These words seem to ring a bell for me and maybe for you: “With the size of our population, we should really have about 5,000 high-growth start-up founders here.”
The person who said those words was not a Tennessean, but Joe Queenan, a volunteer with Growco, a collaborative partnership dedicated to sparking entrepreneurship in Columbia, SC. The Palmetto State’s Capital City has a population of just under 130,000 and 731,000 in its metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Knoxville’s city population is slightly less than 190,000 people, and the MSA is estimated to be 756,000.
With a $1 million gift from the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation Inc., would-be Columbia entrepreneurs now have a new space right in the middle of Five Points where they can network, learn about starting a business, and set up workspace to begin meeting their goals. It’s named The Boyd Foundation Community Innovation Center. The facility will provide space for entrepreneurs to meet with their peers for networking and swapping ideas, as well as a central location for monthly workshops on different topics related to starting and growing a business.
Attracting and supporting high-tech startups is one of the center’s main goals, but Queenan said in this SC Biz News article that the Innovation Center will be open to help those seeking to start all types of businesses. A recruitment is underway for an Executive Director.