Greenville Launches Initiative to Attract EntrepreneursOct 13, 2021 11:04AM ● By John C. Stevenson
Advertorial Content Sponsored by City of Greenville
By John C. Stevenson
“From Here You Can Change the World” — that’s the message Greenville city
leaders have for entrepreneurs. The city launched a recruitment and retention
initiative for innovators and founders to let them know “we
get you” and Greenville is the place to turn ideas into industry.
“Our city understands the mindset of the entrepreneur,” said Greenville City Manager John McDonough. “We know they don’t just want to make money. They want to make a difference.”
The brand highlights Greenville’s business-friendly climate.
“We collaborate, we cooperate, we support,” McDonough said.
A key component of the marketing initiative announced on Sept. 2 is YouCanGreenvilleSC.com which will become a one-stop portal for founders to access available resources, including specific information about tax and relocation incentives, willing governmental and industry partners, nearby research institutions, incubator programs and ready access to the venture capital.
The platform will be segmented to help users easily find information from the city and its partners including the NEXT Innovation Center, the Greenville Chamber, Upstate Alliance and the Greenville Area Development Corp., as well as local universities including Furman, UofSC Upstate and Clemson.
“Greenville is an aspirational city,” said Mayor Knox White to the hundreds gathered at the launch event. “It is a city where we like to be bold. We like to do things differently. It is an ambitious city. Greenville is a collaborative community. People come here from other cities and marvel at that. Our public-private partnerships, relationships between competitors and companies seem to come so easy here.”
The YouCanGreenvilleSC website and social media channels feature inspirational stories of founders who started or scaled a business in Greenville like Jon-Michial Carter, CEO of Chartspan.
“I was told I had to be out in Silicon Valley,” Carter said. “The truth is this, we were incubated here. Two guys in a garage, and by staying here in Greenville in five years we became the largest provider of care coordination services in the United States.”
While the program’s early focus centers on local entrepreneurs, From Here You Can Change the World will build excitement and interest nationally by providing a continuous stream of news and announcements to drive momentum.
Merle Johnson, Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Greenville, noted that this is a first-of-its-kind platform for the city.
“Greenville is differentiating itself from other economic development agencies across the country by creating tools that showcase all the incredible things happening here and address what entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey want and need most to accelerate and grow,” he said.
In launching the new initiative, Greenville seeks to harness the power of existing efforts and house it under one digital roof.
“Despite the excellent work being done by all of the Upstate Economic Development organizations, we saw a need for a singular message to cut through the clutter and speak directly to entrepreneur,” McDonough said.
One of the primary goals of the From Here You Can Change the World initiative, is to create a central repository of information, for entrepreneurial needs – like funding, networking, coaching and mentoring, co-working spaces, workforce development and HR support. Rather than forcing founders to surf the web or make rounds of phone calls, the new tools will allow them to easily determine which partners and organizations can help them with their specific needs.
Furman University Becomes
Anthony Herrera is Furman University’s first Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the University’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Herrera describes the website and branding effort as a new way to promote economic development.
“From Here You Can Change the World will help cultivate a community of entrepreneurship where we are providing the resources, the platform and the network for founders to launch ventures and grow them into midsize or large companies that are hiring employees and paying them excellent wages,” he said.
Aligned with this marketing effort, Furman recently launched the GVL Starts program (www.Furman.edu/GVLStarts), which offers eight-week sessions for entrepreneurs who are interested in starting new businesses in the area.
GVL Starts’ first cohort of 25 entrepreneurs receives coaching from experienced design thinkers, instruction from distinguished university faculty and connections to an investor community that’s engaged and committed to supporting aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.
“There’s a carryover to helping existing companies and homegrown companies thrive: It helps recruiting,” Herrera noted. “When you’re recruiting an early-stage company or a high-growth company, their founders always ask, ‘Are there like-minded operations? Are there peers there that are at the same stage we’re at?’ If they see that happening in Greenville, they say, ‘I could go there because I’m not going to be just one of a handful trying to grow and thrive in Greenville. I’ll be there with an entire community.’ If they see organizations thrive, then they will want to be here as well.”
Greenville Celebrates Successes
“From Here You Can Change the World” seeks to capitalize on Greenville’s growing reputation as a destination of choice for tourists. It is framed through the lens of entrepreneurs already thriving in Greenville using their stories to illustrate what’s possible here. It showcases our quality of life, cultural amenities, cost of living and the environment, in addition to what founders will get here.
“They are focused on companies that can create value and can create jobs and then they go out of their way to make sure so many of the obstacles that young companies encounter, you can jump over them faster,” affirmed CEO and founder Jon-Michial Carter. “There are endless stories of what the city and the county have done for us to succeed in Greenville.”Do you have the drive to the change the world? Looking for a place to launch? Learn more about Greenville, South Carolina at youcangreenvillesc.com. Follow us @youcangreenvillesc on social media to see everyday awesomeness in our economic development ecosystem