South Carolina's top accelerators and incubators handpicked for you

Learn from South Carolina's foremost start-up experts who know the ins and outs of scaling start-ups.

Want a curated list of free resources shared at the world’s best accelerators?

Choosing The Right Accelerator

Start-ups are hard. Choose an accelerator that guides you in the right direction.

Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe

"I doubt that Stripe would have worked without YC. It's that simple."

Patrick Collison, Founder, Stripe

Chris Lynch, Founder of Atlas Venture

"Accelerators claim they are in it for the long haul — I call bullshit"

Chris Lynch, Founder, Atlas Venture

Raj Aggarwal, Founder of Localytics

"The network we built with Techstars was incredibly valuable during and after the program."

Raj Aggarwal, Founder, Localytics

What truly matters

Figuring what’s in it for you

Accelerator’s connections in the industry

Do they know why they succeeded in the past?

Do the alumni rate them truly well?

Discover your perfect match

No accelerator or incubator is perfect for every start-up. Your business’s context and constraints matter. Identify your perfect match by answering this short questionnaire.

South Carolina's Top Accelerators By Neighborhoods

Comparing Accelerators

NameAerial ScoreStandard DealAddress#Investments#ExitsDetails
South Carolina Research Authority4.8315 Sigma Dr, Summerville, SC 29486, USA475Learn more
Clemson University - Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership4.5Pickens, Sirrine Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, USALearn more
University of South Carolina - FABER Entrepreneurship Center4.5Columbia, SC 29208, USALearn more
The Harbor Accelerator4.52070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd Suite B-272, Charleston, SC 29407, USALearn more
The Harbor Entrepreneur Center4.52070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd Suite B-272, Charleston, SC 29407, USALearn more
USC Technology Incubator4.41225 Laurel St, Columbia, SC 29201, USALearn more
Nextsc4.2101 N Main St, Greenville, SC 29601, USA1Learn more
Techventures2.2South Carolina, USALearn more
Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator2.1$5.6MSouth Carolina, USALearn more

This page covers the top accelerators and incubators in South Carolina.

However if geography isn’t a hard constraint, and you are only looking for the best incubators and accelerators across the US, check here.

Brief Overview Of Different Accelerators

1) South Carolina Research Authority

South Carolina Research Authority - supporting founders in their growth journey

The South Carolina Research Authority accelerator plays a pivotal role in advancing South Carolina's innovation economy by supporting academic startups, fostering industry partnerships, and offering funding and resources. SC Launch Inc., a non-profit linked with SCRA, invests in local companies engaged in the SC Launch program, providing crucial financial support to early-stage ventures for the commercialization of innovations and job creation. Specializing in translational research and academic start-ups across diverse industries such as biotech, general tech, and SaaS, the accelerator offers top-tier laboratory and administrative workspaces, facilitates industry alliances, aids in company relocations to South Carolina, and provides coaching and funding opportunities, potentially including investments through SC Launch Inc. Members of SCRA enjoy exclusive benefits through an alliance partner network. Notable for supporting technology-based start-ups, the organization's impact is felt through the empowerment of emerging companies in the region.

South Carolina Research Authority's Website
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2) Clemson University - Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Clemson University - Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership - supporting South Carolina's best founders

Located at Clemson University in Upstate South Carolina, the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership was established in 1994 through a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Spiro. The institute is dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurial talent to contribute to the economic development of the region, state, and nation. It offers a Venture Accelerator program to assist students and faculty in launching business ideas, along with sessions on 'How to Start a Start-Up.' The focus of the Spiro Institute lies on personal leadership impact and fostering diverse, inclusive teams. The institute's interdisciplinary approach spans across various college domains, with a specialization in Edtech. Led by founder Jason W Osborne, it prioritizes personal development, real-world entrepreneurial experiences, networking, and mentorship to cultivate entrepreneurial thinking and drive personal growth among Clemson's students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Clemson University - Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership's Website
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3) University of South Carolina - FABER Entrepreneurship Center

University of South Carolina - FABER Entrepreneurship Center - supporting founders in their growth journey

