S.C. Commerce Office of Innovation announces grant awards

January 24, 2022

10 organizations across the state receive funds to support innovation and entrepreneurship

The South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation today announced its 2022 Relentless Challenge grant recipients, totaling $473,000 granted to 10 organizations around the state. With the mission of progressing and supporting technology-based economic development projects, commercialization of new ideas and the next generation of industry-leading companies, the Relentless Challenge grant series targets strategic investments in localized initiatives.

“South Carolina is home to a unique and budding entrepreneurial spirit, one in which we are excited to continue to invest. Our state’s knowledge economy and start-up culture play an integral part in diversifying our innovation economy, helping recruit and retain high-tech projects,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III.

Since 2013, the S.C. Commerce Office of Innovation has awarded more than $7.5 million in local innovation projects to 52 organizations. Available grant funds that are uncommitted in any grant cycle are carried forward for future innovation projects, such as the newly announced Palmetto Venture Fellowship program.

Relentless Challenge 2022 grant recipient projects are due to commence the first quarter of this year. The 10 recipient projects are:

  • Advanced Technology International (ATI) – Expanding S.C. Underrepresented Minorities Footprint in the Cyber Security and Computer Science Workforce
  • Beaufort Digital Corridor (BDC) – Mobile Game Accelerator
  • Benedict College – Burroughs Enterprise, Startup, and Technology (B.E.S.T.) Innovation Lab
  • The Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Furman University – GVL Starts 2.0
  • Increasing H.O.P.E. – IHOPE Accelerator Pilot Program
  • MUSC Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences – Inspire, Innovate, Commercialize (I2C)
  • NEXT Upstate – NEXT Events Buildout and Extension of Access to Capital
  • Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation – Rock Hill Venture Mentoring System (VMS) – Office Hours Expansion
  • Ten at the Top (TATT) – Connecting the Disconnected: Connecting Rural Innovators to the Innovation Ecosystem
  • McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina – Intra-Campus Alliance to Advance Entrepreneurism

The Relentless Challenge grant series mirrors the overarching goals of Innovation Insights, a vision-document published by the Office of Innovation providing insights and growth opportunities directly from the business community and its supporters. Organizations are strongly encouraged to reference the document when considering proposals.


About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.