15 projects across the state receive funds to support innovation and entrepreneurship

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) today announced the recipients of its 2024 Relentless Challenge grant, which totaled $880,000 granted to 15 projects around the state.

The Relentless Challenge is a statewide competitive grant program for projects that foster a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Awarded projects must address at least one of four goals that guide the program: catalyzing high-growth entrepreneurship; increasing access to risk capital; supporting collaboration between industry and South Carolina-based institutions of higher education; and enhancing talent development for a sustainable knowledge economy.

“S.C. Commerce is proud to continue supporting the implementation of new projects that open pathways to entrepreneurship and technology development,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “Each Relentless Challenge grant recipient helps make South Carolina an exceptional place for innovative companies to thrive. We are excited to see the impact this year’s projects will have on the state’s innovation ecosystem.”

Since 2013, S.C. Commerce has awarded more than $8.9 million, supporting over 80 local innovation projects.

2024 Relentless Challenge grant recipient projects are due to commence the first quarter of this year. The 15 recipient projects are listed below:

  • Build Carolina – Build Carolina Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Studio 
  • Charleston Digital Corridor (CDC) – Education Foundation – CDC Learning Center
  • Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) – Piloting a New Capital Investment Strategy for High-Growth MedTech Startups
  • eMYRge – SaaSConn: Creating the Flywheel Effect for SaaS-Inspired Economic Growth in SC
  • FRESH at Clemson University – Clemson University Cultivate – Sustainable Packaging Entrepreneurs (SPEs): Connecting SC Businesses with the Next Generation of Sustainable Packaging Designers
  • GrowCo – Catalyzing Columbia:ColaStarts Bootcamp for Enhancing Statewide Networks and Beyond
  • Harbor Entrepreneur Center – PROPEL – Re-accelerate Companies Beyond Startup Stage
  • Hi Mark Capital Foundation ­– SC Innovation Business Simulation Program
  • NEXT SC –NEXT SC Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) Program
  • OneSpartanburg – Spartanburg Area Ecosystem Foundations Project
  • Platform at Greer – Platform at Greer Bootcamp: Expanding to Help Established Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Statewide
  • SC Tech College System Foundation – Create Opportunity Expansion Project
  • SCbio – SCbioDrive Life Sciences Accelerator
  • The Hill Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship – The Summer Business & Innovation Bootcamp
  • USC – Faber Entrepreneurship Center –Faber Entrepreneurship Center Expanded Opportunity Workshops

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 – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.


Kelly Coakley
Director of Marketing and Communications
South Carolina Department of Commerce
(803) 737-1998