Resources for Entrepreneurs
Start-Up in Upstate South Carolina
More than just a great place to find a rewarding job, Upstate South Carolina is a perfect place to start a business. In fact, Greenville, SC was dubbed “The New Startup South” by Bloomberg in 2018 thanks to its “culture of risk-taking and its network of investors who fund early stage businesses.”
Our vibrant innovation ecosystem nurtures new and growing companies with a variety of unique resources for entrepreneurs, from incubators and makerspaces to pitch events and innovation summits. Plus, you’ll benefit from a lower cost of living and competitive operating costs compared to major metros. Read more about our resources below.
Facts + Figures
State with the Fastest Growth Rate in Number of Women-Owned Firms 2020American Express Women-Owned Business Report
Startups Per 1000 People
Resident Inventors and Their Patents Called Upstate SC Home Between 2000-2015U.S. Patent & Trade Office
- Notable Startups
Incubators, Co-Working + Makerspaces
Incubators and makerspaces abound in Upstate South Carolina—from NEXT, a Greenville-based incubator that supports more than 100 knowledge-based businesses in the Upstate, to Spartanburg’s Greenhouse Business Incubator, organized by the University of South Carolina Upstate. Co-working spaces, featuring unique environments and design elements, are available for remote workers and entrepreneurs. Endeavor is a 20,000-square-foot co-working space that focuses on creative services companies and freelancers. Atlas Local, located in a renovated mill in the artsy Village of West Greenville, is committed to building a community of thinkers, while White Whale Studios is a collaborative space for artists housed in a large, historic house in the Monaghan Mill community of Greenville. Other notable incubators and makerspaces include:
- BGen Gaffney
- Clemson University Biomedical Innovation Campus (CUBEInC)
- Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR)
- Greenville Technical College Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI)
- NEXT Innovation Center
- NEXT Manufacturing
- SC Small Business Development Center
- Spark Center
- Synergy Mill
Startup Events + Pitch Competitions
Innovation and entrepreneurship events in Upstate South Carolina include Clemson University’s annual Pitch Smackdown, a startup competition for the university’s graduate and undergraduate students, and the Pickens Main Street Challenge gives entrepreneurs the chance to win cash for the business to bring new ventures to growing retail areas. To help connect local startups to capital and a networks of peers, NEXT hosts its annual Venture Pitch Conference in addition to regular capital workshops and informational events for members. Check out VentureSouth’s and Start Grow Upstate’s Calendars to see what’s on the radar in Upstate SC.
Venture Capital + Grant Funding
Upstate South Carolina startups benefit from a robust investor network for a region of its size and a variety of public and private organizations providing access to grant funding and support. Most notably, Upstate SC businesses can tap into:
- Upstate Carolina Angel Network: A group of more than 50 accredited investors located in Upstate South Carolina who support early-stage, high-growth businesses in the Southeast with capital and expertise.
- SCRA’s SCLaunch: A South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) program that provides investments, grant opportunities, mentoring and support to early-stage technology companies in South Carolina.
- Scribble SC Innovation Hub: An online resource and connection hub for entrepreneurs, enterprise businesses and investors to access SC programs for research, workspace and funding.
Startups to Watch in Upstate South Carolina
Startups grown in Upstate South Carolina are creating cutting-edge solutions and disrupting industries, from to cloud technology to sports analytics to drug therapy delivery. Meet some of our gamechangers.
- ChartSpan Medical Technologies Inc.: A digital medical records startup with more than 100 employees in Greenville.
- Green Cloud Technologies: One of the nation’s fastest-growing providers of cloud-based solutions and services, previously housed in Greenville’s NEXT Innovation Center.
- Katana Safety: A personal security company with a device combining software, hardware and 24/7 monitoring that was listed on Oprah’s 2018 Favorite Things.
- Zylö Therapeutics: Developer of an innovative sustained-release drug-delivery system that delivers therapeutic agents through topical administration.
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