South Carolina Innovation Challenge doles out $2.6 million in grants

The South Carolina Department of Commerce recently awarded $2.6 million in innovation challenge grants to 19 organizations throughout the state.

The funds are intended to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and technology-based economic development that will improve the economy.

Among the recipients and winning projects were: The 5th T Innovation Group, Conway Innovation Center; the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation, Flagship3 Incubator; the city of Anderson, e-Merge @ the Garage programs; the city of Spartanburg, Project Hub Relocation and Expansion; Florence Downtown Development Corporation, North Dargan Innovation Center; South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematical (GSSM) Foundation, iTEAMS Xtreme and CREATEng; Grand Strand Technology Council,  Startup.SC; IT-oLogy, PRISM; Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation (RHEDC), Knowledge Park Innovation Center: Phase II; and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, NEXT Ecosystem Acceleration.

Also receiving grants were: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, The Harbor Entrepreneur Center; Hartsville Community Development Foundation, Duke Energy Center for Innovation Phase III; The Institute for Leadership & Professional Excellence at Columbia College, South Carolina's Women's Entrepreneurship Network; Pickens Revitalization Association, Pickens Innovation Center; Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Santee-Lynches Ecosystem for Enterprise Development; SOCO, SOCO - Columbia's Creative Community; South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO), SCBIO Life Science Startup in a Box; University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken Innovation Project; and the University of South Carolina/Columbia Technology Incubator, Columbia Startup Hub

The challenge grant encourages partnerships, whether they are through universities, public-private sectors or governmental participation.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical components to the success of our economy,” Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said. “We want to enable and support a stronger innovation ecosystem in South Carolina and help the state become a top place in the nation to start and build high-growth businesses.”

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