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A History of Innovation, Today’s Opportunities

Manufacturing, Talent and Technology intersect in Upstate SC

American engineered materials leader Milliken & Company, which grew from textile roots. Belgian Logistics solutions provider Pozyx, whose real-time tracking helps any business with inventory to manage. And, life sciences startup Zylö Therapeutics, pioneering topical delivery systems for global use.

What’s the common thread between them?

Each of these innovative companies is finding success in Upstate South Carolina. A region with a history of innovation, where curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and a “can-do” spirit are woven into our DNA.

That constant quest for what’s next has driven current business momentum for South Carolina and its 10-county Upstate, which has been called “The New Startup South” by Bloomberg.

And there’s opportunity to be found where manufacturing, technology and talent intersect. Whether they offer corporate intrapreneurship or disruptive solutions, companies are finding a collaborative, business-friendly environment where they can establish a solid foundation and grow. Let their stories be your guide.

A Heritage of Innovation, An Eye on the Future: Milliken & Company

Milliken & Company solutions are found in a wide assortment of products.

“The average person touches about 50 Milliken products a day,” Milliken & Company Principal Scientist Mary Mason says.

That’s because the Spartanburg-headquartered company knows that a single molecule has the potential to change the world. With innovative products across the textile, flooring, specialty chemical, and healthcare industries, Milliken answers some of the world’s greatest challenges – with more than 20,000 different products rooted in materials science expertise.

The company has accumulated over 2,500 patents in the U.S., and over 5,500 patents globally since 1927.

While Milliken is a global company, with 8,000 associates across 46 locations, the heart of its innovation effort is here in South Carolina, with more than 100 scientists, engineers, and technical associates working to developing new products. At 16 locations across the state, more than 3,200 associates make these products a reality.

Today, 100% of Milliken’s R&D funding is devoted to initiatives with sustainability as a key deliverable.  That means everything from analyzing life cycle principles and solving challenges related to the plastics-end-of-life to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and waste – goals that call upon a broad range of scientific expertise to refine the company’s products and manufacturing processes.

Bringing Real-Time Location Tracking to Southeast Manufacturers: Pozyx

For Belgium-based technology company Pozyx, any company that is producing, storing or moving products is a potential customer.

Pozyx technology provides real-time tracking.

The company provides ultra-wide band, real-time location tracking technology systems with applications ranging from agriculture to automotive to warehousing, and has 6,000 customers in 80 countries.

When it came time to establish a United States presence to further their American market growth, they considered markets like New York, Chicago and Detroit before identifying the Upstate as the ideal location.

“We discovered there is a lot of innovation technology in South Carolina and in the surrounding states,” says Yves Ghys, Chief Commercial Officer. “And in the Upstate, we have a lot of potential customers and prospects within a 3-hour driving range. … It’s a perfect gateway to do business with the rest of the south and with the rest of America.”

Another advantage for the international company: the Eastern Standard Time Zone, which allows for business to be conducted with Europe in the morning and with America all day.

Since the company opened its U.S. office in February 2021, partners like the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, SC Aerospace, SC Logistics and government officials have helped them make connections – shortening the sales cycle, and reducing risk.

Industry-Changing Topical Delivery Systems: Zylö Therapeutics

Another innovator on a growth trajectory in the Upstate is Zylö Therapeutics, categorized by its Founder & CEO Scott Pancoast as an “adolescent startup.”

Zylö Therapeutics scientist works with the company’s topical application products. 

The company produces topical delivery systems with pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. Think: pain management and wound healing, antiaging and even cannabis industry products.

Zylö was launched in 2017 when Pancoast licensed the technology from Dr. Joel Friedman, MD Ph.D. with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

“He said it needed to be located up there – since all big pharmaceutical companies have a presence in Philadelphia, or Princeton, New Jersey,” Pancoast recalls about scouting locations. “I went up there, looked at tax credits and incubation centers all throughout Jersey, and then started getting a feel for South Carolina.”

The company put down roots in South Carolina, first at NEXT Upstate coworking space, then with wet lab space at Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (CUBEInc.), and in 2020 establishing a 12,500-square-foot facility.

“The pro-business environment is big to me,” Pancoast says. “I’ve seen the opposite, and it drives a wedge into success.”

Connect With Us

Ready to expand your business in a supportive environment? Learn more about how your company can excel in the Upstate SC innovation corridor here. Our team is here to connect you to resources to support the launch of your new operations.

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