State commerce department awards two local startup incubators $500,000

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center was one of two local incubator programs that received a $250,000 state grant aimed at growing South Carolina's innovation industry. Staff/File

Two Charleston-based innovation programs received half a million dollars from the South Carolina Department of Commerce in its second annual funding round aimed at supporting and growing the state’s information economy.

The Charleston Digital Corridor and the Harbor Entrepreneur Center were awarded $250,000 matching grants, which means they must each raise another $250,000 to access the funds. They were among 19 organizations across the state that received a combined $2.6 million from the state agency this year.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said the grants project, called the South Carolina Innovation Program, is to “help the state become a top place in the nation to start and build high-growth businesses.”

The Charleston Digital Corridor applied to use the money for its Flagship 3 incubator under development on Morrison Drive, which will anchor the city’s so-called Innovation District. The four-story mixed use concept will be the largest of its three offices for startup businesses.

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is another incubation program for local startups, with offices in Mount Pleasant, downtown Charleston and Summerville.

Other organizations that received state funds include the Columbia Startup Hub, The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and many other technology incubators and co-working spaces across 11 counties.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail