COLUMBIA, SC – July 2, 2008 – FastTrac® TechVenture™ SC of the Midlands held a graduation ceremony for its inaugural class of entrepreneurs in Columbia this week. The 10-week program is geared toward knowledge-based economy start-up companies. The two-phase, multi-session program, created by and for technology entrepreneurs, is designed to give entrepreneurial-minded participants the tools to advance a technology venture to the next stage of business, whether that involves seeking a final round of financing before going public or simply moving beyond the start-up stage. The sessions are delivered by seasoned, community entrepreneurs.
“In addition to the technical expertise, developing a competitive business in the knowledge sector demands an extraordinary effort, keen insight, and a willingness to learn new skills,” said Tom Ledbetter, Executive Director, Midlands Technical College Enterprise Campus Authority. “Through their participation, these 15 Fast Trac TechVenture companies have demonstrated these attributes, and have significantly increased their chances of success in their new ventures.”
The hands-on program uses participants’ own businesses as a case study, which enables participants to put proven business practices to work. 15 Midlands-based companies participated in the program, which came to Columbia through a collaboration among engenuitySC, Midlands Technical College, SC Launch! — an SCRA affiliate, the University of South Carolina Intellectual Property Office and the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator.
Six of the FastTrac TechVenture participating companies presented a business case to a panel of venture capitalists as part of their coursework. Subject matter experts were brought into each class session from various industries including law, accounting and marketing. Successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists also worked with the students. The rigorous 10-week program includes three hours of class sessions per week plus weekly homework assignments.
Some of the technologies and products that encompassed the Columbia program included software development, pharmaceuticals, hydrogen and solid oxide fuel cells, smart transportation, telecommunications, medical devices and photodynamic cancer therapy. The participating companies were:
· Compliance Innovations
· Language Expresso
· New Life Medical
· Palmetto Bioscience
· Spanish Vines
· TEC Support Group
· Zebra Pharmaceuticals
“SCRA sponsors the FastTrac program because it helps build the innovation pipeline and resulting Knowledge Economy in South Carolina,” said Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO. “We have today in our SC Launch program many technologists who were able to improve the business position of their startup after passing FastTrac.”
Graduates of FastTrac TechVenture describe the program as one that encourages technology entrepreneurs to determine the economic feasibility of their business concept, re-evaluate the feasibility of the technology, design a business model that matches a personal vision, and create a business plan to communicate the opportunity to investors. The FastTrac program is licensed by the Kauffman Foundation. For more information about the workshops or to register online, go to http://www.fasttracsc.org/eventscal.php or call 843.805.3110.
SCRA is a global leader in applied research and commercialization services with offices in Anderson, Charleston, and Columbia. SCRA collaborates to advance technology with industry, government, and research universities like Clemson University, the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina. For more information please visit www.scra.org.
About SC Launch!
SC Launch!, an SCRA collaboration, assists entrepreneurial start-up companies with up-front counseling, seed-funding, and access to a powerful resource network. The SC Launch! mission is to help generate knowledge economy jobs in South Carolina, enhance the state’s quality of life and provide opportunity for all South Carolinians in the new economy. For more information please visit www.sclaunch.org.
EngenuitySC is an active public/private sector partnership focused on nurturing the growth of a knowledge-based economy in the Columbia, SC region. Comprised of business and industry leaders, along with representatives from local government and academia, EngenuitySC strives to create a fertile business climate that encourages entrepreneurship and the commercialization of ideas and technology, harnesses the research breakthroughs of higher education institutions, establishes public policy that is sensitive to the unique needs of knowledge-based companies, and promotes access to start-up investment capital. For more information visit www.engenuitysc.com.
SC Launch! is a trademark™ of SC Launch!, Inc.
SCRA® is a registered trademark® of SCRA.