Driver Areas

    From the beginning, when the idea of Ten at the Top was conceived and the mission was being formed, we asked ourselves what it is that would make the Upstate a leading place to live, learn, do business, and raise a family. 

    Five key areas emerged: Community Vibrancy, Economic and Entrepreneurial Vitality, Human Potential, Natural Beauty and Resources, and Sustainable Growth. All of these elements are vital to a region that attracts people and businesses while also keeping those who are already here. Because those five elements drive everything we do, we call them our five driver areas.

    Community Vibrancy: Embracing the importance and heritage of the Upstate’s urban areas and small towns

    Each city, town, and village within the Upstate has its own unique charm, character, and history. It is vital as we look toward the future to embrace and enhance these individual characteristics and features while also understanding how they collectively help give the region its own identity. Creating communities that are pockets of activity and have a sense of place is vital to regional vibrancy, as these centers often serve as local gathering places. They can also become magnets for entrepreneurship and cultivate economic success.

    Economic and Entrepreneurial Vitality: Growing the competitiveness of the Upstate in the global economy

    The Upstate’s economy has diversified in recent decades to become better positioned for growth in the Global Economy of the 21st Century. The Upstate is now home to both traditional manufacturing and a growing stable of national and international companies focused on research and innovation. In addition, an expanding legion of entrepreneurs and small businesses are dotting the landscape and serving as a key element of the Upstate’s economy. Continuing to cultivate and support small businesses and entrepreneurs is a critical component of the future economic growth of the region. 

    Human Potential: Creating opportunities for all Upstate residents to succeed

    The greatest strength of Upstate South Carolina is its people. Our greatest challenge then is to ensure that all of our residents have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We must promote and support a culture that enhances human potential through educational achievement, workforce training, cultural and creative activities, and healthy living. Read through our Human Potential programs to learn more about how we support Upstate residents.

    Natural Beauty and Resources: Serving as reliable stewards of our natural environment and resources

    One of the most recognizable components of life in the Upstate is the abundance of natural beauty that includes mountains, lakes, parks, farms, and forests. There are communities across the country and world that have struggled with balancing the desire to maintain their natural beauty and resources in the face of economic and growth pressures. It is essential for the future of the Upstate to recognize that the two goals are not mutually exclusive. For more information, read about our natural beauty and resource programs.

    Sustainable Growth: Encouraging growth in appropriate locations that enhance livability in the Upstate

    Creating a balance between available resources and our consumptive society is a goal that will continue to challenge our communities as the Upstate experiences consistent growth. Ten at the Top, in collaboration with regional partners, conducted a growth analysis in 2017. The Shaping Our Future Growth Analysis illustrated that if the Upstate continues utilizing land for development at the current rate, more land will move from open space to developed space between 2015 and 2040 than in the preceding two hundred years. It will be crucial in making land-use decisions that leaders in our region understand the many factors involved, including housing, workforce flow, development patterns, and transportation. Ten at the Top is working to educate the public and policymakers on topics related to the region’s future growth. 

    Economic and Entrepreneurial Vitality Initiative

    Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem



    Human Potential Initiatives

    Senior Issues Group

    Upstate Education Spectrum



    Natural Beauty and Resources Initiative

    Clean Air Upstate