About 80 people gathered at the launch of Grain Ideas last week. The new entrepreneurship meetup and speaker series kicked off at Growler Haus, the craft beer pub that expanded from Anderson to Spartanburg earlier this month. Its goal is to be a regular opportunity for people to gather and see how their ideas might become businesses.
Business owners, representatives from the City of Spartanburg and the Chamber of Commerce, and other interested community members attended.
The event began with former Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet’s discussion of revitalization activities in Spartanburg’s Northside neighborhood and the potential for more. He highlighted assets such as universities and special setups that make the area “high potential despite high poverty,” and said he was hoping for a $30 million federal grant to do more.
Afterward, attendees broke into groups and shared their ideas for Spartanburg on special coasters that they then exchanged for a free beer at the bar. The evening closed with a pitch presentation by Southyeast Labs, a Greenville-based startup that harvests local yeast strains for area beer producers.
Growler Haus owner Craig Kinley had piloted the idea at the pub’s Anderson location. He is working with Jeremy Boeh and others at Wofford College’s entrepreneurship program.
Some attendees did not have entrepreneurial goals, but wanted to support the program. Jillian Kersh and Todd Riddle, who work at Sherman College of Chiropractic, said they attended the event in order to stay abreast of developments in Spartanburg, especially downtown.
“We have 300 students and the more involved that we are, the more they are connected,” Kersh said.