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In late 2013, the Upstate of South Carolina was selected for the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Since then, our team has worked to develop practical knowledge, policy ideas and networks needed to become more globally connected and competitive through the Upstate SC Regional Export and Foreign Direct Investment plans.

Our work with the Brookings Global Cities Initiative is focused on growing our economy through:

  • A continued focus on international recruitment
  • A new focus on increasing exports of Upstate goods and services, and
  • A new focus on increasing international investment through possible joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions


To implement the plans, the Upstate SC Alliance launched the Upstate Global Competitiveness Council (GCC) in July 2017. Council membership consists of Upstate SC Alliance investors, public sector members and nonprofit partners. It has a leadership steering committee and four primary working groups:

Global Leadership

With training and resources, regional leaders can prompt a culture change toward greater global awareness; prepare for federal trade policies, currency fluctuations, and globalization trends; and build bridges abroad for Upstate companies. The group aims to share this message through public speaking engagements and in leadership development programs across the region.

Materials Innovation

The Upstate is a location with materials-specific scientific strengths, a deeply collaborative culture for innovation, and a unique industrial enginering sector that provides quick, efficients route to market for new products. This group is enhancing the Upstate’s position as a destination for engineered materials and forming a cluster organization.

Middle Market Outreach

In recognizing the value and growth potential of middle market firms, this group is using a relationship-driven approach to support the growth and success of these companies by connecting them to market intelligence, case studies and programs that assist and inspire companies to grow and prosper. Follow our Middle Market Events here.

Talent Strategies

The Upstate has earned a reputation as one of the most desirable and welcoming communities in the southeastern United States to live, work, create and play. In order to retain our region’s homegrown talent and attract newcomers to the region, we’re working with several Upstate partners to launch an online portal that brands the Upstate domestically as an area at the forefront of a globalizing southeastern region.

Get Involved

Investor companies are welcome to participate in the Global Competitiveness Council. Wondering where you fit in? Contact us today.
Curious about the work of the GCC? Sign up for updates here.