sam patrick posted an articleNew leader for entrepreneurial organization to start in September see more
Entrepreneur Eric Weissmann has been named the new Executive Director of NEXT, an entrepreneur support organization in Greenville, SC that has impacted more than 120 companies, who in turn have raised $28 million in capital. NEXT provides connections to mentoring, capital, facilities, and access to a peer community of aspiring founders across the region.
Weissmann was part of the founding team at Cintrifuse, a similar ecosystem catalyst, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he serves as Vice President of External Relations. Weissmann launched “StartupCincy,” an initiative that started as a simple social media hashtag and bloomed into a full-fledged, connected community. He previously worked in the marketing and creative services industries. Weissmann has helped establish the Disney Cruise Line brand leading up to the maiden voyage of the Disney Magic.
“I’m excited by the opportunity and encouraged by the amount of collaboration I already see in the Greenville community,” said Weissmann. “We’re at a unique moment in time where cities across the country are fostering entrepreneurship by leveraging their unique strengths to attract talent and dollars with the goal of increasing economic development. Greenville’s got the raw materials to make a huge impact on the region and I’m ready to get to work!”
Find Great People led a nationwide, comprehensive search. The interview committee selected Weissmann because of his extensive experience developing innovation ecosystems, supporting entrepreneurs in securing venture capital, leading diversity and inclusion programs, and supporting ventures from concept to exit.
“Eric embodies the qualities we desired in the leader of NEXT: a proven leader with experience building world-class ecosystems for start-ups and developing innovative, collaborative teams and communities where entrepreneurs can thrive,” said Carlos Phillips, Greenville Chamber President/CEO.
NEXT was founded in 2006 and has three locations including NEXT Innovation, NEXT on Main and NEXT Manufacturing.
“As we look to the future, NEXT has a goal of tripling investment in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we serve,” said Scott Millwood, Chair of NEXT. “Under Weissmann’s leadership, we are confident NEXT will have the strategic and visionary leadership needed to accomplish these goals.”
The City of Greenville is an investor in NEXT, as part of its Economic Development strategy to attract small and medium sized companies that provide high wage, knowledge-based jobs. The Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) is also an active supporter.
“NEXT is the vehicle the city utilizes to support early-stage scalable businesses,” said Greenville City Manager John McDonough. “We ‘get’ entrepreneurs and the dreams that drive them. Hiring a founder who has successfully started companies, grown companies and marketed companies, to lead the NEXT organization showcases our commitment to becoming “the place” for brilliant minds to start and grow their business.”
Weissmann is expected to begin in September.
NEXT, launched as a production of the Greenville Chamber in 2006, is an entrepreneurial support organization that attracts and helps high-impact, knowledge-based companies grow by developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs to it. NEXT currently supports over 120 knowledge-based companies in Upstate South Carolina. For more information, visit www.nextsc.org
sam patrick posted an articleFurman Innovation team to provide interns to KOPIS see more
Greenville software development company, Kopis, has partnered with Furman University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Bootcamp and NEXT to bring in summer interns to learn more about tech careers and to simulate the feel of a startup this summer
Furman University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Bootcamp is a three-week program designed to help non-business students learn business basics.
“Our partnership with NEXT has always been valuable,” said Matt Reeve, Furman internship coordinator. “They help connect our Summer Bootcamp students with opportunities that will help them grow their business skills.”
NEXT’s Vice President Brenda Laakso said one of the underlying foundations of NEXT is to help cultivate tech talent in the Greenville area.
“Working with Furman interns and helping them become more comfortable in an entrepreneurial environment, and that the program with Kopis will definitely help enhance the students’ business skills,” she said.
Ian Martens and Mike Miller are the students taking part in the program. Martens is a rising junior majoring in Economics and Miller is a rising sophomore majoring in Computer Science. Martens and Miller will be learning business and entrepreneurial essentials, and will also be working with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) team, working virtually to develop automated tools that can be used to migrate data from simple accounting systems such as Quickbooks and Zero to Microsoft Dynamics BC (Business Central). They will also be trained and encouraged by Kopis’ Software Engineering team and will have a deep immersion into the real-world software development experience.
“We are thrilled to be taking part in Furman’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Bootcamp,” said Andy Kurtz, Kopis’ founder and a Furman alum. “We know they will enjoy the experience, learning about both new product development and software development, and the will exit with a much better understanding of how software development works.”