SC Innovates Launches Student Pitch Competition

October 21, 2020


South Carolina Department of Commerce, South Carolina Research Authority Partner with Colleges and Universities to Launch SC Innovates

Student pitch competition encourages ingenuity and entrepreneurship

The South Carolina Department of Commerce has teamed up with the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and 15 universities and colleges from across the state to launch SC Innovates, a program aimed at promoting entrepreneurism through a student pitch competition. The inaugural SC Innovates pitch challenge will take place in tandem with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) on November 16-22. GEW is a weeklong campaign that celebrates the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life and drive economic growth.

"This is a great opportunity to partner with our state's educational institutions and encourage students who aspire to be entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "We're excited to see and hear what they come up with."

Finalists will compete for mentoring opportunities with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts, along with cash prizes. Any student enrolled in at least a one-credit course this fall at a South Carolina-based college or university is eligible to enter.

"This statewide student pitch competition is an opportunity to showcase the untapped talent in our state's colleges and universities. We are excited to see which business ideas emerge," said SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn. "Our mission is fueling South Carolina's innovation economy, and we see this as an opportunity to explore the pipeline of things to come."

The competition serves as an online opportunity to showcase South Carolina's student innovators and connects them with other business-minded students with the goal of generating new, innovative ventures in the state.

The application period is currently underway and students have until November 1 to submit pitches. Finalists will present at the live virtual finale on November 18.

The competition is co-sponsored by: Benedict College, Clemson University, Coker University, College of Charleston, Columbia College, Francis Marion University, Furman University, Greenville Technical College, Medical University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College, SC State University, University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina Upstate, Winthrop University and Wofford College.

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina's leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis. Additionally, the state has won the Gold or Silver Shovel Award from Area Development magazine every year since 2011. For more information, visit

About the South Carolina Research Authority

Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina's innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance multi-institutional, translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA's investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.