COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Commerce has teamed up with the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and 15 universities and colleges from across the state to launch SC Innovates, a program aimed at promoting entrepreneurism through a student pitch competition. The inaugural SC Innovates pitch challenge will take place in tandem with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) on November 16-22. GEW is a weeklong campaign that celebrates the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life and drive economic growth.

“This is a great opportunity to partner with our state’s educational institutions and encourage students who aspire to be entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We’re excited to see and hear what they come up with.”

Finalists will compete for mentoring opportunities with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts, along with cash prizes. Any student enrolled in at least a one-credit course this fall at a South Carolina-based college or university is eligible to enter.

“This statewide student pitch competition is an opportunity to showcase the untapped talent in our state’s colleges and universities. We are excited to see which business ideas emerge,” said SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn. “Our mission is fueling South Carolina’s innovation economy, and we see this as an opportunity to explore the pipeline of things to come.”

The competition serves as an online opportunity to showcase South Carolina’s student innovators and connects them with other business-minded students with the goal of generating new, innovative ventures in the state.

The application period is currently underway and students have until November 1 to submit pitches. Finalists will present at the live virtual finale on November 18.