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Innovation is the nucleus of the Upstate. Our industries are patent-generating powerhouses, backed by one of America’s highest concentrations of engineering talent. Deemed “The New Startup South” by Bloomberg, our region is small in size though strong in its ability to meet industry needs.

Creators behind many of the Upstate’s products – from Ryobi power tools to Prisma Health’s VESper ventilator expander – benefit from collaborative innovation campuses and entrepreneurial support. Together, industries and academic researchers are pioneering advancements across fields from genetic discovery to light weighting materials.


Innovation Clusters

Innovation in Upstate South Carolina is propelled by collaborative research campuses driven by industry needs. From innovation in packaging design at Clemson University’s Sonoco Institute to advancements of robotics in manufacturing at The Greenville Technical College Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) Breakthrough applied research is conducted in world-class labs at Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), while International Transportation Innovation Center (ITiC) is serving as a proving ground for mobility innovation.

Business and Technology Incubators

In addition to its academic research and industry partnerships, the Upstate region is also home to a growing number of business incubators, co-working spaces and technology training resources:

  • The NEXT Innovation Center, a business incubator for entrepreneurs, startups and small technology businesses.
  • Next Manufacturing offers flexible short-term leases and an unprecedented support system to both start-ups and well established manufacturing firms.
  • Spartanburg Community College’s Spark Center.
  • University of South Carolina Upstate’s The Greenhouse Business Incubator.
  • A growing number of collaborative, flex-term and low-cost collaborative working spaces such as Endeavor and Textile Hall, among many others, are offered in the Upstate region.

With all of these regional assets combined, it’s no surprise that Greenville was ranked 5th in the nation in net business creation, according to Inc’s 50 Best US Cities for Starting a Business.

Let our team connect you to innovation space that suits your needs.

Support for Innovation

SCRA is a self-sustaining non-profit applied R&D company that grows the technology-based economy in South Carolina by commercializing intellectual property and supporting and making investments in early-stage companies. Since 2006, SCRA efforts have resulted in cumulative metrics that include:

  • 313 technology start-ups funded in SC;
  • $21.6 million in direct investments in the top 78 start-ups, who have gone on to receive $362.7 million in additional private investments;
  • 57 SBIR/STTR grants matched;
  • 17 companies relocated to South Carolina;
  • $69,000 average salary of jobs created.

Learn more about how SCRA is supporting entrepreneurs, enabling growth of academic research and commercialization, and connecting the ecosystem.

Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) is a group of accredited investors located in the Upstate who invest in and support start-up and early-stage, high growth businesses in the Southeastern US. Since its inception in 2008, UCAN has invested more than $5.6 million in 22 companies.

GE Renewable Energy supports worldwide development of renewable energy products. Hear how#TeamUpstate resources facilitated their growth.