First Anderson incubator boot camp graduates as founder departs


E-Merge was ‘a great opportunity,’ says Craig Kinley


Anderson incubator E-Merge @ the Garage graduated its first business boot camp cohort, which include startups aimed at challenges in healthcare, fitness, dining and energy.

The program – called e-Spark – specifically targets local and regional entrepreneurs with ideas or fledgling startups that could benefit from mentor and industry connections, business space and 12 weeks of in-depth business development analysis.

The five companies included LightFood, an application for a one-person restaurant that keeps costs down; I-SMS, a senior health monitoring system; EVI, a patent-pending technology company that optimizes in-home lighting for health and energy efficiency; Core Kids, a childhood health and fitness company targeting childhood obesity; and Run This Town, a community engagement, fitness camp and race series company.

“Some were further along, some were further behind, so just bringing them up to speed was a process,” said E-Merge @ the Garage Founder Craig Kinley. “All of them came from different backgrounds and had different conceptual ideas of what they wanted to do.”


The e-Spark program is one of several offered through the incubator space, founded a year ago by well-known Anderson entrepreneur Craig Kinley, who also owns The Growler Haus beer stores in Anderson and Spartanburg, with plans to open one in Fountain Inn. Other programs include Cyber Summer Camp to teach electronics and robotics to fourth- and ninth-grade students, as well as LemonADE Stand, which helps Upstate students build entrepreneurial skills.

eMerge9415article1Kinley also announced he would not be leading the program next year, but that he hopes it will continue to energize Anderson with entrepreneurial activity.

“We’re very humbled to be able to provide this type of value to the City of Anderson and we want to see this thing flourish 10 years from now,” said Kinley. “This was a great opportunity for us and now that we’re transitioning off this product, we hope that this will be successful for years and years to come.”

Moving forward, Kinley says he is working with other state municipalities that could benefit from similar entrepreneurial programming. Kinley also serves as an active founding member of Electric City Angels, Anderson’s angel investment group.

“He’s given us a way, a path forward for other things,” said City of Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts, who attended part of the e-Spark Demo Day event in downtown Anderson. “I’m sure that he will stay attached to our program.”


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