That was my reaction some two years ago, when my business partner called me up — practically shouting into my ear — that I “had to come see this place!” after spending a weekend exploring downtown.
“How great could it be?” I thought.
We had operated our mobile app development agency, Designli, for just about two years at that point and were going to be free agents after graduating from Ohio State University. With no corporate jobs telling us where to live, we were looking for somewhere to set up shop.
That was just about two years ago. In the brief period since then, we have discovered that Greenville is a small town with a booming tech hub and a perfect place to plant roots as the software ecosystem begins to thrive.
Although arriving here was a happy accident for our business, we now spread the word to anybody who will listen.
Why, you ask? Here are four of the biggest reasons why you should start your business in Greenville, S.C.
1: Greenville is a high-growth tech hub.
Although Greenville hasn’t been known as a tech hub in the past when compared to its larger nearby cities, it’s certainly becoming that way. Organizations like NEXT focus on helping high-impact technology companies grow and thrive here without having to go find resources elsewhere. There are more than 100 companies in the NEXT program, networking and sharing resources and knowledge to lower the barrier of starting game-changing companies.
Pair this with angel investing groups such as UCAN, and you have a recipe for a startup ecosystem that is truly exciting to be a part of.
2: Greenville is startup-friendly.
How many places do you know of that are growing this fast, and that have shared working spaces right in the heart of downtown — like Openworks — that charge startups and small businesses only $180 per month to rent a desk? Talk about a great place to entertain clients — having them “step into your office” and an all-glass conference room with a view out of the city’s main drag.
Pair that with networking events like Tech After 5 and the new 1 Million Cups, and you’re off to the races, not only working in the heart of downtown but also getting to know the readily approachable members of the technology and business community.
On that same note, you’d be surprised how accessible the area’s local business leaders are — and how asking them to a quick coffee at Methodical or Coffee Underground is pretty much all it’ll take to add them to your Rolodex.
3: Greenville is a great place to recruit talent.
Greenville has one of the world’s best downtowns. Recently mentioned as one of The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2017,” this is an area that will lend itself very nicely to your company’s recruitment efforts as you expand.
Group this with graduates from Clemson and Furman universities, and you have a pool of hard-working talent that — you guessed it — is all eager to get jobs and stay here in the city of Greenville.
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget that Greenville is the home of coding school The Iron Yard, which churns out new programmers on a regular basis, ready to join your software enterprise.
4: Greenville is a stone’s throw from other great cities.
If all the above isn’t quite enough to sell you on why Greenville is a great place to start a business, let’s not fail to mention that you can always drive elsewhere if needed. You’re an hour and a half from Charlotte and Columbia, two and a half hours from Atlanta, and three hours from Charleston.
Are we missing anything? We’d love to chat. Come find us at NEXT on Main, NEXT’s office ecosystem for young and growing high-tech companies. We’d love to chat about Greenville, apps, startups, or all three.
We’ll see you around town.