance to invent and helm business ideas, build out a business plan and pitch ideas to investors.

    MUSC’s HCD program was founded to develop original ways to solve unmet surgical and medical needs. The program is led by Joshua Kim and was established under the leadership of chief of surgical oncology Dr. David Mahvi and vice chair of research Michael Yost, Ph.D.

    The two programs were brought together in March 2020 when the country faced protective mask shortages, particularly N-95 versions, as the pandemic picked up pace.

    During that time, Kim’s team of biomedical engineers and medical professionals developed plans for 3D-printed masks. The BSB Innovation Lab then collaborated with MUSC to print more than 500 masks to help to resolve the region’s shortage.

    “Through this new partnership, we can seamlessly innovate a design, develop a business plan and produce products that improve patient care,” said Mahvi.

    By coming together, the partnership promotes collaboration, academic growth and learning opportunities students may not have experienced in their respective schools. Residents and medical students are immersed in business training and entrepreneurship skills, while business students are exposed to the health care system.

    By working together, Capt. James Bezjian, director of the Innovation Lab and an assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in the Baker School of Business, said the schools are able to work on projects that have “life-changing” capabilities.

    “The relationship the BSB Innovation Lab built with MUSC during the height of the pandemic provided an opportunity for us to partner and continue working toward improving the lives of medical professionals and the patients they take care of,” Bezjian said.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina makes its three-city debut on the Surge Cities list see more

    Today, Greenville, SC debuts on the Surge Cities list at No. 33--one of three South Carolina cities, including Charleston and Columbia, to appear on the list for the first time. Each has drawn on unique strengths to build its startup scene, but all three also benefit from one another's success. Greenville's turnaround began 25 years ago when city leaders began aggressively recruiting manufacturers to tap into the city's underemployed workforce and tax incentives.  Click here to read the full article, compliments of Inc. Magazine.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCRA Celebrates $1 Billion in Support of South Carolina Start-Ups see more

    Summerville, S.C.– SCRA, a public, non-profit corporation that fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy, celebrated a milestone of $1 billion of follow-on capital secured by Client Companies in the SC Launch Program. SC Launch, SCRA’s entrepreneurial program, provides mentoring, grants and access to SC Launch, Inc. investments for qualified, South Carolina-based, early-stage companies.

    Access to follow-on capital is critical to the success of entrepreneurial companies. Angel investors, venture capital funds and corporate investors are the main source of follow-on funding secured by SC Launch companies. The $1 billion in follow-on investments were acquired by more than 140 Client Companies over the span of 12 years.

    “Our job, and our passion, is guiding companies to the next stage in the entrepreneurial life cycle and seeing them through to success,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director, “The funding provided by SC Launch is vital in enabling our Client Companies to overcome many of the barriers faced by early-stage enterprises. However, void of follow-on funding, these companies often flounder. Therefore, we are thrilled to be celebrating this $1 billion milestone.”

    “Through the SC Launch Program, SCRA helps entrepreneurs to strategically navigate the ups and downs of running a company. We also work alongside entrepreneurs to secure grants, prepare them for investments and secure capital from other sources.” said Jill Sorensen, SCRA Director of Entrepreneurial Programs and Executive Director of SC Launch, Inc. “Our team rolls up our sleeves and dives in to provide an advantage for the entrepreneurs we support.”

    SCRA is a state-chartered organization that fuels job creation and grows South Carolina’s innovation economy. The SC Launch Program is open to qualified South Carolina companies in the Advanced Materials/Manufacturing, Information Technology and Life Sciences sectors.

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    About SCRA
    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, non-profit corporation, SCRA fuels South Carolina’s Innovation Economy by supporting entrepreneurs, enabling academic research and its commercialization, and connecting industry to innovators.