Located in Columbia, the University of South Carolina is a globally recognized research university that nurtures entrepreneurial spirit and provides education and research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students. At the Faber Entrepreneurship Center, situated at the Darla Moore School of Business within the university, a hub is created for fostering entrepreneurship through education, experiential learning, and research. The center's mission is to prepare students to succeed in the global economy by offering experiential opportunities and educational resources related to entrepreneurship. Collaborating with various entities such as the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator and the South Carolina Research Authority, innovative technologies and inventions are brought to the market. Experiential learning is promoted through consulting projects integrated into coursework, allowing students to work on real-world entrepreneurship projects. Additionally, the center hosts the Proving Ground competition, accelerating innovative business concepts that can create sustainable ventures in South Carolina. Industries supported include Edtech and General Tech, and students benefit from interacting with successful entrepreneurs and receiving training in small business management.

University of South Carolina - FABER Entrepreneurship Center's Website
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4) The Harbor Accelerator

The Harbor Accelerator - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

The Harbor Accelerator is a program offered by The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by John Osborne and Patrick Bryant. The program aims to create collision within the entrepreneur community. The accelerator runs for 14 weeks from February to June, supporting a cohort of accepted companies by providing mentorship, curriculum, workspace, and fostering hard work. Alumni of the program have collectively received over $7 million in private sector investments. The accelerator focuses on helping start-ups build a strong customer acquisition platform through market validation in sector-agnostic domains. Participants benefit from hands-on mentoring by successful founders, access to subject matter experts, pitch practice sessions, and shared workspaces at two locations in West Ashley @ Citadel Mall and Mt. Pleasant @ 11 eWall St. The accelerator's ultimate goal is to develop scalable businesses for the Charleston region, offering support to entrepreneurs at various stages of their entrepreneurial journey.

The Harbor Accelerator's Website
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5) The Harbor Entrepreneur Center

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center - supporting founders in their growth journey

Established in 2013 by local entrepreneurs John Osborne and Patrick Bryant, The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering collision among the entrepreneur community in Charleston. With a track record of supporting 200+ companies, alumni have collectively secured over $7 million in private sector investments. The organization serves as a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs, offering a coding school, networking forums, events, and shared workspaces. The flagship Harbor Accelerator program, a 24-week residency accepting eight companies annually, provides a curated curriculum, hands-on mentoring from successful founders, and a focus on Market Validation to strengthen customer acquisition. Participants also hone essential leadership skills such as 'The Pitch'. Entrepreneurs benefit from a collaborative atmosphere, splashdown desks, or private office options to thrive and engage with like-minded peers. The Harbor EC is a key resource for entrepreneurs in Charleston's personal finance industry seeking support, growth, and success.

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center's Website
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6) USC Technology Incubator

USC Technology Incubator - supporting founders in their growth journey

Sponsored by the University of South Carolina and the City of Columbia, the USC Technology Incubator focuses on accelerating student and alumni entrepreneurs through experiential education, mentorship, and community support. Open to individuals with ties to USC, including students, alumni, and faculty/staff, the program guides founders from concept validation to securing investment, offering access to legal and financial resources. With a portfolio of over 100 supported companies, participants benefit from alumni connections, domain-specific expertise, and workspaces. Start-ups associated with the Incubator have successfully raised funds and received NSF grants, along with examples of crowdfunding successes and product shipments. The Incubator operates continuously, hosting private and group sessions monthly, and welcomes teams with diverse skill sets in tech, design, business, and marketing across various industries such as Edtech and Fintech.

USC Technology Incubator's Website
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7) Nextsc

Nextsc - building South Carolina's entrepreneurial future

NEXT, also known as NextGen Accelerator, is an entrepreneurial support organization based in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. Founded in 2006, it focuses on attracting and aiding in the growth of high-impact, knowledge-based companies in the region. The accelerator program typically lasts for 8 weeks and is tailored to support early-stage startups in South Carolina across various industries. NEXT collaborates with investors actively seeking new investment opportunities, providing startups with the necessary resources to thrive. Notable founder Scott Millwood has been instrumental in the organization's success. The accelerator also offers a Value Accelerator Library for SAP Signavio solutions, designed to expedite and de-risk transformation projects for implementation teams. Additionally, the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Manager, included in the suite, facilitates collaborative management of transformation insights and improvement initiatives. With a vision for Greenville to be a top choice for entrepreneurs and investors, NEXT plays a pivotal role in shaping the startup landscape of the region.

