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Upstate, Charleston showcase tech & manufacturing at CES

December 12, 2019

South Carolina’s intersection of tech and manufacturing at CES

CES is often the launchpad for innovating products rolling into the consumer landscape: from wearables to artificial intelligence to connected technologies.

When the 2020 CES kicks off in January, representatives from the Upstate SC Alliance and Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) will partner to showcase South Carolina to businesses on the move.

“We’ve attended this show in the past, and this event offers remarkable insight into emerging technologies with applications across multiple industry sectors,” says Jacob Hickman, Director of Business Recruitment for the Upstate Alliance.

South Carolina tech and manufacturing will be on display at CES

CES: The Global Stage for Innovation

The two regional economic development groups will partner to raise awareness for South Carolina’s business landscape during the Consumer Technology Association CES conference from January 7-10 in Las Vegas. They will be joined by Clemson University, South Carolina Department of Commerce and the SC Power Team.

They’ll also keep an eye on emerging trends, and opportunities to connect businesses within their region to new solutions.

South Carolina is a state with heavy automotive and aerospace manufacturing history. So, what makes it a fit for CES?

CES is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, according to the event’s site. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

In 2019, more than 175,000 people attended, and more than 4,500 companies exhibited at the event.

South Carolina: A Tremendous Place for Tech and Manufacturing

“Objective No. 1 is to inform companies that South Carolina is tremendous place to grow their business, with a quality of life that will is well-suited for talent attraction,” Hickman adds.

“Convergence of tech in the manufacturing environment is particularly important for us in the aerospace and automotive sectors. We have a strong IT ecosystem to support the tech needs in advanced manufacturing,” says Becky Ford, Director of Global Business Development for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.

“Assets in our key target industries are located in the Upstate and Charleston regions, and there is a natural partnership to leverage the strong statewide resources in R&D, education, and workforce pipeline,” Ford adds.

South Carolina is home to 8,501 tech establishments, and manufacturers are working to incorporate technology into their process and products each day. That’s one of the driving forces behind the state’s recently launched TechSC cluster initiative and a recent expansion to the statewide SC Codes initiative.

What else will companies considering South Carolina find?

“We have enhanced the industrial climate through logistical advancements via port systems and air cargo, established workforce training programs aligned with industry demands, blended technical talent development from our technical college system with our research-rich universities, formed state-wide industries councils to progress clusters and evolved into an international melting pot,” Hickman says.

Clemson University will participate to showcase its academic presence and how it works alongside industry partners on applied research projects.

“As an R1 Carnegie research university, Clemson is a proud contributor to two of South Carolina’s greatest assets: our highly skilled workforce and advanced R&D capabilities,” says David Clayton, Clemson University AVP of Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. “Partnering with state champions such as Upstate SC Alliance and CRDA help us demonstrate South Carolina has both the technical savvy and workforce depth to compete.”

“South Carolina’s strong roots in advanced manufacturing and rapid growth in high-value sectors such as cyberinfrastructure offer a breathtaking number of opportunities for industry to thrive,” says Clayton. “Our global reputation is a direct result of our ability to support and grow with our partners.”

South Carolina is home to 8,501 tech establishments

Partners Across the State

For those familiar with South Carolina’s regional economic development organizations, which represent different areas across the state – an Upstate-Charleston Region partnership may provoke curiosity.

Though, leaders from the Upstate Alliance and CRDA Business Recruitment teams recognize the value of working together: it gives us greater visibility, and makes conversations with prospective companies more valuable.

“When competing for business globally, it’s more advantageous to partner up for events of this size in order to maximize impact,” Hickman adds. “Combining efforts enables us to have a larger presence  and solidify more face time with prospective companies.”

Collaboration among competitors within the state is not new to either group. That’s what drives the “TeamSC” approach, and it’s a sample of the environment business leaders find within South Carolina.

CES quote from CRDA

“The entire state thrives on its ability to cooperate. Our degree of public-private collaboration is what meets industry needs and drives a sustainable business environment.

“Plus, our job is to expose the Upstate region so that when time comes for a company to expand, we are at least part of the conversation and earn a spot at the table for the RFI (Request for Information) process,” Hickman adds. “Charleston Regional Development Alliance is the same. We have mutual interest in giving our communities the chance to compete for capital investment and job creation.”

One industry sector that’s especially important to the Upstate: mobility. Mobility is a driving force for the region, with automotive companies such as BMW, Michelin, and ZF as well as aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation.

For any CES attendees curious about what South Carolina has to offer, visit the Upstate and CRDA team at Las Vegas Convention Center, Hall 4, Booth #35764, or contact us today to schedule a conversation.

TOPICS: Manufacturing, Business Recruitment, Technology