EngenuitySC, along with friends and partners, spent a week celebrating our region’s success and investigating our future opportunities during Competitiveness Week 2020. We packed a lot into seven days, and more than 2,000 of you enjoyed one or more of the week’s events. Take a look at this #CompWeek20 highlights video and see if you recognize any of these faces.

EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week 2020 was presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Friday, 1/24

Richland One Career Expo

Growing companies rely on a well-prepared workforce. At the Richland One Career Expo, dozens of local employers in high-demand fields introduced 1,700 eighth grade students to the habits of thinking that are key to success in their industries.

Monday, 1/27

6th Annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report Launch

Central Energy at the BullStreet District

How likely is a company – or a family – to choose the Columbia region when considering a move to the Southeast? Each year EngenuitySC publishes the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, which helps local leaders gauge success and address challenges. Results from 2019-20 were shared at this event. A keynote address on the efficiency and impact of cooperation and collaboration was delivered by Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, at the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report launch on Jan. 27. Des Moines is a nationally recognized exemplar for successful regional economic development through a collaborative approach. Additionally, Dr. Harris Pastides was recognized as the 2019 EngenuitySC Vision Award Winner.

Sponsored by Dominion Energy

Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, delivers the keynote address on the efficiency and impact of cooperation and collaboration at the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report launch on Jan. 27.
EngenuitySC Executive Director Meghan Hickman opens up the conversation on the 2019-20 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report results at the Launch Event on Jan. 27.
Dr. Harris Pastides is recognized as the 2019 EngenuitySC Vision Award winner on Jan. 27. Pastides served as EngenuitySC Board Founding Co-Chair during his tenure at UofSC.

Tuesday, 1/28

Table Talk

Central Carolina Community Foundation

CCCF held a breakfast event for those interested in more deeply discussing and learning about the ways Midlands school districts and education partners are preparing students to be college and career ready. Speakers included Dr. JR Green (Superintendent of Fairfield County Schools), Tana Lee (Richland One Director of Career and Technology Education), and Diane Luccy (Richland Library Online High School Program) co-presenting with Janet Hatch (Career Online High School Co-Manager and certified Career Coach).

Capgemini Women in Technology Luncheon

Capgemini Columbia

Capgemini hosted this luncheon to explore opportunities for women in Columbia’s fast-growing I.T. sector.

Cayce Stroll on State

Cayce Arts District

Adjacent to Cayce’s famed Riverwalk, the south end of State Street is the historical Main Street — and heart — of Cayce. The City has been actively engaged in revitalizing this area, specifically through “previtalization” efforts. This process, appropriately described as “the art of what’s possible,” has already led to the redevelopment of several derelict and underutilized properties, the establishment of new businesses, and multiple public art projects. As attendees saw on the stroll, this small area is dynamic with a unique mixture of businesses, art and recreation — with more to come! 

Sponsored by Spectrum

The Cayce Stroll on State showcased the city's "previtalization" efforts centered around arts and entertainment.

Wednesday, 1/29

1 Million Cups

Richland Library Main

1 Million Cups is a weekly educational program designed to engage, educate and accelerate communities of entrepreneurs. Developed in Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, and continually refined by a dedicated community of entrepreneurs across the United States, 1 Million Cups holds the promise to revitalize, empower, grow and activate the local community of entrepreneurs through online curriculum, coaching and experiential learning.

Minding Your Business: Keeping Lexington Competitive

Lexington Chamber of Commerce

Measured in the Competitiveness Report, there are five pillars of competitiveness and regional prosperity — but what does each pillar look like beyond the city’s core? The Lexington Chamber hosted a panel of local leaders working to build success in our region’s largest, most populous suburban county.

Sarah Johnson, Lexington County Economic Development Director
Franky Barry, Essex Homes & Town of Lexington Planning Commission
Hank Jibaja, Nephron Pharmaceuticals
Greg Little, Lexington One

Sponsored by Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Social Media Sentiment Workshop in partnership with Experience Columbia SC

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

Social media innovators gathered for the results of a multi-year social media sentiment study on Columbia SC. Attendees learned how Experience Columbia SC is evolving its social media strategy in a changing marketplace and uncovering ways we can all work together to increase positive perception of the region we know and love.

Mayor Benjamin’s State of the City Address

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

Mayor Benjamin delivered his 10th State of the City address.

Thursday, 1/30

Midlands Business Leadership Group Annual Update

MBLG is a cadre of business, education, and nonprofit leaders working together to address challenges identified in the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report. The group gathered for an annual review of its progress.

New-to-Columbia educators in Richland One get a taste of their new city during Teacher Discovery Day on Jan. 31.

Friday, 1/31

Teacher Discovery Day

Downtown Columbia

Richland One educators who have moved to the area from abroad were welcomed at some of Columbia’s beloved attractions and organizations to learn more about connecting students with opportunities in their home community. Their students are the future of our region! This tour was led by EngenuitySC for our partners, Richland One.

Crash Course Columbia, driven by COR

Downtown Columbia

Crash Course Columbia is a one-day, immersive experience taking locals behind the scenes of hotspots across the greater Columbia S.C. region. The program is launching in 2020 (the pilot took place during Competitiveness Week). Crash Course Columbia aims to develop local champions who will connect with the fabric of our region’s culture and choose to stay in Columbia — ultimately increasing talent retention in the Midlands.

UofSC McNair Entrepreneurship Showcase

McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise

The third annual McNair Entrepreneurship Showcase featured keynote speaker Steve Forbes, pop-up shops and displays of UofSC student- and alumni-driven startups, and resource providers for entrepreneurs.

Mark Rapp and the Cola Jazz Little Big Band at Main Course

Main Course

World-recognized jazz musician and artist entrepreneur Mark Rapp calls Columbia “home.” Rapp and the Cola Jazz Little Big Band entertained attendees at this lively jazz performance at Main Course.

Competitiveness Week goes out with a bang on Jan. 31 courtesy of Mark Rapp and the Cola Jazz Little Big Band.

EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week 2020 was presented by:

And sponsored by:

Arnold Companies
BullStreet District
Central Carolina Community Foundation
City Center Partnership
Chernoff Newman
Colliers International | South Carolina
Columbia Chamber of Commerce
First Citizens Bank
First Community Bank
Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center
John Lumpkin
Lexington Medical Center
LLE Construction
Nelson Mullins
The Cason Group
Public and Education Partners
Richland County
Lexington County
City of Columbia
City of West Columbia
City of Cayce
Town of Blythewood
University of South Carolina
Midlands Technical College