Nextsc's Website
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8) Techventures

Techventures - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Techventures is a Romanian Tech Startup Incubator that operates an impactful ecosystem of complementary, independent technology-driven ventures with shared visions and values. One of the notable initiatives by the company is the PandemicTech Accelerator, a pro-bono program aimed at supporting ventures combating pandemic diseases through collaboration with mentors and experts. The focus of the accelerator program lies on addressing critical health challenges related to pandemics through technology and innovation. It caters to ventures in the Healthcare Tech and General Tech industries, providing a collaborative environment for startups to accelerate their impact by connecting with industry experts. Participating startups can expect guidance, resources, and networking opportunities to enhance their success. The program's emphasis on health-related challenges, specifically pandemic-related issues, is evident.

Techventures's Website
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9) Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator

Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator - supporting founders in their growth journey

The Biomedical Engineering Technology Accelerator is focused on catalyzing the advancement of biomedical technologies from the lab to the market. It provides funding, education, resources, and mentorship to interdisciplinary teams working on promising biomedical projects with the goal of moving innovative technologies to clinical application and commercialization, ultimately benefiting society. With 11 cohort cycles, 222 applications received, 157 teams admitted, and 72 awards granted, the accelerator has awarded over $5.6 million to teams, who have also secured $86 million in follow-on funding from external sources. Specializing in biomedical technologies like medical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, and digital health, it offers mentorship, encourages publishing research outcomes, and serves as a bridge to commercial investment. Industries served include Biotech and Healthcare Tech. Key people involved in the program include the founders and notable start-ups that have benefited from the accelerator.

Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator's Website
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Top Reasons Start-ups Participate In Accelerators

Learning about market forces

The market seems fair from a distance. But there are certain patterns to how it operates.

Holistic growth

Marketing, Sales, Tech, Ops, HR, Finance, Admin...... you can’t go wrong in any one field.

Peer learning

There’s not enough time in the world to learn from one’s own mistakes. Peer learning helps.

Developing business sense

Which metrics will make or break your start-up?- You can have 100k users and still fail.

Why an accelerator might not be right for you

It's usually helpful to consider potential pitfalls. Some common misconceptions

Only you feel the punch

Everybody has a plan till they get punched in the face. Strategy & accelerators can only guide you to a point. No one else will feel the struggle as you would.

Figuring out the failure rates

Everyone can point to a few success stories. Though in general 95% of all start-ups fail. An important question is- what %ge of an accelerator's start-up survive after 3 years.

What's the real value of your equity

There's a math behind how accelerators decide whether your start-up is worth investing. Did you run the calculation for diluting your equity?

FAQs About Start-up Accelerators

Author Bio

Michael Li

Michael Li

For the last 10+ years Michael has helped start-ups of all scales and sizes succeed. A 2X entrepreneur, he is now working on Aerial to help founders avoid costly mistakes. He regularly writes for publications like the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Harvard Business Review and others.

Last updated date 4/5/2024

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Accelerators and Incubators in south-carolina

Looking for the best accelerators in South Carolina? Accelerators play a crucial role in nurturing and growing start-ups by providing mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. By choosing an accelerator, you can benefit from personalized guidance, access to investors, and a supportive community dedicated to your success. Consider factors like the program duration, industry focus, and success stories of previous participants when selecting the right accelerator for your start-up. South Carolina's start-up culture is vibrant and diverse, with a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. The state offers a supportive environment for start-ups to thrive, with access to top universities, research facilities, and a growing network of angel investors and venture capitalists. If you're looking to take your start-up to the next level, South Carolina accelerators can provide the resources and support needed to propel your business forward. Some notable start-ups from South Carolina that have succeeded well include Blackbaud, a leading provider of software and services for non-profit organizations; PhishLabs, a cybersecurity company specializing in anti-phishing services; and PeopleMatter, a human resources software company. These success stories highlight the potential for growth and innovation within the state, making South Carolina accelerators an attractive option for start-ups looking to achieve their goals.

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