About us

The Office of Economic Engagement at the University of South Carolina connects businesses with all the resources you would expect from the state’s only Carnegie top-tier research institution. We are building academic and industry partnerships, facilitating the commercialization of cutting-edge research, connecting new and existing businesses with university talent and resources, and fostering entrepreneurship and small business development.

The USC system campuses stretch from the Lowcountry to the Upstate, and as the state’s flagship university, USC confers 40 percent of all baccalaureate and graduate degrees in South Carolina, contributing to our state’s competitive workforce. We know that the fate of our University is tied to that of the state and with an annual economic impact of $4.1 billion in South Carolina each year, USC is dedicated to increasing economic prosperity across the Palmetto state. Through our USC Council for Economic Engagement we are coordinating outreach efforts through all 8 campuses to help create a more diversified economy and make South Carolina more competitive both nationally and globally.

Business Solutions

Unique needs require unique solutions
Whether you are a locally based entrepreneur or an international company
establishing a U.S. presence, we provide the support and resources
you need to propel your business.

We tailor an approach to your business’ unique needs, creating
customized solutions to optimize your success.

What we provide

Existing industry support and outreach.

A single point of contact to help you connect with university resources and foster
strategic partnerships with key state government and business entities.

Access to all USC resources of interest, including the people, research and equipment behind University
discoveries; a skilled and growing talent pipeline; facilities options for business incubation including commercial
wet lab space, and more.

Technology Commercialization

Expediting the complex process

The greatest research or technological advances do nothing if they stay locked in laboratories and classrooms. That’s why USC’s Office of Economic Engagement, in conjunction with intellectual property and licensing experts, is dedicated to moving university innovations into the marketplace through the commercialization of our technologies by companies and entrepreneurs. Together, we can transform scientific breakthroughs into viable products that can create jobs, boost revenue and change the world.

What we do

Manage the comprehensive intellectual property and patent portfolio of the University of South Carolina.

Seek partners to leverage our research and intellectual assets including licensing opportunities as well as partners for Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Grants (STTR).

DATABASE Explore an array of inventions and technologies created by USC faculty, staff and students in our searchable database

Economic Development Outreach

Strength in numbers

Our office is the single coordinating point of contact for state, regional, and local economic development organizations.

We are currently partnering with regional alliance organizations to
assist in targeted economic development initiatives that
highlight University focus areas such as the McNAIR Center
for Aerospace Innovation and Research and the
Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center.


Grow faster. Grow smarter.

Internal Resources

Entrepreneurship workshops across the USC system.

The Office of Economic Engagement is coordinating with Centers and Institutes at USC dedicated to program specific entrepreneurship (Faber Center for Entrepreneurship, Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center) as well as strengthening ties with existing industry, such as aerospace and the McNAIR Center. In an effort to strengthen a culture of entrepreneurship thoughout USC’s system and many campuses, our office works in partnership to host The Proving Ground, an annual student competition intended to identify and accelerate innovative business concepts. Teams of students compete for more than $50,000 in seed money, startup support and the chance to turn their ideas into reality.

External Resources

A thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem is a vital component of any strong business community. That’s why we’re committed to nurturing startup ventures and independent enterprise within the University and throughout the local community. Our USC Startup Center brings together aspiring entrepreneurs, researchers, startup companies, investors, mentors and coaches dedicated to sharing knowledge, fostering innovation and strengthening one another’s businesses. The USC Startup Center provides mentoring and technological assistance to early stage companies and shares best practices with the startup community.

Partnering with the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator makes sense. They provide a seamless transition for faculty and student entrepreneurs ready to launch their businesses as well as local entrepreneurs looking to launch their startup ventures. The Incubator provides on demand customized business consulting while operating programmatic events that encourage collaboration between participants and growth. The Incubator is currently home to nearly 50 companies and was featured in Inc. Magazine’s Top 3 university-tied incubators to “watch.”

Innovista Research District

Discover the epicenter of innovation


The Innovation District is the physical campus of Innovista: 500 acres in the heart of downtown Columbia designed to be office, laboratory, home, playground and community to technology and innovation focused entrepreneurs, businesses and startup companies. Anchored by the nationally recognized research strength of the University of South Carolina, the Innovista Research District is a community that provides exclusive access to a skilled workforce, groundbreaking research,
strategic partnerships and more.

The gateway of the Innovista Research District is the new location for USC’s internationally recognized Darla Moore School of Business. Striving for the highest LEED environmental standards and an energy consumption rating of net zero, the building highlights USC’s commitment to sustainability in operations and academics. Other university facilities in the Research District include Horizon I, Discovery I, and the Public Health Research Center, where cutting-edge energy, advanced materials and health science research is taking place. In an effort to bring academic and commercial researchers together, the Office of Economic Engagment offers the only ready-built leasable wet lab space available in Columbia called IdeaLabs. IdeaLabs, located in the Horizon I research building, is fostering new and innovative enterprises that are adding to the vibrancy of the capital city.

Columbia, South Carolina

Where prime location and quality of life meet

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PRO-Business Environment

  • The lowest corporate income tax in the Southeast.
  • No unitary tax on worldwide profits.
  • Corporate headquarters credit.
  • Job creation tax credit ranging from $1,500-$8,000 per job created (minimum requirements to qualify).
  • A solid infrastructure with easy access to airports, interstates, rail and seaports.
  • Some of the nation’s lowest power costs due to diverse resources, including: coal, nuclear, petroleum, and natural gas.
  • The state’s largest labor pool in manufacturing, energy, healthcare, transportation and logistics, information/insurance, technology, and finance.
  • A cost of living that’s well below the national average.



Three Rivers Greenway
Congaree National Park
Saluda Shoals Park
Sesquicentennial State Park
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden (nationally ranked)
Edventure Children’s Museum
Williams-Brice Stadium
Carolina Stadium
Colonial Life Arena

Arts & Culture


S.C. Philharmonic
Columbia City Ballet
Vibrations Dance Company
Trustus Theater
Columbia Museum of Art
South Carolina State Museum
Mckissick Museum


We’re happy to answer any of your questions.

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