Bloomberg: Greenville Could Be Innovation Economy BlueprintJune 28, 2018
Greenville’s resurgence, entrepreneurial ecosystem cited as model
“At least one Southern city could provide a blueprint for the rest of the region to follow in transforming the Southern economy from industry to innovation,” says Nathan Hager of Bloomberg Radio’s “Politics, Policy, Power and Law.”
Bloomberg news Federal Reserve reporter Craig Torres shares in a June 25 podcast that it was data analysis that piqued the outlet’s curiosity about Greenville, the focus of its June 21 piece called “The New Startup South.”
“What we found there was a community aligned toward fostering new businesses, be they biotech, be they high-end manufacturing, or be they technology companies,” Torres says.
How does our region’s entrepreneurial environment benefit from the presence of major employers such as BMW and Michelin? Top-of-the-line management was a common answer, Torres recalls. “A lot of these companies may be doing something different like software – but those are world-class companies … you get a manager out of there, he can probably run anything.”
With Greenville’s resurgence as an example, Torres proposes it’s not protectionist tariff and immigration policies, or reviving the coal and metals industries that will help American economies grow – rather, it’s the innovation economy.
His piece cites the successes of startups in the life science and technology space, such as Zylö Therapeutics, Condrey Corporation, and Kiyatec, as well as availability of capital through resources like VentureSouth.
Additional keys to the Upstate’s startup success include mentorship, resources and funding connections offered by NEXT, the SC Department of Commerce Office of Innovation, and the South Carolina Research Authority.
“It takes a lot of work, a lot of investment, and you need everybody in the small towns pointing in the same direction,” he adds.
What about the role that state incentives play?
“If you were to ask me, ‘What’s the one thing you came away with about why do small businesses have a chance in Greenville? I think it’s the local network of angel investors that are willing to fund good ideas, and they get a hefty tax credit just for doing that,” Torres says. “That’s a big state incentive, and it keeps a lot of money in the state funding new businesses.”
The state incentive he’s referencing – known as the Angel Investor Tax Credit – is set to sunset in 2019 unless renewed by the General Assembly. The Upstate SC Alliance echoes the Upstate Chamber Coalition in support for this incentive, and we see this national recognition as an indicator of the program’s success that is positioning our region and state for growth from within.
TOPICS: Advocacy, Business, International, Innovation, News You Can Use, Life Science