Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Public Works of HeART Kicks Off First Campaign

Ignite! 2012 winner, Public Works of HeART, has kicked off their first mural crowd-funding campaign, giving some Gamecock spirit to a local water tower while feeding the hungry.

The target of the first mural campaign? An eye sore of a water tower located next to the Gamecocks new golf facility in Cayce. The plans for the mural are to display an attractive mural of a Gamecock golf player silhouette along with signage for the location. The mural can be viewed all around the area along with flights coming into the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Not only will this campaign bring recognition to the University of South Carolina and solve an eye sore problem, but will also raise money for a great cause. The project is funded by crowd-sourcing, where people can purchase two square-feet of mural for $25. A portion of the proceeds will then be donated to the Harvest Hope Food Bank, with the potential of donating a total of $50,000. 

The initiative launched on September 23, and has already received attention from local news outlets such as WISTV and the Daily Gamecock.

Innovative, multi-faceted ideas such as this are exactly what Ignite! - EngenuitySC's annual knowledge economy celebration - is all about. The creation and advancement of ideas like Public Works of HeART are vital to the success of Columbia and the Midlands region. 

If you have an innovative idea and want to bring it to fruition to help our community, we encourage you to enter the Ignite! 2013 Ideas Contest. Three finalists will present their ideas to an audience of 500 at Ignite! 2013 and will be voted on to win $5,000 for the execution of their idea. Now solidify your plan, pitch it, and good luck! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Innovative Start-Ups are Choosing Urban Lofts Over the Traditional Suburban Business Park

Research has shown an immense geographical shift of start-up activity from suburban parks to urban lofts, which should be considered in any urban planning. 

Recent studies by economist Richard Florida have shown, time and time again, that the innovative thinkers behind today's successful start-ups are moving to urban centers. Throughout the later stages of the 20th century, many of the nation's largest start-ups, including the ranks of Apple and Microsoft, started in "low-rise office parks just off highway interchanges." 

However, the modern start-up techie wants to be surrounded by inspiration and collaboration in an exciting and fast-paced lifestyle, guiding them towards more urban spaces. The benefits of these moves can be viewed in the increased opportunities for partnership, investors, and modern way of life. 

This trend has been viewed over the past 5-10 years throughout the nation, so what can we do to continue to develop Columbia as a start-up hot spot? We have resources in place, like our friends at CETi, the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator, and even have space at SOCO, but what can we do to continue this trend and growth in Columbia?

Trends and growth like this are greatly considered with the efforts of the Columbia Regional Competitiveness Initiative (CRCI). We must look at current and future trends to continue bringing Columbia to the forefront of competitiveness in the region and the nation, and adapting to trends such as this can only help the business environment of Columbia. CRCI is in it to win it, and this is just one of the approaches. 

If you want to read the full article on this start-up trend by economist Richard Florida, read it here

Monday, September 9, 2013

EngenuitySC to Host Ignite! Knowledge Economy Celebration on Nov. 20, 2013 @ The Zone

EngenuitySC has set Nov. 20, 2013 as the date for Ignite!, the region’s annual knowledge economy celebration. The event will be hosted at The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium, in Columbia, S.C., from 5:15 to 8:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy an evening of short, keynote talks by local thought leaders, open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and networking, as well as a lively session of audience voting to select the winner of the Ignite! 2013 Ideas contest. An afterparty, free and open to the public, will be held at Social Bar and Lounge in the Vista. 

For information about Ignite! visit: Major sponsors for Ignite! 2013 are BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Wells Fargo Bank.

A sold-out success each year, this 500-guest event is where CEO-level business, political and technology leaders come to network with the Midlands’ up-and-coming talent, from new media innovators and entrepreneurs to young professionals working in the knowledge economy. 

Hosts include Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C., and Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina, who serve as the Co-Chairs of the EngenuitySC Executive Committee. 

George Hutton, Executive Director of EngenuitySC, expressed enthusiasm for this year’s event. "We're thrilled with this year's program and the level of interest we're receiving from our partners and the community – it's going to be a great celebration of our region's entrepreneurial and innovation success stories."

The event will progress as follows: 

• Networking happy hour with open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres with an emphasis on healthy, local/sustainable foods, courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
• Five 6-minute talks by Midlands innovators
• Short presentations by the three Ignite! Ideas Contest finalists
• Live audience voting via text message balloting, to choose the winner of the Ignite! Ideas Contest $5000 prize, courtesy of Wells Fargo Bank. Past winners include Will Bryan of Public Works of HeArt and Jim Stritzinger of EnduringFX. 
• Free afterparty at Social Bar & Lounge in the Vista, 8:30pm-10:30pm

Local entrepreneurs with an idea that can move the Midlands forward are encouraged to enter the $5000 Ignite! Ideas Contest by submitting a short, two-minute video detailing their concept. 

Videos can be very informal. Enter here

Stay on top of Ignite! 2013 updates by following the #IgniteCAE hashtag and @EngenuitySC on Twitter or via Facebook:

About EngenuitySC

Headquartered in Columbia, EngenuitySC is a public/private partnership formed to develop and grow the South Carolina Midlands’ knowledge-based economy by fostering an environment where entrepreneurship, innovation, and the creation of knowledge are fundamental elements of the region’s culture, identity, and economic development strategy. Through collaboration with business, government, and higher education, EngenuitySC leads initiatives that support research development, promote commercialization, and leverage the region’s assets. For more information, visit

Tracie Broom, Flock and Rally, 415.235.5718,
Debi Schadel, Flock and Rally, 803.348.8861,