During our first-ever Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week, held Jan. 29 – Feb. 2, 2018, over 300 people got a front row seat to our work enhancing the Midlands’ competitiveness and prosperity. Each indicator of regional competitiveness – Talent, Innovation, Entrepreneurial & Business Environment, Industry Clusters and Livability – was touched on during the week, highlighting the interconnectivity of these areas. We’re stoked to expand upon the impact and momentum generated by Competitiveness Week and can’t wait for next year’s event lineup.

If you missed some of the week’s events, here’s a recap of what went down – and what you need to know.

1. We released our 2017 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

EngenuitySC’s 4th Annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report results were formally announced on Monday, Jan. 29 to kick off its inaugural Competitiveness Week.

This one’s a biggie. If you haven’t seen the Report yet, click here right now to view it. EngenuitySC is proud to have published this critical benchmarking tool for our region for four consecutive years now, and the data revealed a few surprises. The biggest takeaway? The Columbia region has improved in FOUR OF FIVE major areas of economic competitiveness since this time last year. We must be doing something right: let’s keep it up, Midlands. Get all the data and details of the report here and view the report here.

The report results were revealed at a launch event at the MyCarolina Alumni Center, held on the first day of Competitiveness Week. In attendance were local leaders, movers and shakers across all sectors, there to hear of the results of this annual report.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin discusses the results of the 2017 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report at the launch event on Jan. 29.

EngenuitySC executive director, Meghan Hickman, discussing the impact of the report.

James Bennett, Paul Livingston, and Darrell Black having a good time at the launch event.

Event attendees were the first to hear the report results.

2. We learned what it will take to make Cola the place for insurance tech

Panelists at iTs|SC’s Competitiveness Week event discussed what’s next for the Columbia region’s insurance tech industry. From left to right: Amelia Hough-Ross – Companion Data Services, Henry Bryson – Unum, Steve Wiggins – IT-oLogy, Vivian Ford – Core Technology Solutions, Sam McGuckin – Capgemini, Jeff Ruble – Richland County Economic Development. 

iTs|SC, now under the umbrella of EngenuitySC, had an audience of 85+ industry members, service providers and economic developers attend its panel discussion on Wednesday of Competitiveness Week. Among major topics of discussion were regional marketing, economic development strategy, educational alignment with companies’ needs and women in the workforce. Read more about the topics of discussion over on its-sc.com.

3. We landed on the next What’s Next project to be funded

EngenuitySC team member, Laura Ros, presenting the potential new What’s Next Midlands project to voters at SOCO.

What’s Next Midlands investors gathered to select the final project of 2018, ultimately electing to fund a project from the Richland Library’s Do Good Columbia initiative – a hammock garden at the Waterworks at Riverfront Park. What’s Next Midlands also invited all previous project partners to the event to celebrate 3 years of accomplishments and examine the resulting impact from each project.

4. We fostered a conversation on gender bias in the workplace

HR professionals across many industries came together to discuss ways to create a workplace that retains and improves their brightest talent.

Human Resources professionals across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors held frank conversations about unintentional bias in the workplace at this event held on the final day of Competitiveness Week. Attendees worked in pairs to create plans for improvement, with the goal of creating workplaces that retain and promote their brightest talent. This is especially pertinent at a time when women’s underrepresentation in the Midlands workforce represents an opportunity for the region’s continued economic and social growth – an opportunity for us all.

5. We learned how to build our value

Over 70 women came to the Build Your Value workshop to reframe their thoughts on money, time, priorities, and value.

A diverse group of more than 70 women – business professionals and community leaders – joined forces to address the influence they have on their careers and workplaces at this workshop. Through a series of data review and hands-on activities, participants reframed their views on time, money, priorities and value. Attendees left with a renewed determination and confidence to seek promotions and quantify their value in the workplace.




EngenuitySC’s 2018 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week was presented by: