In 1998 the Dean of the USC College of Engineering decided that the College needed a business Incubator to stimulate technology transfer and recruit world-class research faculty. A local entrepreneur, Don Tomlin, agreed, and invested $200,000 to bring the Incubator to life. The first Technology Incubator in South Carolina started growing companies and jobs.
In 2001 the Incubator outgrew the available space in the College of Engineering and moved to a nearby facility located in the heart of downtown Columbia. By 2004 the Incubator had grown to 23 companies and graduated 12. These companies created 300 new jobs. The portfolio of company specialties expanded, ranging from computer science, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering, biotechnologies, life sciences and web development.
In 2006, the Incubator once again needed more space. The City of Columbia’s Office of Economic Development and the Columbia City Council approved a plan to make available part of a soon to be vacated city building instead f tearing it down. Then, in November 2007 the Incubator took over the entire building. Today, the 40,000 square foot, Laurel Street office building is the home of The USC / Columbia Technology Incubator and its 30+ companies.
Our companies make use of affordable office space, conference rooms and collaboration areas, broadband wireless internet, copy/fax/scan services, telephones, a mail and shipping center, and convenient parking. The Incubator is more just office space. The USC / Columbia Technology Incubator offers a wide range of business developmental services. Companies learn business development, business formation, marketing, legal, human resources, strategic planning, accounting, public relations, financial practices, web design and fundraising at Incubator sponsored workshops and seminars. The Incubator also provides customized coaching, mentoring and referrals to business experts and business plan development.
The Incubator is a diverse, innovative environment. Our start-ups draw on the incubator community comprised of medical doctors, engineers, PhDs, inventors, strategists, researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, web Designers, social media experts, digital video producers, musicians, and renewable energy advocates who share their knowledge and expertise to the benefits of all Incubator companies.