The Fastest Growing Companies in the Upstate

The Fastest Growing Companies in the Upstate

by Sharon Purvis

In October, a luncheon in Columbia, hosted by South Carolina Business Awards and presented by The Capital Corporation, celebrated the top 25 fastest-growing companies in South Carolina—and twelve of those companies are here in the Upstate.

The qualifications for the awards are that the company must be headquartered in South Carolina, have been in operation for at least 3 fiscal years, and have reported revenues of at least $3 million in the most recent year; judging is based on financial and employee growth over a 3-year period.

Those Upstate companies that were honored at the luncheon reflect the larger trend of growth in our area. The companies include:

  • a financial services firm: WCM Global Wealth (Greenville), a diversified financial services firm specialized in providing exclusive financial products and services
  • two staffing firms that cater to technology groups: The Hiring Group (Greer), a technical staffing and recruiting firm, and Intellectual Capitol (Greenville), a staffing and technology services company that provides technology assessment and consulting, strategic staffing, and application development
  • three companies in the technical/engineering/manufacturing sector: Clear Touch Interactive (Greenville),a leading provider of multi-touch interactive flat panels for education,government, and businesses; NextGen Supply Chain (Greenville), providing consulting, engineering support, andsupply chain management services to advanced manufacturing industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical devices; and Thomas Mechanical (Laurens), a mechanical contractor specializing in commercial/industrial HVAC services, fabrication, process piping, engineering, and maintenance services.   
  • two contracting and construction companies: Harper General Contractors (Greenville), a full service general contracting and construction management firm offering preconstruction, building information modeling, design-build, construction management at risk, LEED construction, and design-assist services; and Clayton Construction Company (Spartanburg), a general contractor that will provide preconstruction planning, project coordination, post-construction follow-up, and a range of other services based on the project.
  • two real estate companies: RealOp Investments (Greenville), a commercial real estate investment company; and National Land Realty (Greenville), a full-service real estate brokerage company specializing in farm, ranch, recreational, plantation, timber, equestrian, waterfront, and commercial land across the country. 
  • a fitness company: 9Round (Simpsonville), specialized fitness centers that bring kickboxing fitness training to the average person in a convenient, affordable, 30-minute, full-body circuit format.
  • and a food company: Duke Brands (Greenville), the holding company for Duke Foods, a manufacturer of ready-to-eat dips, spreads (most notably Duke’s Mayonnaise), and bakery items, as well as the Duke Sandwich Company restaurants.

Additionally, the following awards were handed out: Harper General Contractors, headquartered in Greenville, was presented with the South Carolina Economic Impact Award. The Rising Star was awarded to Global Sales Group (Easley). South Carolina Excellence in Business Awards went to A3 Communications (Irmo), Duke Brands (Greenville), PCI Group (Fort Mill), and Quality Business Solutions (Travelers Rest). Congratulations to all of these companies for their growth and for their contribution to the grown of the Upstate and of South Carolina.

Creating an Environment That Works for Entrepreneurs

Creating an Environment That Works for Entrepreneurs

By Erin Ouzts, TATT Economic & Entrepreneurial Vitality Task Force Chair

While much of the publicity related to jobs and economic development is often centered on larger employers, the reality is that small businesses and entrepreneurs are critical to the economic success of any community or region.

In the Upstate, many people are working to cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports individuals and small businesses. Engaging the support providers for this key economic engine has been a focus of Ten at the Top and the Economic & Entrepreneurial Vitality Task Force since the early days of the organization.

Over the last year, our Entrepreneur Support Providers Network has been hearing from local and national leaders on how to continue growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Upstate.

People, trust, values, culture. How do these attributes make our Upstate region entrepreneurs, founders and business owners more successful?

When Andy Stoll, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Senior Program Officer in Entrepreneurship and overall entrepreneurial ecosystem development leader in the U.S., talked with our Entrepreneur Support Providers by Skype last November, this is what he said we needed. As you can imagine, our practical Upstate advisors, coaches, lenders, investors, SBDC & SCORE representatives, incubators, accelerators and every organization that supports entrepreneurs were a little uncomfortable with this. We were also a little uncomfortable with the region’s lack of awareness of the amazing work we do to build a thriving base of support for our entrepreneurs.

As engagement with the Economic and Entrepreneurial Vitality driver area has grown, we knew we depend on our personal networks to match our entrepreneur clients to the appropriate network. Then we gathered professionals from around the 10 counties and realized there were many resources we didn’t know about that could be exceptionally helpful. The challenge became: How do we actively connect these new links to our network and provide appropriate resources for entrepreneurs?

Stoll explained that entrepreneur ecosystems allow entrepreneurs to more quickly access the knowledge and funding they need, shortening their time to success and potential need for additional funds. To provide unobstructed pathways, we professionals need to know others in the network, understand the strengths and special skills each brings, take the time to connect entrepreneurs to the right person, and trust our peers. When I asked how to do this, he said one of the best ways is to do something together.

What could we all do together, yet separately, to support our local entrepreneurs and increase awareness Our Entrepreneur Support Providers Network (soon to be Entrepreneur Ecosystem)? How about a regional Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration? That might work! In 2018, our ESP meetings have been geared toward individual events held within each community yet promoted collectively on shared platforms to shine a light on the extent of the many organizations involved in supporting entrepreneurs, founders and growing companies.

Ten at the Top has a Regional Resource Map with Ecosystem members’ location and information easily accessible. In the Know Upstate is the regional calendar for the events. The Global Entrepreneurship Week and Ten at the Top brands on our materials will identify us as connected.

 

The following resources give more information about entrepreneurial ecosystems:

Entrepreneur Ecosystem Playbook (draft)
Entrepreneurs Matter
What are Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
ESHIP Summit
Global Entrepreneurship Week

Please join us…

REGISTER HERE for the upcoming Q3 Entrepreneur Support Providers Network Workshop on September 21st!