New Report Spotlights Heavy-Hitting Contributions to State Business and Job Growth
In Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19), the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) played a major role in boosting jobs and technology-related businesses in South Carolina, with 2.9% technology sector job growth—close to double that of general statewide employment gains—and an impact of $694.38 million on the overall innovation economy. An annual report released this week quantifies metrics and shares the success stories behind these positive statewide trends resulting from the efforts of SCRA and its clients and partners in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry.
SCRA brings together key players in information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing and materials to align the strengths of South Carolina’s workforce, institutional research and existing companies, driving innovation and economic growth. In FY19, SCRA awarded $2.77 million in funds through its SC Academic Innovations, SC Launch and SC Ventures grants. In addition, SC Launch Client Companies received $2.7 million in investments from SCRA’s affiliate, SC Launch, Inc. SC Launch Client Companies that had previously received grants and investments went on to receive $135.83 million in follow-on-funding in FY19.
“Not only does SCRA make impressive contributions directly to these sectors, but its efforts also have strong economic multiplier effects,” explained University of South Carolina Research Economist Joey Von Nessen, who was responsible for analyzing the impact metrics included in the report. “For every 10 jobs created through SCRA, an additional 15 jobs are created elsewhere in South Carolina.”
Just as the report was going to press, SCRA and the state of South Carolina received a flurry of year-end accolades for their leadership in the technology sector. This included Inc. Magazine ranking of Charleston, Columbia and Greenville on its Surge Cities list of best cities for starting a business; New York Times and Brookings Institution recognition of Charleston as one of the nation’s top-10 metro areas for growth in technology-related jobs; and award to South Carolina of one of only five manufacturing industry health “A” grades from Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research.
“These gratifying results reflect statewide collaboration among a wide range of entities. We’re honored to play a part,” said SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn. “All of these successes have relied on strong partnerships with Client Companies, resource partners, economic development organizations, contributors and other stakeholders.”
The SCRA annual report provides detail on accomplishments contributing to this year of impressive growth, including:
- A year-long process that culminated in development of the SCRA FY20-FY22 Strategic Plan and Growth Strategy
- An increase from $6 million to $9 million in the annual contribution limit for SCRA’s Industry Partnership Fund
- A lease for 100% of SCRA’s 20,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in the new 22 WestEdge facility in downtown Charleston
- Successful launch of the South Carolina Medical Device Alliance, funded with a multi-institutional grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration
- Workforce Logiq’s acquisition of SC Launch, Inc., Portfolio Company ENGAGE Talent
“When WestEdge opens early this year, we’ll have an even more dramatic showcase for South Carolina innovation,” said Quinn. “We’re optimistic that the positive momentum will continue to build, as even more technology-related companies recognize the benefits of locating their businesses in this area.”
Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, SCRA fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry. SCRA operates on a July-June fiscal year.