Furman Fueling Startup Dreams in Greenville

Furman University is creating entrepreneurs in Greenville, thanks to collaboration and partnership.

Representatives from the private liberal arts institution told members of the Greenville City Council this week that collaborative efforts are paying off, as Greenville builds its reputation as an entrepreneurial hub.

“People are feeling the momentum,” said Brian Davis, executive director of The Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the organization behind Furman’s entrepreneurial work. “They want to share and talk about the things that we’re doing.”

Beyond serving Furman students, The Hill Institute has community programs designed to create a startup and talent pipeline:

These programs align with four of the City of Greenville’s Economic Strategic goals: creating a best-in-class entrepreneurial ecosystem, attracting new investment, building and supporting a talent base of entrepreneurs, and ensuring a diversity of communities thrive across the City.

Since being established in 2018, the Hill Institute has seen quantifiable success, including:

  • $2.3 million in new investments generated from Hill startups
  • 119 new founders “discovered” by the program
  • 84 startups launched
  • 38 founders commuting to Greenville specifically for GVLStarts
  • 11 Hill Hustle Award winners achieving milestones like hiring their first employees, closing a funding round or opening a physical location

GVL Starts is directly impacting other entrepreneur service organizations. According to Davis, 40% of applications submitted to the NEXTGen Business Accelerator were graduates of GVLStarts.

“We think about being a pipeline feeder,” Davis said. “This is working. We are populating each other’s programs to move things down the line and create a holistic success.”

Davis was joined at the council presentation by Greenville County Council Vice Chair Liz Seman, who also serves as Furman’s Chief of Staff and Liaison to Furman’s Board of Trustees, and the university’s provost, Beth Pontari.

Share this Post:

Related Posts