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The South is home to auto giants Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan Motor Co. It is increasingly attracting some of the biggest names in aviation, including Boeing Co. in South Carolina, Airbus in Alabama, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in Georgia and GE Aviation in North Carolina.

Aerospace companies are taking a cue from the auto industry and moving their manufacturing operations to Southern states. The region's lower costs, generous state incentive packages and right-to-work laws that make it hard for unions to organize are motivating these companies to choose the South.

Read the full article from USA Today by clicking here.

Among 136 BMW tier-one suppliers at the automaker's 2014 Tier 1 Supplier Diversity Matchmaker Conference targeting businesses owned by minorities and women, the president and CEO of The Daniele Co. stood out in the crowd. Gloria Shealey was the only one wearing a hard hat.

"She was our first African-American woman general contractor to do a job for us in our paint shop," Louise Connell, a BMW procurement buyer who organized the Thursday event, said of Shealey. Connell said the third annual diversity matchmaker provided a day of face-to-face time around dozens of booths at TD Convention Center.

Read the full article online from GSA Business.

It's been a long time coming, but USC Upstate's business incubator is finally open for new tenants.

Two businesses have already moved into the 20,000-square-foot space on the third floor of the university's George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics, what some refer to fondly as "The George," in downtown Spartanburg.

The university has been planning an incubator in the previously unfinished space since the business school opened in 2010. Tentatively named The Center for Innovation and Business Engagement, the program will target companies and startups looking for flexible space in an educational environment.

But being a tenant is more than just office space, according the incubator director Erin Ouzts. Tenants have access to a range of startup services, from mentorship and advising from university faculty to access to classroom and presentation space.

The two existing tenants, CareIT LLC and Credda, moved in last month after the university received its certificate of authenticity at the beginning of the year. Several other businesses, such as CorrScan, have requested to view the space, which is leased for less than market rates and includes amenities such as Internet access, phone service and meeting facilities.

"It's a very versatile space, so as our companies grow from two to five, to ten employees, our space can reconfigure to fit that need," said Ouzts.

The incubator is only one of the options that area startups and entrepreneurs have to take their venture to the next level.

For example, the city of Spartanburg is in the second year of its Main Street Challenge competition, which will award three businesses $12,000 in rental subsidies for a location downtown along with startup business services. Spartanburg County's Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development provides business services and over 363,000 square feet of warehouse and office space, making it the fourth largest in the U.S.

Spartanburg is also home to The Iron Yard Spartanburg, which offers co-working space at The Mill in addition to its small business accelerator.

While there's a need for incubators and working space, the USC Upstate's incubator is neither, said Ouzts.

"Those groups do what they do exceptionally well, and we feel like we don't need to do that," said Ouzts. "The vast majority of businesses will be bootstrapped and self-funded, and that's OK."

One startup the university is working with, for example, has already been through an accelerator, while another decided not to go the acceleration route, and another decided an accelerator didn't fit its current needs, according to Ouzts.

"We're targeting companies that want a flexible place to build their business and get the resources that they need on their own schedule," said Ouzts.

"There are many ways to grow the strength of a community and new business development. New venture development is one of the most enduring, and adding this incubator in downtown Spartanburg creates a kind of rallying point for all of us in Spartanburg and in the region," she said.

Read the full article from GSA Business here.

The Upstate SC Alliance will be hosting our Q1 Board Meeting at the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics and our guests will be able to view the new incubator space.

Officials from three of the Upstate's largest companies are announcing today the hiring of a person to coordinate efforts to encourage young people to go into science, technology, engineering and math careers.

The Upstate SC STEM Task Force, which coordinated the planning for the new program called the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative, also is developing a website that will help students and their families and teachers discover after-school activities that could enhance their education in those fields.

"We're going to offer it to the entire state, because this has never been done nationwide, and we want to encourage our entire state of South Carolina to be on board with this," said Marjorie Dowd, director of business partnerships for Greenville County Schools.

The announcement today at Embassy Suites is the culmination of a two-year process started by Fluor, GE and Michelin as part of an effort to develop a more technically qualified workforce by drawing together various programs working in that direction.

Read the full article from the Greenville News Online.

Told they won't have to raise taxes, Greenville County Council members voted Monday to fund a $25 million bond issue for Greenville Technical College to build an industrial job training center.

Greenville Tech President Keith Miller said the funds will pay for the campus, which he said will include a 62,500-square-foot-building, an energy plant and access roads. The location has not been announced.

Miller said he hopes to get another $5 million from the state, and private industries have committed about $5 million. He said the project must also receive approval from the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, the state Commission on Higher Education and the State Budget and Control Board.

Excerpts from GSA Business.

Laurens County has been designated a certified Work Ready Community, one of three in South Carolina.

Laurens County established a comprehensive program at the elementary level in districts 55 and 56 teaching work ethic. It also engaged educators through its Educators in Industry course, and SC Works has helped seek and assist the transitioning workforce.

South Carolina is one of four states to participate in the Work Ready Community pilot program.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

Officials with Spartanburg Community College gave a behind-the-scenes tour of the school's new downtown campus Friday as crews worked to prepare the building for students later this month.

SCC President Henry C. Giles Jr. walked a small group through the halls of the three-story Evans Academic Center, which will house SCC, Spartanburg High School's Viking Early College and the offices of S.C. Works Upstate.

The campus not only will allow SCC to expand, but will allow it to reach an underserved population near the city center, Giles said, while expanding partnerships with Spartanburg High School and S.C. Works Upstate.

Terry Pruitt, deputy superintendent of Spartanburg School District 7, said the Viking Early College would be the first of its kind in the Upstate, a male-only program that will prepare students for college while allowing them to earn both their high school diplomas and an associate's degrees.

The program will start with a class of 20 ninth-grade students and add a class each year.

Read the full article from

A new report on America's energy future describes how the Greenville County Schools' decades of energy-savings efforts have significantly cut power bills and freed up money to benefit students.

Two congressmen are leading a bipartisan discussion set Wednesday in Washington, D.C., on the report, entitled: Powering Up America: The Revolution Began Yesterday.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

Ten medical technology startups from all over the world comprising the inaugural class of The Iron Yard LLC's new business accelerator in Spartanburg punched in on Monday.

The teams, whose entrepreneurial concepts were chosen in June from a large pool of applicants, reported for duty at the Greenville-based accelerator's 7,000-square-foot downtown facility at 151 S. Daniel Morgan Ave. adjacent to Hub-Bub.

They each received a welcome package that included a six-pack of RJ Rockers' Son of a Peach Wheat Ale, a basket of Spartanburg-grown peaches, a Visitors Guide and some other goodies with a local bent.

Read the full article online from

An online ratings site has ranked South Carolina as one of the top ten states to develop a small business, but not all areas of the state were ranked the same. completes an annual study on small business friendliness and recently released their rankings for 2013.

On the nation scale, South Carolina was given an A-, an improvement over the B+ the state earned in 2012. The ranking was given for our good qualities in overall friendliness to small businesses, but also noted the challenge of zoning.

The state was broken down into four regions: South Carolina Upstate, Southeastern South Carolina, South Carolina Midlands and Northeastern South Carolina.

The Upstate region is designated as the best area for small businesses, and the Northeastern South Carolina the worst.

Read the full article from the Greenville News.