As a result of relying solely on industrial recruitment as a favored economic development strategy, the Greenville, S.C. region experienced 11 straight years of decline in per capita income relative to the U.S. The Per Capita Personal Income (PCPI) fell from 101% in the late 90ís to 90.7%. In an effort to reverse this trend, NEXT, an economic development arm of the Greenville Chamber, was launched to attract and grow high-impact technology companies in the upstate region of South Carolina.
The theory was simple: increase the number of these companies with national and international markets that were paying an average annual salary of $75,000 to full-time employees, and in time, the PCPI would increase.
NEXT attracts and grows high impact, technology companies by developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem needed by these companies, and connecting companies to this ecosystem.
NEXT serves entrepreneurs representing IT and software, energy, biotechnology and life sciences, advanced materials, manufacturing, electronic devices and more. Our clients are in all stages of business development, ranging from seed stages, early stage growth, mature and exits. The majority of our clients, located in both urban and rural areas in the region, are producing sales revenues from markets out of state. These companies directly benefit from NEXT services; however, NEXT serves as a catalyst for economic growth for the entire region, while assisting these companies in their growth as they bring in new wealth, and add new jobs with livable wages.
Since 2006, NEXT has lead the efforts to fill gaps in the ecosystem by working with entrepreneurs, community and business leaders, and partner organizations within the ecosystem to create: CEO Forums, InnoVenture, Upstate Carolina Angel Network, NEXT Innovation Center, NEXT Intern Greenville, TEDxGreenville, and the startup accelerator, The Iron Yard.