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Moore School Report Makes Bold Recommendations to Grow South Carolina Business

February 18, 2013

Dean Kress and Dirk Brown
Dean Kress (left) and Dirk Brown (right)
This January, the Darla Moore School’s Faber Entrepreneurship Center released its 2013 South Carolina Capital Markets Study, which makes bold recommendations for how to increase capital to grow the state’s entrepreneurial economy.  

The report, commissioned by New Carolina - South Carolina’s Council on Competitiveness, focuses on how to help small, homegrown South Carolina businesses access the capital they need to remain in South Carolina and expand. New Carolina is a non-profit organization working to increase the state’s economic competitiveness through a cluster development strategy. The Faber Center is the Darla Moore School’s entrepreneurship research center.   

The Moore School research focuses on small entrepreneurial companies that it calls “high impact.” 

“High impact firms are defined as firms that have had strong sales and employment growth over the past four years,” says Dean Kress, Associate Director of the Faber Center. “A relatively small number of high-impact firms are clearly a major driver for job creation in South Carolina, just as they are throughout the United States.” 

High-impact firms accounted for only 2.7 percent of the private-sector firms in South Carolina but contributed 66.8 percent of all net employment gains during 2004-2008.

Faber Center director Dirk Brown says that the study concentrated on firms that show aggressive growth, and was not focused on more established companies that are not making the transition to new technologies as quickly. “If our goal is to increase the economy of our state, we must increase the number and impact of home-grown businesses,” he says.

In addition to identifying some of the cultural challenges facing high-impact firms, the Faber Center report makes a number of concrete recommendations:
  • Enacting the South Carolina Angel Investor tax credit
  • Increasing the annual cap on the South Carolina Launch Industry Partnership fund
  • Providing matching funds for selected Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grants.
An Executive Summary as well as the full report are available on the New Carolina website.

Those involved with the study agree that South Carolina needs to take advantage of these small, high impact firms and take serious strides to help them thrive.

“We are taking a proactive approach at New Carolina. I’m aware of very few states that have conducted substantial capacity market studies,” says Garry Powers, a New Carolina task force member. “South Carolina combines the valuable resources of organizations like New Carolina, Faber and the Moore School, which is recognized as one of the top business schools in the country, with a very strong Department of Commerce that is committed to the growth of high impact firms, with the end result being a very supportive environment within which to start or grow a strong business.”

By Clair Boatwright

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